Drake (“dragon” in Middle English) is a C++ toolbox started by the Robot Locomotion Group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). The development team has now grown significantly, with core development led by the Toyota Research Institute. It is a collection of tools for analyzing the dynamics of our robots and building control systems for them, with a heavy emphasis on optimization-based design/analysis.

While there are an increasing number of simulation tools available for robotics, most of them function like a black box: commands go in, sensors come out. Drake aims to simulate even very complex dynamics of robots (e.g. including friction, contact, aerodynamics, …), but always with an emphasis on exposing the structure in the governing equations (sparsity, analytical gradients, polynomial structure, uncertainty quantification, …) and making this information available for advanced planning, control, and analysis algorithms. Drake provides interfaces to high-level languages (MATLAB, Python, …) to enable rapid-prototyping of new algorithms, and also aims to provide solid open-source implementations for many state-of-the-art algorithms. Finally, we hope Drake provides many compelling examples that can help people get started and provide much needed benchmarks. We are excited to accept user contributions to improve the coverage.

Here is a quick summary of capabilities:

Most of these models/tools are described in the companion textbook from an MIT course/MOOC. We’ve also recently started populating the Drake Gallery (contributions welcome!).

We hope you find this tool useful. Please see Getting Help if you wish to share your comments, questions, success stories, or frustrations. And please contribute your best bug fixes, features, and examples!

Citing Drake

If you would like to cite Drake in your academic publications, we suggest the following BibTeX citation:

 author = "Russ Tedrake and the Drake Development Team",
 title = "Drake: A planning, control, and analysis toolbox for nonlinear dynamical systems",
 year = 2016,
 url = "https://drake.mit.edu"


The Drake developers would like to acknowledge significant support from the Toyota Research Institute, DARPA, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, Amazon.com, and The MathWorks.

Using Drake from other Programming Languages

Documentation that may be useful but needs updating