The mavros ROS package enables MAVLink extendable communication between computers running ROS, MAVLink enabled autopilots, and MAVLink enabled GCS.

MAVROS is the "official" supported bridge between ROS and the MAVLink protocol. It is currently being extended to enable fast-RTPS messaging, including a layer to translate PX4 uORB messages to common ROS idioms.

While MAVROS can be used to communicate with any MAVLink enabled autopilot this documentation will be in the context of enabling communication between the PX4 flight stack and a ROS enabled companion computer.


MAVROS can be installed either from source or binary. Developers working with ROS are advised to use the source installation.

These instructions are a simplified version of the official installation guide. They cover the ROS Kinetic release.

Binary Installation (Debian / Ubuntu)

The ROS repository has binary packages for Ubuntu x86, amd64 (x86_64) and armhf (ARMv7). Kinetic also supports Debian Jessie amd64 and arm64 (ARMv8).

Use apt-get for installation:

sudo apt-get install ros-kinetic-mavros ros-kinetic-mavros-extras

Then install GeographicLib datasets by running the script:


Source Installation

This installation assumes you have a catkin workspace located at ~/catkin_ws If you don't create one with:

mkdir -p ~/catkin_ws/src
cd ~/catkin_ws
catkin init
wstool init src

You will be using the ROS Python tools: wstool (for retrieving sources), rosinstall, and catkin_tools (building) for this installation. While they may have been installed during your installation of ROS you can also install them with:

sudo apt-get install python-catkin-tools python-rosinstall-generator -y

While the package can be built using catkin_make the preferred method is using catkin_tools as it is a more versatile and "friendly" build tool.

If this is your first time using wstool you will need to initialize your source space with:

$ wstool init ~/catkin_ws/src

Now you are ready to do the build

  1. Install MAVLink:
    # We use the Kinetic reference for all ROS distros as it's not distro-specific and up to date
    rosinstall_generator --rosdistro kinetic mavlink | tee /tmp/mavros.rosinstall
  2. Install MAVROS from source using either released or latest version:

    • Released/stable
      rosinstall_generator --upstream mavros | tee -a /tmp/mavros.rosinstall
    • Latest source
      rosinstall_generator --upstream-development mavros | tee -a /tmp/mavros.rosinstall
      # For fetching all the dependencies into your catkin_ws, 
      # just add '--deps' to the above scripts, E.g.:
      #   rosinstall_generator --upstream mavros --deps | tee -a /tmp/mavros.rosinstall
  3. Create workspace & deps

    wstool merge -t src /tmp/mavros.rosinstall
    wstool update -t src -j4
    rosdep install --from-paths src --ignore-src -y
  4. Install GeographicLib datasets:

  5. Build source

    catkin build
  6. Make sure that you use setup.bash or setup.zsh from workspace.

    #Needed or rosrun can't find nodes from this workspace.
    source devel/setup.bash

In the case of error, there are addition installation and troubleshooting notes in the mavros repo.

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