# ROS with MAVROS Installation Guide

MAVROS (opens new window) is a ROS 1 package that enables MAVLink extendable communication between computers running ROS 1 for any MAVLink enabled autopilot, ground station, or peripheral. MAVROS is the "official" supported bridge between ROS 1 and the MAVLink protocol.

While MAVROS can be used to communicate with any MAVLink-enabled autopilot, this documentation explains how to set up communication between the PX4 Autopilot and a ROS 1 enabled companion computer.


The PX4 development team recommend that all users upgrade to ROS 2. This documentation reflects the "old approach".

# Installation


First install ROS and PX4 following the instructions in Development Environment on Linux > ROS/Gazebo Classic.


These instructions are a simplified version of the official installation guide (opens new window). They cover the ROS Melodic and Noetic releases.

MAVROS can be installed either from source or binary. We recommend that developers use the source installation.

# 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, where ${ROS_DISTRO} below should resolve to kinetic or noetic, depending on your version of ROS:

sudo apt-get install ros-${ROS_DISTRO}-mavros ros-${ROS_DISTRO}-mavros-extras ros-${ROS_DISTRO}-mavros-msgs

Then install GeographicLib (opens new window) datasets by running the install_geographiclib_datasets.sh script:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mavlink/mavros/master/mavros/scripts/install_geographiclib_datasets.sh
sudo bash ./install_geographiclib_datasets.sh   

# 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 (opens new window) 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 (opens new window).

# MAVROS Examples

The MAVROS Offboard Example (C++), will show you the basics of MAVROS, from reading telemetry, checking the drone state, changing flight modes and controlling the drone.


If you have an example app using the PX4 Autopilot and MAVROS, we can help you get it on our docs.

# See Also