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ROS (1) with MAVROS Installation Guide


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

This documentation explains how to set up communication between the PX4 Autopilot and a ROS 1 enabled companion computer using MAVROS.

MAVROS 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.

First we install PX4 and ROS, and then MAVROS.

Install ROS and PX4

This section explains how to install ROS 1 with PX4. ROS 1 full desktop builds come with Gazebo Classic, so normally you will not install the simulator dependencies yourself!


These instructions are a simplified version of the official installation guide. They cover the ROS Melodic and Noetic releases.

Install MAVROS

Then 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 datasets by running the script:

sudo bash ./

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.

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