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Gazebo SITL plugins for PhoenixDrone

This repository is built upon RotorS from ETHZ-ASL:

Our main contribution is a custom model of the Phoenix Drone under models/phoenixdrone/phoenixdrone.sdf and its aerodynamic plugin with calibrated aerodyanmic coefficients under src/gazebo_ts_aerodynamic_plugin.cpp.

You do not need to explicitly build this library, this repo is referenced as a submodule under the main PX4 repository and will be compiled automatically when running SITL.

If you use this simulator in academic work, please cite RotorS and our paper as per the README in the top level repository.

Install Gazebo Simulator

Follow instructions on the official site to install Gazebo. Mac OS and Linux users should install Gazebo 7.


Install the protobuf library, which is used as an interface to Gazebo.

Ubuntu Linux

sudo apt-get install libprotobuf-dev libprotoc-dev protobuf-compiler libeigen3-dev gazebo7 libgazebo7-dev

Mac OS

brew install graphviz sdformat3 eigen opencv
brew install gazebo7

An older version of protobuf (< 3.0.0) is required on Mac OS:

brew tap homebrew/versions
brew install homebrew/versions/protobuf260

Build Gazebo Plugins (all operating systems)

Clone the gazebo plugins repository to your computer. IMPORTANT: If you do not clone to ~/src/sitl_gazebo, all remaining paths in these instructions will need to be adjusted.

mkdir -p ~/src
cd src
git clone

Create a build folder in the top level of your repository:

mkdir Build

Next add the location of this build directory to your gazebo plugin path, e.g. add the following line to your .bashrc (Linux) or .bash_profile (Mac) file:

# Set the plugin path so Gazebo finds our model and sim
export GAZEBO_PLUGIN_PATH=${GAZEBO_PLUGIN_PATH}:$HOME/src/sitl_gazebo/Build
# Set the model path so Gazebo finds the airframes
export GAZEBO_MODEL_PATH=${GAZEBO_MODEL_PATH}:$HOME/src/sitl_gazebo/models
# Disable online model lookup since this is quite experimental and unstable

You also need to add the the root location of this repository, e.g. add the following line to your .bashrc (Linux) or .bash_profile (Mac) file:

# Set path to sitl_gazebo repository
export SITL_GAZEBO_PATH=$HOME/src/sitl_gazebo

Navigate into the build directory and invoke CMake:

cd ~/src/sitl_gazebo
cd Build
cmake ..

Now build the gazebo plugins by typing:


GStreamer Support

If you want support for the GStreamer camera plugin, make sure to install GStreamer before running cmake: e.g. on Ubuntu with:

sudo apt-get install gstreamer1.0-* libgstreamer1.0-*

Geotagging Plugin

If you want to use the geotagging plugin, make sure you have exiftool installed on your system. On Ubuntu it can be installed with:

sudo apt-get install libimage-exiftool-perl


If you want the libraries and models to be usable anywhere on your system without specifying their paths, install as shown below.

Note: If you are using ubuntu, it is best to see the packaging section.

sudo make install


Gazebo will now launch when you type 'gazebo' in the shell:

. /usr/share/gazebo/
. /usr/share/mavlink_sitl_gazebo/
gazebo worlds/

Please refer to the documentation of the particular flight stack to learn how to run it against this framework, e.g. PX4



To create a debian package for Ubuntu and install it to your system:

cd Build
cmake ..
rm *.deb
cpack -G DEB
sudo dpkg -i *.deb


Gazebo Plugins for SITL Simulation with Phoenix Drone