Development of Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation Based on Gazebo and Pixhawk for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

  • Khoa Dang Nguyen
  • Cheolkeun Ha
Original Paper


Hardware-in-the-loop simulation (HILS) is well known as an effective approach in the design of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) systems, enabling engineers to test the control algorithm on a hardware board with a UAV model on the software. Performance of HILS is determined by performances of the control algorithm, the developed model, and the signal transfer between the hardware and software. The result of HILS is degraded if any signal could not be transferred to the correct destination. Therefore, this paper aims to develop a middleware software to secure communications in HILS system for testing the operation of a quad-rotor UAV. In our HILS, the Gazebo software is used to generate a nonlinear six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) model, sensor model, and 3D visualization for the quad-rotor UAV. Meanwhile, the flight control algorithm is designed and implemented on the Pixhawk hardware. New middleware software, referred to as the control application software (CAS), is proposed to ensure the connection and data transfer between Gazebo and Pixhawk using the multithread structure in Qt Creator. The CAS provides a graphical user interface (GUI), allowing the user to monitor the status of packet transfer, and perform the flight control commands and the real-time tuning parameters for the quad-rotor UAV. Numerical implementations have been performed to prove the effectiveness of the middleware software CAS suggested in this paper.


HILS Quad-rotor Pixhawk Gazebo 



This work was supported by the 2015 Research Fund of University of Ulsan.


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Copyright information

© The Korean Society for Aeronautical & Space Sciences and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Automotive EngineeringUniversity of UlsanUlsanRepublic of Korea

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