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ArduPilot Mission Planner is a powerful tool designed for managing and executing missions with ArduPilot vehicles. Developed by Michael Oborne, this software offers extensive features for hobbyists and professionals alike. It supports various tasks such as entering waypoints, configuring autopilot settings, downloading log files, and running simulations. Mission Planner provides a comprehensive solution for those looking to maximize the capabilities of their ArduPilot drones, planes, or rovers.

Getting started with Mission Planner is straightforward. The installation process caters to Windows, Linux, and Android users, delivering flexibility and ease of use. Users can quickly connect their vehicles, load firmware, and perform configurations. The tool’s user-friendly interface ensures that even beginners find it intuitive to navigate and set up.

Mission planning with waypoints and events is a breeze with Mission Planner. The software allows users to create detailed missions involving various commands and options. Whether it’s for a copter, plane, or rover, Mission Planner makes it easy to design, execute, and review complex missions. The ability to run SITL simulations further enhances the planning process, allowing for thorough testing before field deployment.

Mission Planning Made Easy: A Comprehensive Tool for ArduPilot


Mission Planner is the go-to ground control station for ArduPilot, a versatile open-source autopilot system. It’s a free, user-friendly application that lets you plan, monitor, and control your autonomous vehicles, be it drones, rovers, or boats.

Key Features

  • Mission Planning: Easily create flight paths with waypoints, actions, and events. Visualize your mission on maps and adjust parameters for optimal performance.
  • Telemetry Monitoring: Get real-time data on your vehicle’s position, altitude, speed, battery status, and more. Analyze flight logs for post-mission review and optimization.
  • Parameter Tuning: Fine-tune your vehicle’s settings to match your specific needs. Adjust PID gains, flight modes, and other parameters for precise control and stability.
  • Simulation: Test your missions and parameters in a virtual environment before taking to the skies. This minimizes risks and helps you refine your setup for real-world scenarios.

Additional Features

  • Firmware flashing and configuration
  • Geofencing for safe operation
  • Camera control and gimbal stabilization
  • Support for various autopilots and peripherals


Mission Planner is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. It supports a wide range of ArduPilot boards and can be used with various radio telemetry systems.

Support and Resources

The ArduPilot community offers extensive support and documentation for Mission Planner. You can find tutorials, forums, and user guides on the official ArduPilot website and forums.

Table: Mission Planner Features at a Glance

Mission PlanningCreate and visualize flight paths with waypoints, actions, and events.
TelemetryMonitor real-time data and analyze flight logs for post-mission review.
Parameter TuningFine-tune your vehicle’s settings for optimal performance and stability.
SimulationTest your missions and parameters in a virtual environment before flying.
FirmwareFlash and configure your autopilot board with the latest software updates.
GeofencingSet virtual boundaries to prevent your vehicle from straying into restricted areas.
Camera ControlControl your camera’s settings and gimbal movements during flight.

Key Takeaways

  • Mission Planner is a tool for managing ArduPilot vehicles.
  • Installing and configuring Mission Planner is straightforward.
  • The software simplifies planning and executing detailed missions.

Getting Started with Mission Planner

Mission Planner assists in configuring, controlling, and monitoring autonomous vehicles. This section covers installation, vehicle connection, and initial parameter configuration to get started smoothly.

Installation and Setup

To begin, download Mission Planner from Firmware.Ardupilot.Org. Ensure compatibility with your operating system Windows being common. Execute the installer, following prompts to complete installation.

After installation, launch Mission Planner. Navigate to the initial setup area. Connect a telemetry radio or USB cable to your computer for vehicle communication. The device drivers should install automatically. If not, download drivers from the device manufacturer’s website.

Connecting to a Vehicle

Once installed, connect to your vehicle such as Pixhawk series via a MAVLink connection. Click the Connect button in Mission Planner. Select the appropriate COM port and baud rate (typically 57600 or 115200).

Mission Planner will read data from the vehicle. Verify that the firmware is up-to-date. Use the Install Firmware option to load the latest firmware if necessary. Check the connection indicators on the interface to ensure communication is established.

Configuring Initial Parameters

After connection, configure the vehicle’s initial parameters. Start with radio calibration. Access the Radio Calibration screen, follow instructions to move all sticks and switches on the transmitter to their limits.

Next, set up the compass. Use the Compass calibration tool, ensuring the vehicle is in open space away from metallic objects. Follow on-screen prompts for accurate calibration.

Adjust key parameters like failsafes and altitude limits. Navigate to the Config/Tuning tab, set appropriate values for your mission needs. Configure DroneCAN or other peripherals as needed.

Planning and Executing Missions

Using Mission Planner, users can create detailed mission plans, utilize advanced features, and execute and monitor these missions efficiently. These functionalities are critical for achieving complex flight objectives, whether for a Copter, Plane, Rover, or Blimp.

Creating a Mission Plan

To create a mission plan, users begin by configuring waypoints. These include the start point, various navigation points, and the final destination. The waypoints can be set easily with a point-and-click interface on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, or other supported maps.

Users can draw polygons around areas of interest and generate grid patterns for surveys. To optimize the mission, settings such as altitude, spacing, and overlap must be configured. The Flight Plan screen displays vital data, including distance from the home position, total trip distance, and heading.

Advanced Mission Features

Mission Planner offers advanced features to enhance mission precision. Rally Points can be defined as emergency landing spots. Geofences safeguard the area by preventing the drone from exiting predefined boundaries.

Camera control in auto missions allows for automated photography based on specified commands. Users can also configure various mission commands such as Do Set Servo, Do Gimbal Manager Pitchyaw, and Do Aux Function. These commands fine-tune the operation of the gimbal, servo, and other components.

Executing and Monitoring Missions

Executing a mission involves uploading the plan to the autopilot via MAVLink. The Mission Planner then transitions the drone into Auto Mode to start the mission. During the mission, real-time monitoring is facilitated by the HUD and OSD displays. Users can observe telemetry data, including altitude, speed, and battery status.

In-flight, adjustments can be made using features like Joystick Control or the MAVLink Inspector for inspecting and modifying MAVLink messages on-the-go. Also, mission logs downloaded post-flight enable detailed analysis. Proper monitoring and execution ensure all waypoints are correctly navigated, and the mission is successfully completed.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section answers common questions about the ArduPilot Mission Planner, including installation, documentation, compatibility, and features.

How can I download Mission Planner for my operating system?

You can download Mission Planner from the official ArduPilot website. It supports Windows, and the site provides detailed installation instructions.

Where can I find the official Mission Planer manual in PDF format?

The official Mission Planner manual is available online on the ArduPilot documentation site. Currently, there is no official PDF version available, but the online documentation is comprehensive and regularly updated.

Are there compatibility options for running Mission Planner on a Mac?

Mission Planner is primarily built for Windows. Mac users often run Mission Planner through virtualization software like Parallels or using Boot Camp to install Windows on their Mac hardware.

What are the differences between various ArduPilot flight controllers?

ArduPilot supports multiple flight controllers, including Pixhawk, APM, and others. Each controller has different capabilities, processing power, and features. Detailed comparisons and specifications can be found on the ArduPilot documentation site.

Where is the Mission Planner source code hosted?

The source code for Mission Planner is hosted on GitHub. This repository is maintained by the community and developers, and it provides access to the latest updates

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