[ros-users] Announcement of hector_quadrotor stack

Johannes Meyer meyer at fsr.tu-darmstadt.de
Thu Mar 15 12:28:18 UTC 2012

Dear ROS community,

we are happy to announce the hector_quadrotor stack 
(http://www.ros.org/wiki/hector_quadrotor). While impressive results 
have been demonstrated by different groups using real quadrotor UAVs and 
ROS in the past, to our knowledge so far there is no solution available 
for comprehensive simulation of quadrotor UAVs using ROS tools.

We hope to fill this gap with the hector_quadrotor stack. Using the 
packages provided, a quadrotor UAV can be simulated in gazebo, similar 
to other mobile robots. This makes it possible to record sensor data 
(LIDAR, RGB-D, Stereo..) and test planning and control approaches in 

The stack currently contains the following packages:
* hector_quadrotor_urdf provides an URDF model of our quadrotor UAV. You 
can also define your own model and attach our sensors and controllers to 
* hector_quadrotor_gazebo contains launch files for running gazebo and 
spawning quadrotors.
* hector_quadrotor_gazebo_plugins contains two UAV specific plugins: a 
simple controller that subscribes to a geometry_msgs/Twist topic and 
calculates the required forces and torques and a sensor plugin that 
simulates a barometric altimeter. Some more generic sensor plugins not 
specific to UAVs (IMU, Magnetic, GPS, Sonar) are provided by package 
hector_gazebo_plugins in the hector_gazebo stack.
* hector_quadrotor_teleop contains a node and launch files for 
controlling the quadrotor using a joystick or gamepad.
* hector_quadrotor_demo provides sample launch files that run the 
quadrotor simulation and hector_slam for indoor and outdoor scenarios.

As many users of real quadrotors can probably confirm, testing with the 
real thing can lead to broken hardware quickly in case something goes 
wrong. We hope our stack contributes to a reduction of the number of 
broken quadrotor UAVs in research labs around the world

We plan to convert the plugins for Gazebo 1.0.0 as soon as ROS fuerte is 

Two demo videos (one showing a indoor scenario, the other showing a 
outdoor scenario) are available here:

Johannes Meyer & Stefan Kohlbrecher

More information about the ros-users mailing list