This section contains topics about ArduPilot code-testing using simulation. Simulation allows for safe testing of experimental code and settings. Crashing software planes is a lot cheaper than crashing real ones!

Two “classes” of simulation are provided (not all solutions are available for all vehicles)

  • Hardware In the Loop (HITL) simulation replaces the plane and the environment with a simulator. The simulator has a high-fidelity aircraft dynamics model and environment model (wind, turbulence, etc.). The physical APM hardware is configured exactly as for flight, and connects to your computer running the simulator, rather than the aircraft.

  • Software In The Loop (SITL) simulation (additionally) virtualizes the autopilot hardware as well as the aircraft and the environment as in HITL. SITL is useful for rapid development and when physical hardware (autopilots and ground stations) are not available or not required.


    We recommend Software In The Loop (SITL) as the setup is generally easier, it doesn’t require vehicle hardware, and it supports all our main vehicle types.

In addition, you can also use: