RangeFinders Setup Overview

There are many different kinds of rangefinders: Lidar (using laser or infra-red light to measure distance), Sonar (using ultrasonic sound), and Radar (using microwave RF). Some are analog, producing pulses whose timing represent the distance to an object, others are digital sending data streams over serial to UARTs, or I2C, or even via UAVCAN.

RangeFinders (Sonar or Lidar) can be used for Object Avoidance in Copter-3.5 (and higher) in Loiter and AltHold modes and in Rover-3.5 (and higher). As well as altitude sensors for precision landing in Plane and Copter


Object Avoidance features are new and should be used with caution.

Up to 10 Rangefinders can be used in the system (1 thru A). Object Avoidance can use a single 360 degree Lidar, or up to 9 unidirectional rangefinders: 8 arranged in a circle covering 45 degree wide segments, plus an upward facing rangefinder. And a downward facing rangefinder used for low altitude height above ground measurements.

Connecting and Configuring the Rangefinder

  • Follow the instructions for each type of rangefinder described in its linked page on Rangefinders (landing page).
  • Set the RNGFNDx_ORIENT parameters (i.e. RNGFND1_ORIENT, RNGFND2_ORIENT, etc.) to specify the direction each range finder is pointing in.
    • If a rangefinder is oriented facing down, it will automatically be used to for height above ground measurements when within its range for increased landing precision in Copter and Plane autolandings. In Copter, when landing and within 10m of the ground according to the range finder, the vehicle will slow it’s descent to the LAND_SPEED (which defaults to 50cm/s). In Plane, see the “using a rangefinder” section of Automatic Landing


Only downward facing rangefinders are supported in Plane currently.


  • Object Avoidance wiki page is here