Simple Object Avoidance

Copter supports simple object avoidance horizontally and upward, while Rover avoids simple objects by only stopping. Both use rangefinders such as:

In addition, Simple Object Avoidance can use Geo-Fences and Fence Beacons as proximity sensors as detemined by the setting of the AVOID_ENABLE parameter.

See RangeFinders Setup Overview for general rangefinder setup information.

Simple Object Avoidance Algorithms

Horizontal object avoidance works in AltHold and Loiter modes. Upward object avoidance works in LOITER, ALTHOLD, and POSHOLD modes only.


Only one proximity sensor source can be enabled, using either a 360 degree lidar or up to 9 rangefinders. While a second proximity sensor appears in the parameters list, it is not currently functional


For Object Avoidance in AUTO and GUIDED modes in Copter and Rover, see Object Avoidance with Bendy Ruler or Object Avoidance with Dijkstra’s

Details on how simple object avoidance is implemented for Copter in ALTHOLD and LOITER mode can be found here in the developer wiki and involves assessing all the objects detected, in all reported quadrants, and adds control input to the pilot’s,trying to move away from the aggregate threat or stop.

In ALTHOLD mode, the aggregate threat is translated into an attempt to add lean input into the pilot’s commands to move the Copter away from the aggregate obstructions. The pilot can still overcome these additions to his command inputs and fly into a object, if determined to do so.

In LOITER, either stopping in front of the object or a “sliding” algorithm is used to avoid it. “Sliding” involves slowing and slightly yawing as the vehicle approaches the object. For example, if Copter approaches a fence line at an angle, it will “slide along” the fence as the operator pushes the Copter toward the fence. Head-on approaches would stop, even if the pilot continues to “pushes” it forward.

Setup the Proximity Sensor

For 360 lidar follow the instructions corresponding to the lidar on the vehicle

For other rangefinders follow the instructions found in there individual setup pages here

Be sure to read the RangeFinders Setup Overview page

Configuring Simple Avoidance for Copter

  • set AVOID_ENABLE = 7 (“All”) to use all sources of barrier information including “Proximity” sensors
  • set PRX_TYPE to a 360 deg Lidar type being used or = 4, to enable using range finders as “proximity sensors”
  • in Loiter
    • AVOID_MARGIN controls how many meters from the barrier the vehicle will attempt to stop or try to slide along it
    • AVOID_BEHAVE allows setting whether the vehicle should simply Stop in front of the barrier or Slide around it. This parameter only affects Copter, since Rover always stops.
  • in AltHold
    • AVOID_DIST_MAX controls how far from a barrier the vehicle starts leaning away from the barrier
    • AVOID_ANGLE_MAX controls how far the vehicle will try to lean away from the barrier

Configuring Simple Avoidance for Rover

  • set AVOID_ENABLE = 7 (“All”) to use all sources of barrier information including “Proximity” sensors.
  • set PRX_TYPE = “4” to enable using range finders as “proximity sensors”
  • Rover attempts to stop the vehicle before it hits objects in all modes except MANUAL.

“Stop” Avoidance

Real-time view

Real-time distances can be seen in the Mission Planner’s proximity viewer


This window can be opened by moving to the MP’s Flight Data screen, press Ctrl-F and push the Proximity button.


DataFlash logging

Upward and downward facing range finder distances can be seen in the DataFlash Log’s RFND message.

The distance to the nearest object in 8 quadrants around the vehicle is recorded in the DataFlash log’s PRX messages.


Simple Object Avoidance feature has the following limitations. Future versions will likely resolve these.

  • The vehicle should stop before hitting objects but will never back away from objects that approach the vehicle (a slow backing away will be added in future firmware versions)
  • Avoidance is “sensor based” meaning it is not building up a 3D map and thus has no “memory” of where barriers were once they are out of view of the lidar.