This article provides guidance to setup UAVCAN protocol on ArduPilot.


The UAVCAN protocol should be enabled first. Please refer to the CAN Bus Setup


UAVCAN is a lightweight protocol designed for reliable communication in aerospace and robotic applications via CAN bus. The UAVCAN network is a decentralized peer network, where each peer (node) has a unique numeric identifier - node ID and that is only one parameter needs to be set for basic setup.

Detailed description of protocol can be found at

UAVCAN Peripheral Types Supported

Ardupilot currently supports the following types of UAVCAN peripherals:

GPS Compass Barometer
Rangefinder ADSB Receiver Power Module
LED Buzzer Airspeed
Safety Switch/LED    
UAVCAN Adapter Node

UAVCAN device type is selected by:

  • GPS,Compass, Barometer, ADSB Receiver, LED, Buzzer, Safety Switch/LED, and Airspeed devices are automatically identified in the UAVCAN protocol
  • Rangefinder: RNGFNDx_TYPE = 24
  • Power Module: BATT_MONITOR or BATTx_MONITOR = 8

UAVCAN Adapter Node

These devices are general purpose UAVCAN nodes with I/O ports that allow the attachment of non-UAVCAN ArduPilot peripherals to the UAVCAN bus via UART ports, I2C, SPI, and/or GPIOs. See UAVCAN Adapter Nodes .

UAVCAN ESC and Servo Configuration settings

See UAVCAN ESCs for information on UAVCAN ESCs.

There are three parameters present at the moment in CAN category of setting:

  • CAN_DX_UC_NODE - which is the node ID of the autopilot
  • CAN_D1_UC_ESC_BM - bitmask that enables sending of ESC commands
  • CAN_D1_UC_SRV_BM - bitmask that enables sending of servo commands

In a bitmap mask, each position in the binary number represents an ESC or servo ID that the command will be generated for. In case of copters, usually the ESC bitmask should be filled and in case of planes - main one is for servo, though any mix is possible.

To reduce bandwidth, the CAN_D1_UC_ESC_BM and CAN_D1_UC_SRV_BM params should be set to enable only the motor and servo channels you need CAN signals sent to.

  • Example: For a configuration of CAN servos on channels 1,2,4 and ESC motor on channel 3, set:
  • Example: CAN_D1_UC_SRV_BM = 0x0B
  • Example: CAN_D1_UC_ESC_BM = 0x04

GNSS receiver configuration settings

If there is a GNSS connected to UAVCAN network, it has to be enabled in GPS subgroup of parameters. The TYPE parameter should be set to 9 for corresponding GNSS receiver in autopilot.


UAVCAN LED configuration

UAVCAN LEDs are enabled by setting bit 5 in the NTF_LED_TYPES bitmask.


Ardupilot and UAVCAN provides a means to directly communicate with UAVCAN devices on the CAN BUS attached to the autopilot: SLCAN. Enabling SLCAN and communicating with the UAVCAN devices is dependent on the autopilot’s processor. F7/H7 processors use one method and F4, a different method.