ArkToolbox now released for Windows/ Mac as well as Linux

ArkToolbox is a toolbox for ScicosLab/ XCos (similar to Matlab simulink, but free). ArkToolbox is useful for drone control design, simulation, and testing and is compatible with FlightGear, MAVLink (QGroundControl/ArduPilotMega), and the JSBSim Trimming GUI software. This creates a completely open source toolchain for developing aircraft models, finding trim states for control, and developing controllers. The ArkToolbox also supports hardware in the loop communication  via MAVLink.

Download Here:

More Demo Videos:

arducopter simulation with hardware/software in the loop:

rover hardware in the loop:

sailboat control system:

rocket control system:

Wiki for getting started on ArkToolbox for ScicosLab:


Grab JSBSim Trimming GUI here:

Video tutorial for JSBSim Trimming GUI:

Grab Aircraft Models to Run/ Fly in FlightGear Here (includes Arducopter/ EasyStar):

All the demos have been well tested on all platforms. If you find any errors let me know. The MAVLink blocks are running version 0.9 so I will be upgrading to version 1.0 when I get a chance to support the latest APM versions. If you have time to contribute to ArkToolbox, send me an email.

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Comment by James Goppert on April 3, 2012 at 7:56am

ArduPlane is already supported. The EasyStar model can be found within arkhangar. For newer versions I will probably have to double check that the MAVLINK is sending the correct packets, but other than that it should be fine.

ArkScicos just uses FlightGear as a visualization tool. It does this by sending external flight dynamics model packets. Embedded within the jsbsimcomm block (which sends these packets), is a version of JSBSim. JSBSim is the same dynamics engine used by FlightGear, but the important difference here is that instead of the integrations occurring in flightgear, they are handled by ScicosLab. This is important, since this enables the user to set an arbitrary tolerance for the simulation accuracy, tell it to run in real-time or non real-time (which is helpful for long simulations), and also it ensures that all users of the toolbox are using the same dynamic model.

As far as rockets outside the atmosphere, I have yet to look into this. Since JSBSim is xml file based, I'm sure that a more accurate model could be created by adding dependencies on altitude for the propulsion system etc.

Comment by James Goppert on April 3, 2012 at 11:32am

The mac package was tested on snow leopard. The binary is for a 64bit intel processor (note you don't have to be running your mac as 64 bit, 32 bit works fine) , so it might not work for you if your mac uses a powerpc chip. You could try adding powepc to the osx_architectures in the cmake file and build it, but getting all the powerpc libraries could be a pain. HIL for the rocket should work fine. i need some help testing the MAVLink HIL link though, as I haven't had time to check it for awhile.

Comment by James Goppert on April 3, 2012 at 12:06pm

The pain with the powerpc build for mac was that you need to have all the libraries built with powerpc support. This likely means you will have to build qt from source overnight with the right flag/ or find the binary somewhere. OpenSceneGraph you would also have to build from source with powerpc support and with the static flag.

The non soft-realtime HIL performed well enough for my testing purposes. ScicosLab has hard real-time support but I have yet to integrate my toolbox with it: see 

Comment by James Goppert on April 4, 2012 at 4:43am
During install of arkscicos make sure it has the correct path to your scicoslab install folder. It should install it to scicoslab-root/contrib/arkscicos-toolbox. The install assumes scicoslab-root is : program files/scicoslab 4.4.1 when it starts up.

Comment by James Goppert on April 4, 2012 at 6:16am

No luck on windows? I develop on debian squeeze. Tested it on oneric but was a bit buggy with gnome 3. If you want to use Ubuntu would recommend Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with gnome 2.

Comment by James Goppert on April 4, 2012 at 7:15am

Good to hear! I'm currently building a powerpc compliant mac binary, could be awhile though, sudo port install qt4-mac-devel +universal will probably take till tomorrow.

Comment by James Goppert on April 5, 2012 at 8:40pm

The power pc build of qt took all day today. Still working at it. Have to build openscenegraph now. I added joystick input to arkscicos. Makes it much more fun to play with manual input! You can download 0.9.0 and try it out.

Comment by Paul d'Escodeca on April 6, 2012 at 2:29pm

Hi James, Yours post is very interesting. I search the scicos file for simulate the rocket sm-3, can you help me? thanks.

Comment by James Goppert on April 6, 2012 at 3:23pm

The sm-3 simulation can be constructed using a jsbsimcomm block. Just enable the flightgear output for the visualization to work. The sm-3 model is in arkhangar on github, see:

Comment by James Goppert on April 10, 2012 at 9:29pm

I would recommend QGroundControl I just finished the powerpc version of arkscicos/ jsbsim let me know how they work. I'll get ardupilotone back up and running soon to test the mavlink comm. MAVLink blocks are now upated to version 1.0, but haven't been tested yet so there might be some constants that I forgot to multiply with etc.


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