The SITL (Software In The Loop) simulator allows you to run APM without any hardware. It is a build of the autopilot code using an ordinary C++ compiler and giving you a native executable that allows you to test the behaviour of the code without hardware.


Refer to the APM wiki for installation instructions. -w

Install just the command line tools for OSX including GCC then get modules installed to Python:

sudo easy_install pip
sudo pip install pexpect
sudo pip install pyserial

Install MAVLink and MAVProxy:

sudo pip install pymavlink MAVProxy

(or) install MAVLink and MAVProxy from source

git clone
git clone

run this setup command in both directories

sudo python build install

Get the APM branch that compiles in Mac OS (this commit is relevant):

git clone
cd ardupilot
git checkout macos
cd ArduCopter
make configure
make sitl

Source: drones-discuss