Intelligent and Autonomous Vehicles


PACPUS is a technology platform for research located at the Heudiasyc UTC/CNRS Joint Research Unit.

The objective behind PACPUS is to provide tools and resources for experimenting on intelligent vehicles. It is specifically intended for the development, integration and testing of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) functions, particularly in relation to autonomous vehicles.

The platform comprises five experimental vehicles, together with testing facilities and software.

The platform is funded by Heudiasyc's two supervisory institutions:

  • CNRS
  • Université de Technologie de Compiègne

and by several public authorities :

  • Hauts-de-France administative region and ERDF (European Regional Development Fund)
  • European projects
  • French National Research Agency R&D projects

PACPUS is also used for joint projects with industrial partners.


This project was initiated by :

  • European Union Framework Programs for Research and Technological Development (Prometheus 1991-1994, Roadsense 2001-2004)
  • French PREDIT Research and Innovation Program for Terrestrial Transport (ARCOS 2001-2004, MobiVip 2004-2007, Sari 2005-2008)
  • CNRS ROBEA program (Bodega 2003-2005)
  • CNRS/INRETS CHMAC Research Group (Human-Machine Cooperation for Automobile Driver Assistance 1999-2001).

In 2005 CNRS labelled PACPUS a strategic platform and helped it acquire the CARMEN testbed. CARMEN was a demonstrator in the IEEE IV2008 and IV2011 symposiums.

CARMEN testbed

CARMEN is a Citroën C5 used for research on robotic perception. This testbed allows tests on a variety of aspects, including robust and reliable localization, local dynamic maps, obstacle detection, and the use of digital maps.


CARMEN is equipped with the following:

  • an HDL-64E Velodyne
  • a Novatel SPAN-CPT for localization (RTK enabled)
  • an Ibeo Alasca XT front Lidar
  • a 77GHz AC20 front TRW
  • a Mobileye C2-270 (measurement of safety distance, detection of white lines and obstacles)
  • several vision systems (stereovision, Infrared camera, TOF cameras)
  • driver observation systems (FaceLab, SmartEye and SMI glasses)
  • full access to the car's CAN bus

DYNA - vehicle dynamics

DYNA is the testbed devoted to vehicle dynamics. The car is equipped with the following sensors:

  • 4 Kistler RoaDyn measuring wheels
  • a Corrsys Datron Correvit
  • a Crossbow IMU VG700AB
  • 4 Corrsys height sensors
  • an Ibeo LUX-8L front Lidar
  • a real-time acquisition system (2kHz data acquisition)
  • an embedded computer with a high data-processing capacity

Additional sensors including GPS receivers and cameras can be installed according to needs of the project.

All the car's instrumentation was put in place by the Lab's technical staff:

  • the electrical power supply and the sensors were installed locally
  • the low-level software uses a real-time Xenomai Linux to guarantee the synchronisation and timestamping of data
  • the high-level software, including ADAS modules and project applications, use the PACPUS framework

IRIS (IRIS is a Robotized Intelligent System)

IRIS is one of Heudiasyc's autonomous cars, acquired in 2012 as part of the Robotex project.


APAChE (vehicle Autonome Partenaire de Conduite) is an autonomous vehicle based on the Renault Zoë. Heudiasyc has two of these, as part of the Robotex project.

APAChE, autonomous car and driving partner

The 2 APAChE cars are part of the ROBOTEX project and are fully controllable by computer. The embedded technology allows the car to be controlled by Electronic Control Units (ECUs) developed in the Lab. In particular, a cooperative mode has been developed to transform the vehicle into a driving partner for ensuring the safety of its passengers.

The vehicles are equipped with instrumentation for use in experiments:

  • front and rear multi-layer Lidars
  • 3 front 24 GHz radars
  • on-board cameras
  • GNSS localization systems
  • 802.11p radio modems for V2V and V2I communications


"Vehicle In the Loop testbed for Autonomous Driving" is a 4WD hub for testing robot cars. The four dynamometers emulate the road surface in the vehicle's acceleration and braking phases, and an automotive simulator feeds sensor data and dynamics into the control algorithms.

VILAD, Vehicle In the Loop testbed for Autonomous Driving

The VILAD testbed was designed for experimenting repeatable and faulty scenarios with autonomous cars. The surroundings and vehicle dynamics are simulated and the road grip is reproduced by a bi-directional 4WD testbed.

VILAD is able to test the complete electronic architecture of the vehicle, together with the robotics tasks. Since all the inputs into control algorithms are provided just like in a real situation, VILAD offers a valuable means of diagnosing and improving a robot's behaviour before actually putting it on a test track.

The vehicles are equipped with instrumentation for use in experiments:

  • front and rear multi-layer Lidars
  • 3 front 24 GHz radars
  • on-board cameras
  • GNSS localization systems
  • 802.11p radio modems for V2V and V2I communications

PACPUS software

The OpenSource PACPUS framework is to be found at and can be used under CECILL-C license (LGPL-like license).


The VERVE european project, one of the first examples of autonomous driving by a ROBOTEX vehicle

An APAChe car performed complete cicuits of the SEVILLE test track at UTC's Innovation Center:

UMAP Urban Mobility Advanced Platform (Renault)

Heudiasyc researchers are working with Renault to create a driverless car. The PACPUS framework is embedded in this prototype to power the localization and perception components of the system:


Scientific advisor
Véronique Cherfaoui
Phone : 03 44 23 44 87 | Contact by email

Technical advisor
Stéphane Bonnet
Phone : 03 44 23 52 56 | Contact by email

To learn more