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UAV plat­form: Unmanned Aer­i­al Vehicles.


Heudi­asy­c’s aer­i­al drone plat­form com­pris­es sev­er­al demon­stra­tors, a soft­ware envi­ron­ment and exper­i­men­tal sup­port. The objec­tive is to pro­vide tools and resources for exper­i­men­tal val­i­da­tion of research in auto­mat­ic con­trol and robot­ics. Activ­i­ties include design­ing, mod­el­ling and con­trol­ling mini-UAVS, main­ly multi-rotor.

The test­beds use mini-rotor­craft designed and built at the Heudi­asyc lab, includ­ing 8‑rotor UAVs from the Equipex Robo­t­ex project and 4‑rotor UAVs from Par­rot, both com­pat­i­ble with the test­bed framework.

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

  • CNRS ;
  • Uni­ver­sité de Tech­nolo­gie de Compiègne ;

and by sev­er­al pub­lic authorities:

  • Hauts-de-France region;
  • The French Nation­al Research Agen­cy’s Invest­ments for the Future (PIA) program;
  • FUI (Unique Inter­min­is­te­r­i­al Fund­ing) projects.


Heudi­asyc researchers began work­ing on aer­i­al vehi­cles in 1997, and in the ear­ly 2000s they were seen as French pio­neers in this field. From the start they were con­cerned with the design and con­trol of mini-UAVs (Unmanned Aer­i­al Vehi­cles), their field of exper­tise being auto­mat­ic con­trol and robot­ics. The team is inter­est­ed in dif­fer­ent aer­i­al con­fig­u­ra­tions includ­ing mul­ti-rotors, air­planes, and con­vert­ible drones that are capa­ble of ver­ti­cal take-off and land­ing as well as for­ward flight like planes.

This was ini­tial­ly fund­ed from:

  • Region­al projects;
  • Mini-drone chal­lenge com­pe­ti­tions, co-orga­nized by ONERA and DGA (2003–2005 and 2007–2009).

In 2011, the EQUIPEX Robo­t­ex project (as part of the Invest­ments for the Future Pro­gram (PIA) by the French Nation­al Research Agency (ANR)) start­ed sup­port­ing this research by pro­vid­ing equip­ment for the platforms.



  • Eight-rotor aer­i­al vehi­cles allow­ing advanced tests for research
  • Mod­u­lar struc­ture which can inte­grate high qual­i­ty sen­sors (Lidar, RTK GPS, HD cam­eras, etc.)
  • Fault tol­er­ant appli­ca­tions (redun­dan­cy of actu­a­tors), vision appli­ca­tions (auto­mat­ic mon­i­tor­ing of lines, sta­bi­liza­tion by Opti­cal Flow)
  • 1.1 Kg payload

Mini UAV fleet

  • Four-rotor pro­to­types
  • Inter-UAV com­mu­ni­ca­tion
  • Robust, aggres­sive control
  • Fault tol­er­ant appli­ca­tions (with­out redun­dan­cy of actuators)
  • Flight for­ma­tion and inter-fleet cooperation
  • Embed­ded mul­ti­sen­so­ry perception
  • Tra­jec­to­ry gen­er­a­tion and tracking
  • Human-robot inter­ac­tion


  • Eight-rotor aer­i­al vehi­cle with pas­sive inflat­able pro­tec­tion, with no rigid struc­ture between the motors
  • Safe con­tact with humans and objects
  • Sim­i­lar to MODUL-AIR tech­nol­o­gy (see above)
  • Patent­ed drone configuration


  • Large lift­ing capacity
  • High auton­o­my, using hydraulic technology
  • Project linked to an indus­tri­al research chair spe­cial­iz­ing in hydraulic technology
  • Close col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Rober­val and Heudi­asyc labs

Experimental support

Flight testing arenas

  • Indoor 10m x 12m x 6m flight are­na equipped with motion cap­ture (24 cam­eras, 1mm pre­ci­sion) and a mon­i­tor­ing room
  • Out­door 18m x 36m x 7m flight are­na, ful­ly enclosed, near a GPS RTK base


  • Mobile lab­o­ra­to­ry equipped with a GPS RTK base
  • Mechan­i­cal, elec­tron­ics and embed­ded com­put­ing workshops


The FL-AIR (Frame­work Libre Air) was devel­oped by Heudi­asyc plat­form staff. Its main goal is to facil­i­tate the imple­men­ta­tion, tun­ing and test­ing of the algo­rithms devel­oped. This frame­work is based on Lin­ux and is com­pat­i­ble with Xeno­mai (real-time fea­tures); it man­ages all com­mu­ni­ca­tions and real-time lay­ers. To make mon­i­tor­ing of sys­tem states dur­ing exper­i­ments eas­i­er, a ground sta­tion is built automatically.

In addi­tion, a sim­u­la­tor based on FL-AIR was also devel­oped to safe­ly test and ana­lyze the per­for­mance of the algo­rithms devel­oped before real flights. Pos­si­ble bugs and errors can thus be detect­ed and rec­ti­fied. A 3D envi­ron­ment (see fig­ure below) allows all embed­ded sen­sors (cam­eras, Lidars, etc.) to be emulated.

FL-AIR is open source and is pro­tect­ed by the Inter Dig­i­tal Deposit Num­ber: IDDN.FR.001.490010.000.R.P.2015.000.20600.

FL-AIR can be down­loaded from:


The cur­rent merg­ing of net­work­ing and con­trol research fields with­in the scope of robot­ic appli­ca­tions is cre­at­ing fas­ci­nat­ing research and devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. How­ev­er, the tools for a prop­er and easy man­age­ment of exper­i­ments still lag behind.

We fill such gap in the lit­er­a­ture by propos­ing a nov­el simulation.

Frame­work for con­trol­ling net­worked sys­tem, called Com­mU­ni­ca­tionS-Con­trol dis­trib­Uted Sim­u­la­tor (CUSCUS). Dif­fer­ent­ly from the state of the art, CUSCUS allows sim­u­lat­ing both the /UAV net­work­ing and flight control/, via the inte­gra­tion of two existing.

Tools: the Frame­work Libre AIR (FL-AIR) sim­u­la­tor and the main­stream net­work sim­u­la­tor [NS‑3]. CUSCUS also includes a sce­nario mod­ule for easy load­ing of sce­nar­ios direct­ly out of OpenStreetMap.

Front-end (Under Con­struc­tion at UTC GitLab)

Back-End (avail­able at UTC Git­Lab):


Respon­s­able sci­en­tifique | Pedro Castil­lo Gar­cia
Tél : 03 44 23 46 17
Mail :

Respon­s­able tech­nique | Guil­laume Sanahu­ja
Tél : 03 44 23 79 35
Mail :