Plateforme UAV : Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Platform presentation

The aerial drone platform at Heudiasyc laboratory consists of several demonstrators, a software environment and experimental support. It aims at integrating tools and resources to carry out research, in the field of automatic control and robotics, and validate them experimentally. The activities are mainly devoted to designing, modelling and controlling mini-aerial vehicles, essentially multi-rotors.

The tests-beds are composed of mini-rotorcrafts designed and built at Heudiasyc laboratory such as octarotors within the context of Equipex Robotex project and quadrotors (ones from Parrot), both compatible with our framework environment.

The platform is funded by the Heudiasyc supervisions :

and by several public authorities :

Platform History

Heudiasyc researchers working on aerial vehicles started in 1997 and they were wonsidered as French pioneers in this field in the early 2000s. Their first objectives were the design and control of mini-aerial vehicles commonly known as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). The automatic control and robotics areas are the expertise field of the group. The team in interested in different aerial configurations as multi-rotors, airplanes and convertible drones, capable of vertical take-off and landing and forward flight like planes.

The firsts funding supports for these researches came from:

  • Regional projects
  • Mini-drones challenge competitions co-organized by the ONERA and DGA (2003-2005 and 2007-2009)

In 2011, the EQUIPEX Robotex project (within the Programme of Investments for the Future (PIA) of the French National Research Agency (ANR)) started supporting these researches with equipment for the platforms.


  • Octorotor aerial vehicles enabling advanced tests for research

  • Modular structure which can integrate high quality sensors (ex : Lidar, RTK GPS, HD cameras, etc)

  • Fault tolerant applications (redundancy of actuators), vision applications (automatic monitoring of lines, stabilization by Optical Flow)

  • Payload 1.1 Kg

Mini-UAV fleet

  • Quadrotor prototypes
  • Communication inter UAVs
  • Robust, aggressive control
  • Fault tolerant applications (without redundancy of actuators)
  • Flight formation and cooperation of a drone fleet
  • Embedded multisensory perception
  • Trajectory generation and tracking
  • Human-robot interaction


  • Octorotor aerial vehicle with passive inflatable protection without rigid structure between the motors
  • Safe contact with humans and objects
  • Similar to Modul-AIR's technology
  • Patented drone configuration


  • Strong carrying capacity

  • High autonomy using hydraulic technology

  • Project carried out within an industrial chair focused on hydraulic technology

  • Collaboration between Roberval and Heudiasyc laboratories

Flight testing arenas

  • Indoor flight arena 10x12x6m, equipped with motion capture (24 cameras, precision 1mm) and a monitoring room
  • Outdoor flight arena 18x36x7m, fully enclosed, nearly to a GPS RTK base


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


The platform staff of the Heudiasyc laboratory has developped the FL-AIR (Framework Libre Air). Its main goal is to ease the implementation, the tuning and the testing of the research algorithms developped. This framework is based on Linux and is compatible with Xenomai (real time feature); it manages all communications and real time layers. For easing monitoring the system states during the experiments, a ground station is built automatically.

In addition, a simulator based on FL-AIR was also developed to test, without any danger, and to analyze the performance of the algorithms developed before real flights. Therefore, all possible bugs and errors can be detected and solved. A 3D environment (see figure below) allows to emulate all embedded sensors (cameras, LIDARS...).

FL-AIR is open source and is protected by Inter Deposit Digital 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 | Contacter par mail

Responsable technique
Guillaume Sanahuja
Tél : 03 44 23 79 35 | Contacter par mail

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