ENAC UAV Laboratory

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The Laboratory

The UAV laboratory involves research into many fields: communication, navigation, surveillance systems, simulation, optimization, air transport, system engineering, HMI, controls, applied mathematics and also traffic regulation.

Enac ac.png

The UAV team is also interested, with the cooperation of the French Regulator, by the regulation aspects. Until now, UAVs flew in segregated airspace. How could they be integrated in civil traffic ?

The Paparazzi Project

The UAV laboratory has developed a complete UAV system named Paparazzi. This project is born in 2003, from a will to build a cheap fixed wing autonomous MAV (Micro air Vehicle). The Paparazzi system includes the airborne autopilot, the downlink and uplink channels and a multi aircraft ground monitoring station. The system is highly configurable and proposes a rich flight plan language. The source code, schematics and documentation of the Paparazzi system are released under the GPL license.

The main station of this system provides the following functions:

  • simulation to prepare flights and navigation before flight;
  • supervision of operations during real flights;
  • recording and replaying real flights after operation for analysis.

Paparazzi UAV may carry on board different sensors like video channels or chemical sensors. UAV and main control station are also linked via datalink allowing complete control and survey of the flight, such as recording and monitoring of all information captured by the different sensors.

Success Story

Today several hundred of hours have shown that Paparazzi is robust and reliable. Several teams in the world are using this autopilot. This cheap, light, simple MAV autopilot has won several competitions :

  • IMAV2014, 12-15th August 2014, Delft, Netherlands :
    • ENAC took the 3rd place
  • IMAV2013, 17-20th September 2013, Toulouse, France :
    • ENAC organized the IMAV2013 event in Toulouse
  • IMAV2012, 5th July 2012, Braunscheweig, Germany :
    • ENAC took 1st place for the outdoor autonomy mission and 3rd place for the outdoor flight dynamics
  • IMAV2011, 12th September 2011, Delft, Netherlands :
    • ENAC won 2nd place for outdoor autonomy mission and the "Best Endurance Award"
  • IMAV2010, 9th July 2010, Braunscheweig, Germany :
    • ENAC took 1st place for the outdoor autonomy mission and 2nd for the indoor flight dynamics
  • DGA Challenge, 26th April 2009, France :
    • Enac won the French "DGA Challenge" as a reward for the maturity of the Paparazzi system
  • EMAV2009, 15th September 2009, Delft, Netherlands :
    • 2nd place for the outdoor mission
  • US-Asian MAV 2008, 10-15th March 2008, Agra, India :
    • ENAC won the "Best Autonomous MAV" Award
  • MAV07, 17-21th September 2007, Toulouse, France :
    • The ENAC team took the first place (tie) while the 3rd, 4th and 5th were Paparazzi teams.
  • MAV06, Sandestin, Florida :
    • Five Paparazzi teams were in the six first places;
  • EMAV06, 25th July 2006, Braunschweig, Germany :
    • Four Paparazzi teams were in the four first places;
    • ENAC took 3rd place in "Fixed-Wing" category
  • MAV05, Garmisch, Germany :
    • Three Paparazzi teams were in the three first places;
  • JMD04, Toulouse, France :
    • Paparazzi took the first place with the Microjet;
  • EMAV04, Braunscheweig, Germany :
    • Paparazzi took the first place with a Microjet (0.65cm, 0.4kg)
  • JMD03, Toulouse, France :
    • Paparazzi took the first place with a Twinstar (1.4m, 1.4kg)



  • Yannick Jestin (Project coordinator)
  • Gautier Hattenberger
  • Michel Gorraz
  • Alexandre Bustico
  • Murat Bronz
  • Jean-Philippe Condomines
  • Xavier Paris