Flight Campaign at Barbados Island

Enac UAV lab have participated to an atmospheric research flight campaign at the Barbados Island for three weeks from end of January 2020. 

This was part of a project called NEPHELAE in collaboration with the French National Meteorological Research Center from Météo-France and the robotics lab LAAS-CNRS.

NEPHELAE is atmospheric science driven (with a focus on cloud microphysical processes) via robotic technological development (adaptive, model-guided path planning in a UAV fleet). Essentially, by merging the state-of-the-art technology, the observational tools for conducting research in atmospheric science will take a quantum leap forward. At the same time, we are using this novel approach to address decades-old questions on entrainment and the onset of precipitation that have been limited by traditional observing methods.

The UAVs that have be deployed during a field campaign (Skywalker X10) in Barbados Island are capable of detecting the edges of the clouds and react to adapt their trajectory. Several patterns have been developped in collaboration with the atmospheric scientists. Each of them is dedicated to extract certain parameters at the core of the cloud or at the interface between the free atmosphere and the cloud.

In total, more than 30 operations with one or two UAVs have been done, for a flight time of almost 38 hours.

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Crazyflie v2.1 with Paparazzi onboard

The popular Open-Source platform Crazylie v2.1 from Bitcraze is now supported by Paparazzi. Only the main frame, with IMU, barometer as well as the NRF communication is working. A bridge between the Crazyradio and the Ivy bus allows the direct and easy connection of the Crazyflie to the ground station. More sensor decks will be supported in the future.

See the (almost) maiden flight inside the flight arena at Enac:

Thank you to the Bitcraze dev team for their support !

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Running Paparazzi on Windows

Since there are many Windows users who like to try paparazzi on this popular OS and Microsoft introduced the possibility of running Ubuntu programs and tools on windows 10, now Paparazzi developer team is pleased to announce the initial release of the Windows10 support of Paparazzi.

The installation process is not so much different from the Linux, but you need some extra steps to install Ubuntu, and some more for using graphical interface and connecting to the aircraft via telemetry. This first release still retains the look and feel of its Linux sibling as currently it uses X Windows for rendering, so you need to install X server in order to have graphical interface.

Although its still on developing and you need some extra work to communicate with serial port, or stop process manually, … .But maybe it is better you install it yourself and give us the feedback, or if you can help to make it better, we will be happy!

Don’t hesitate to go through the wiki install page for Paparazzi on Windows 10 (thanks to Iman Shidareh).

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Paparazzi wins at IMAV2018

Enac UAV team and TUDelft MAVLAB team took part to the IMAV2018 conference and competition in Australia with great success!

For the first time, the two academic lead developers of the Paparazzi UAV system join efforts to participate to the Outdoor competition and won this event far ahead.

Several tasks have been completed, including a mapping (performed using OpenDroneMap) of the flight area with automatic detection of hazards hidden in the field (with a light fixed wing aircraft) and an autonomous obstacles avoidance navigation near trees (with Bebop2 + SlamDunk from Parrot).

During the Indoor event, Enac and TUDelft were competing. And if Enac finally won the competition regarding to the score with ultra light modified CX10 quadcopters, TUDelft made an outstanding demonstration of the Delfly Nimble. This small flapping wing UAV has an amazing agility and autonomous vision-based navigation, recognized with the Indoor Innovation prize.

All these success have been possible thanks to the hard work of the Paparazzi community over the past 15 years of course, but also thanks to many other Open-Source projects including:

For the hardware parts:

The conference papers can be found here: http://www.imavs.org/imav2018-proceedings/, including several papers presented by Enac and TUDelft teams.

Thanks to everyone and see you next year in Spain !

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UAV Network Intrusion Detection with Wavelet-based Signature Analysis

This is a first step of a hybrid IDS method based on the analysis of spectral traffic and a robust controller / observer for the estimation of anomalies in UAV networks. This module is currently designed to observe the traffic between the drones and the Paparazzi GCS. It provides a statistic signature of the traffic which can later be used to determine the nature of the traffic. The module is tested in face of a DoS attack and the results are very promising!

Check out our paper for more details: https://hal-enac.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01652296

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Opening ENAC’s flying arena

Since the beginning of the year, ENAC (French Civil Aviation University) is equipped with a new facility dedicated to UAVs research and education.

The building includes a flying arena with a size around 10x10x10 meters, several workshops for mechanics, electronic, composite, 3D printing and storage. It also includes a teaching room for automatic control and the student’s robotics club.

The official opening was the 17th of May in the presence of the French minister of transport. Several demonstrations have been performed, all of them showing the formidable capabilities of Paparazzi: distributed formation flight, hybrid vehicles, on-board image processing, efficient adaptive control and autonomous navigation.

 

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Secure Pprzlink released

The Paparazzi team is proud to announce a release of an encrypted version of pprzlink. The new secure Pprzlink uses a strong and fast cipher ChaCha20 with Poly1305 authenticator. For better security and user convenience, a variation of station-to-station key-exchange protocol is implemented, to allow seamless key-exchange between the UAV and the GCS.

Secure Pprzlink is backed by a formally verified cryptographic library HACL*  (yes, the same library that is a part of new Mozilla Firefox).

Why should you care? Without encryption, anyone can listen to your drone communication, and can potentially send modified or outright “fake” commands to it, steering it of course, or causing it to crash. Using encrypted radio link is similar to using encrypted connection on internet, and should be a common practice.

Why is using a formally verified crypto library important? In short, cryptography is hard to do right, and formal methods help make sure that the encryption algorithms behave as intended. The short video below gives you a better idea:

Secure Pprzlink uses a formally verified cryptography library, but is not verified itself. However, it could be verified in the future, to provide additional guarantees.

How to use it? We prepared a wiki page with instructions and examples. In short, choose a secure link as your mode of communication when building the autopilot code, and the rest is handled automatically. Also, the GCS part of secure pprzlink is written in Rust, which is a memory-safe language, which guarantees that the code written in Rust is itself memory-safe and thus eliminates a large amount of possible software bugs.

Secure Pprzlink was created with the help of Galois, Senman and is currently used by AggieAir at Utah State University.

Give it a try and give us any feedback and ask questions on paparazzi gitter channel, or via paparazzi mailing list.

Wishing everyone happy (and secure) flying!

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Pilot a super rotorcraft!

So far all my results with rotorcraft were in simulation… until now! In this experiment, performed at TU-Delft (thanks Ewoud Smeur!), a team of four rotorcraft behaves as a single unit. The proved stability properties of the whole system allows for applications such as collaborative transportation of objects.

If you want to know the mathematical aspects and why this setup works, then check my thesis.

A wiki entry explaining how you can have the same setup running employing Paparazzi will be available soon!

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New Paparazzi autopilot Chimera released

The ENAC UAV lab is proud to release its latest autopilot board.  Named Chimera, it is based on the latest STM32F7 micro-controller and offers a large connectivity.

The design have been made with the ease of use and integration for end-users, especially researchers. With the usual features like IMU and barometer, the Chimera also carries a differential pressure sensor, a SD card slot, a XBee modem slot and a 5V power supply dedicated to external companion processor.

Please check the general pinout diagram below or the Wiki page for more details.

The Chimera have been successfully used on the hybrid airframe currently developed by Enac with the help of TUDelft for the control.

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Research and development of open-source UAV systems since 2003