Welcome to the official web site of Barcelona Drone Center. Check for our history and how we became one of the first civilan drone reference of Europe. Learn more about our facilities and all services you can find here; from Consultancy to Certification Processes and Training Courses in different fields. Do no forget to contact us for further information about any topic.
Jordi Santacana (left), founder and CEO of the company, was very impressed with the radiocontrol plane that his father built that year.
When he grew older, he decided to build himself his first wood model. After this one, he began to equip them with cameras and chemical film that was developed at home.
This year Jordi designed and built an RC airplane specially made for aerial photograpy. After a few tests some of the photos were good enough to be sold to the owners of some farms and houses, the price of each photo was 100 pts (about 0,60 €)
He thought that he would like to feel the experience of flying inside the aircraft, so he decided to build his own full-size ultralight airplane. This time, he wouldn't be with the feet on the ground, he would be onboard the plane!
After 3 long years of construction he finished his plane. In order to prove that this years were worth he had to try it. He successfully flew it from Barcelona to Lyon (France) in only one day, and received the Gold Propeller Award for that.
After this unique experience, he built a ground control center, developed an autopilot, experimented with FPV glasses... and created his first autonomous UAV.
After seeing the potential of this technology, he decided to establish the first European civilian drone company, and one of the firsts movers in the world. CATUAV designed, manufactured and operated fixed-wing drones for a big number of applications types. The company began to grow.
During the first years, the company was fully dedicated in the development of proprietary UAS technology. This included the development of multiple electric fixed-wings, a long endurance UAS (8h endurance), communications Systems, ground control station software and hardware, avionics (including and autopilot) and payload Integration. This first stage of the company allowed the team to gain all the experience related to the UAS technology, know-how that has been keep up to date until nowadays thanks to our participation in multiple state-of-the-art R+D projects since then.
After six years of intensive development, the UAS Technology is deployed to provide aerial services in a wide range of applications. CATUAV pioneers several applications, such as UAS mapping (first maps produced in 2008), precision agriculture (using multispectral and thermal cameras in UAS since 2008) or emergency applications (earthquake area mapped in less than 24h in 2011). This phase of the company allowed the team to get the know-how about UAS applications, how to legally deploy them and having a successful UAS service model.
The drone industry was getting more popular, with tens of companies created every day, hundreds of pilot licences issued every week and a new and more restrictive UAS legislation in the horizon. The CATUAV team foresaw the need to have a UAS Test Site with all the facilities needed to safely test all type of civil UAS.
CATUAV purchased a strategic property, obtained a segregated airspace from aviation authorities and constructed a bioclimatic building. The BCN Drone Center became a reality!
CATUAV changes its activity, from being a UAS aerial services provider to a UAS consultancy firm, with the aim of sharing its wide experience to help any UAS stakeholder to successfully deploy any applications or technology to the market.
The UAS services are sold under two trademarks: CATUAV for R+D and Engineering projects, and BCN Drone Center for testing and training services.
After 3 years of commercial use the test site proved to be a success. Hundreds of costumers from multiple countries already came to the test site to develop and test their systems or get trained. A new expansion is inaugurated to have enough room in the test site to all the activities surrounding it.
New UAS legislation is released in Spain allowing for more complex operations. European legislation is also in the horizon with the aim to standardize the EU regulatory framework. That’s why we start offering UAS regulatory services, in order to help any company in getting flight authorisations or complying with regulatory requirements.
First EASA legislation enters into force, setting for the first time requirements for UAS certification. BCN Drone Center starts therefore the deployment of evaluation and certification processes services, to help any manufacturer to comply with the requirements of the Open, Specific or Certified Categories.
BCN Drone Center offers one-stop shop services to deploy to market any UAS project or idea, from its conception to its final commercial implementation. This includes feasibility & viability studies, R+D projects, tech + regulatory + market consultancy, operational authorisations processing, training and the full testing + evaluation + certification pipeline.