A day at… Flyscan Barcelona

Musco lapis volutus haud obducitur

‘‘A rolling stone is not covered with moss’’ – this is a common proverb appeared in Esrasmus’ collection of Latin proverbs – Adagia, 1508. One interpretation of this sentence is that those who keep moving are not influenced by negative thinking but always filled with fresh ideas and creativity, and that is precisely what I have been experiencing through a short period of time in internship at Flyscan Barcelona.

FlyscanBCN is a startup founded at the beginning of 2013 by a group of professionals in aviation and telecommunication engineering. The founders of the company have a vision to design, produce and innovate systems and solutions to offer services by means of drones. Since my incorporation in FlyscanBCN in November 2017, I have witnessed this vision to be deployed successfully through a large variety of projects, some of which I am involved in personally.

The first and also the main project going on at FlyscanBCN is about redesigning a flight controller to be used in heavy-mass drone. By heavy-mass, we are talking about really heavy professional drone of MTOM (maximum takeoff mass) more than 450kg. One needn’t to be expert in drones to realize that an unmanned aircraft of such size should be really huge and, if exists for civil application, would cost a lot of money. The solution at FlyscanBCN is to test the flight controller on a small aircraft, specifically a biplace experimental aircraft named Rutan Long-EZ. My task in this project is to design and implement the connections between the actuators and the flight controller to control the aircraft and it turned out that my background in airspace engineering becomes very helpful. By now, I have completed the first step of r

Fig. Rutan Long-EZ aircraft at Sabadell Airport

edesign the instrument panel of the aircraft. Although there is a lot to learn, working with the Rutan Long-EZ is genuinely fascinating. Besides, the best thing in this project is probably its leader who is also one of FlyscanBCN’s cofounder and the pilot of Rutan Long-EZ aircraft, Marcel Corominas. He has developed a passion to drones since his childhood; and later while becoming flight instructor and airline pilot, he continues devoting to his affection towards drones at FlyscanBCN. Marcel not only taught me many practical technical knowledge but also a complete dedication to the job.

While running the heavy-mass drone project, FlyscanBCN is also carrying on another project entitled ARSI, standing for Aerial Robot for Sewer Inspection. This project, making part of the ECHORD++ program (European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development), is a collaboration of European firms in a consortium of which FlyscanBCN is a core member. In this project, a MAV (micro aerial vehicle), i.e. a small drone, equipped with autonomous navigation sensors will be used to inspect the pipelines and galleries in the sewer network of big cities. I arrived FlyscanBCN when the project is completing its phase II, during which all the aspects of the solution is developed and validated. I was with FlyscanBCN on the day of assessment of the second phrase and have seen the current platform working smoothly, taking valuable information for inspection of the sewers under the area of El Born in Barcelona.

Fig. ARSI drones being taking from truck ground station and placed into the sewer

Yet we can always improve. On the third phrase of the project, FlyscanBCN will work on raising the lift capacity and on increasing the autonomy of the platform. I will have the opportunity to be a part of this job and work alongside with Aleix Cortada, another cofounder of FlyscanBCN and who is equally talented and devoting. An inspiring person with plenty of enthusiasm, Aleix was also my flight instructor when I took lessons of drone pilot certificate. I can still remember how I should control my feelings when piloting a drone, even in emergency situations.

A part from the two projects mentioned previously, I have the chance to take part in different activities of the company. One day, I accompanied Marcel and Aleix to Andorra to make aerial videos of some via ferratas – climbing routes on the mountain as a drone service for FlyscanBCN client. The beauty of the landscape helped us to complete the mission with a lot of amusement. At the moment I am writing this article, FlyscanBCN is collaborating with InDronePark Barcelona to build an indoor drone racing stadium in Hospitalet of Barcelona. Perhaps, the students of the Master’s degree in Applications and Technologies for Unmanned Aircraft Systems of UPC will be among the first visitors of this drone park when it is finished!

Tran Viet Vu


Invited Talk: Jordi Corbera (ICGC)

Jordi Corbera, Head of Earth Observation at the Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya (ICGC), will give the talk entitled “Earth Observation: From Data to Knowledge”, next Thursday, 30th of November, at 12:00 in room 027B of the EETAC.

Jordi Corbera graduated in Physics in 1989 at the University of Barcelona (Spain). He obtained his PhD in 1995 as researcher for the National Program in Antarctica, with two field campaigns at the Antarctic Base, about Earth Observation, climate change and physics of glaciers. His professional activity focus in the use of spatial resources, particularly earth observation and positioning systems. From 2001 to 2007, he served as Chair of the Spanish Institute of Navigation, he cooperated in the conception of the European satellite navigation system (Galileo) and worked for various European Commission agencies as an expert evaluator on over 60 projects. From 2001 to 2008 he taught at the University Polytechnic of Catalonia as professor of radio-navigation systems. Since 2008 is leading the Catalan Earth Observation Program at the Institute Cartographic and Geological of Catalonia (ICGC) where is in charge to transform remote sensing data into operational service, leads two Industrial PhD and coordinates an official master on geoinformation with the University Autonomous of Barcelona.

The ICGC duties are related to the competences of geodesy and cartography and about the spatial data infrastructure of Catalonia, and also the competences of promoting and carrying out the actions related to the awareness, survey and information about the soil and subsoil, as regulated by the Catalan Law.

This conference is organized in the framework of invited talks of the Master’s degree in Applications and Technologies for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones).

Invited Talk: Roger Jové (Balamis)

Roger Jové CEO of Balamis, will give the talk entitled “Earth Observation applications for microwave remote sensing,” next Wednesday, 13th of December at 12:00 in room 027B of the EETAC.

BALAMIS is a start-up company from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, BarcelonaTech, whose mission is to solve customer soil moisture management problems.

Roger Jové Casulleras is PhD in Science and Space Technologies, Industrial Engineer from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and Aeronautic Engineer from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Roger worked as air and climate conditioning consultant from 2007 to 2008. From 2011 up to 2014 was President of the PhD student council of UPC. During his PhD thesis was project manager of 3Cat-1 nano-satellite where he dealt with more than 90 students with a peak of 28 students and other PhD candidates simultaneously involved. He was finalist at ValorTech awards in Technology Based Start-up’s on 2014, and got a 3rd place in the European Satellite Navigation Competition, University Challenge 2013. On 2015, he attended La Formula Empresarial applied communication, sales and marketing courses. Apart from Catalan and Spanish, he also speaks English, Italian, French, and Roger has basic Arabic knowledge (1st course Cadmus Academy in Barcelona). He is nowadays enrolled in Economic and Business studies at UOC, where he has already completed Entrepreneurship, Introduction to financial information, Introduction to Marketing, Laws applied to business, and Strategic Negotiation among others.

This conference is organized in the framework of invited talks of the Master’s degree in Applications and Technologies for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones).


A day at… Unblur

monLet me introduce myself! My name is Mónica Milán and I am aeronautical engineer by the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC-EETAC). This year, I have decided to enrol to this new master program because I am really interested in drone’s applications, and to my point of view there is a lot of potential there and also a lot to do in this field.

Since October, I am working as intern at Unblur, which is a Barcelona-based start-up that helps Emergency Services to make faster & safer decisions in the field, being able to provide relevant and valuable knowledge to incident commanders when they need it, by using multiple sources such as: body cams, smartphones or (and here comes the coolest part)… drones.

My work here consists on software development, with a special focus on drones’ integration in IRIS, which is a modular SaaS platform specifically tailored for incident commanders, developed by Unblur. By going more into detail, IRIS gathers information from multiirisple sources, then processes and displays relevant data.

By now, IRIS supports DJI and Parrot drones, it is possible to see drone’s GPS position and live-video streaming of of these two manufacturers. However, this is just the start, since I am currently working with Yuneec Software Development Kit (SDK), in order to achieve its integration.

In addition, I have been working in some improvements in order to make the platform more efficient in terms of data consumption, as well as some interface modifications.

Now that it’s been two months that I am working at Unblur, I can say that I feel like fully integrated in the company and that I really enjoy my job, especially because it is very dynamic and I have daily challenges. Just to give you an idea, since I started I have learned three new programming languages!


Invited Talk: Heriberto Saldivar (Reimagine Drone)

Heriberto Saldivar, Technical Head of Program at Reimagine Drone, will give the talk entitled “DaaS: Drones as a Service”, next Wednesday, 22nd of November, at 12:00 in room 027B of the EETAC.


Heriberto Saldivar received his BSc. degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in 2009, the MSc. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from the National Cheng Kung University in 2013 and the PhD. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2017. He is currently Head of program at Reimagine Drone Accelerator.

Reimagine Drone is an incubator that works on revealing the potential of startups working in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles space. A partnership between Incubio and Brinc, the accelerator supports early stage founders who are leveraging the use of commercial drones to unveil a new generation of services and applications using technologies such virtual reality, augmented reality, 360 user experiences, data analytics, computer vision, surveying and mapping, deployment systems, and more.

This conference is organized in the framework of invited talks of the Master’s degree in Applications and Technologies for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones).

Invited Talk: Xavi Silva (HEMAV)

Xavi Silva Co-CEO and Co-founder of HEMAV, will give a talk next Monday, November 6 in room 027B of the EETAC.

Xavi Silva is an Aerospace Engineer specialized in business development, who pursued his Engineering degree at the EETAC. He co-founded HEMAV in 2011 and since then, Hemav has become one of the Spanish leading companies in agricultural services and industrial inspection with offices in Barcelona and Madrid and delegations in more than 15 provinces.

The talk is entitled “New Challenges in Drone Business” in which he will present and discuss some of the business opportunities in the emerging field of applications for drones. This conference is organized in the framework of invited talks of the Master’s degree in Applications and Technologies for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones).