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.
The first flight of Atmos 1 is performed. It will suppose the beginning of our most prolific drone series, with 8 versions released.
To operate the first drones a Ground Control Station is developed. Although still rudimentary, it will suppose the seed for the upcoming GCS versions that will allow CATUAV to operate their drones worldwide.
Furos, the first fuel powered drone developed by CATUAV makes its maiden flight. It will be soon replaced by Argos with 14h endurance.
Thanks to the advances on Computational Power and Computer Vision, CATUAV manages to generate their first orthophotomaps. This will open the door to multiple Earth Observation applications that were only achievable with traditional aerial means.
CATUAV develops its first near-infrared camera, being able to capture multispectral data and perform remote sensing techniques with drones.
CATUAV acquires their first thermal camera, which will be used to complement the near-infrared data for remote sensing applications and perform surveillance and firefighting applications.
With UAVs getting more popular, being now known as Drones, a restrictive UAV legislation is in the Horizon. This is why CATUAV starts the BCN Drone Center project with the aim to create a UAV Test Site with everything needed to safely test all type of civil UAVs.
After 2 years of project definition and construction, BCN Drone Center becomes a reality. With segregated airspace (TSA-31), airfield and a bioclimatic building becomes the perfect place to test and develop UAV technology. CATUAV sets its headquarters in it the same year the new UAV legislation enters into force.
In 2020 we celbrated the 20th anniversary of the Company. Despite being interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, we used the sector's slowdown as an opportunity to complete our pivot into the R&D and Engineering services company that we are today. With renewed energy, we embraced the dawn of the UAS sector that emerged after the pandemic.