The future of drones

The aviation and technology sectors have undergone a revolution with new applications and technologies related to unmanned aerial systems, commonly called drones (UAS / UAV / RPAS). Not only because of the new possibilities of business and commercial activity that have opened in the civil market, both for large companies and for, especially, SMEs traditionally linked to the aeronautical sector, but also for new uses and applications that are already developing for this type of aircraft.

Agriculture, security or industry are just examples of some of the productive sectors of our economy where drone use is already being experienced and applied, but they are not the only ones and there will be many more. In CATEC we have been working since the beginning in research and development to promote the transfer of this technology to companies, as well as with civil and regulatory authorities in a new framework that helps to define and regulate flights and uses with this type of aircraft.

In this issue we talk specifically about two new milestones related to drones in which we have participated successfully and that make us look optimistically at the future of this sector. On the one hand, we have welcomed into our ATLAS Center in Villacarrillo, Jaen the first U-Space demonstration with drones in Spain, held under the DOMUS project, which has been a preliminary test before DOMUS final demonstrations to be held in September to testing a complete integration of drones into the airspace, participating with other aircraft. On the other hand, in recent months we have hosted different tests of the EGNSS4RPAS project for the standardization of unmanned aircraft at European level, which has sought to demonstrate the usefulness of the European positioning systems Galileo and EGNOS for drone operations. These tests have included a recent one carried out in the urban environment of the same town of Villacarrillo, given the proximity to our ATLAS center, and which have been another important milestone as it was the first in all of Europe that has followed the methodology included in the new European regulations of drones, recently approved .

In conclusion, we are in a sector of continuous technological advances that make the future of drones very promising, and that it must be integrated into the new national and Andalusian strategies for the aerospace sector development, although linked also to other sectors-, and articulated as a key element to continue promoting the growth of the productive fabric and the increase of the competitiveness of the industry and the economy in Spain and Andalusia.

Joaquín Rodríguez Grau
Director of CATEC


A delegation of the European Commission visits Seville to evaluate the progress of the AEROARMS project

The Commission valued very positively the progress made in this phase of the initiative, in which the reliability of drones was validated when offering data for the creation of maps using sensors and their ability to avoid obstacles

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A delegation of experts from the European Commission visited Seville last September to evaluate the progress of the AEROARMS project, an initiative led by the University of Seville and FADA-CATEC that studies the application of the use of drones for the maintenance of industrial facilities.

This time it was the second evaluation of the project, which was approved by the commission, which assessed very positively the advances experienced so far. During the visit of the experts, the high reliability of the project drones was verified when offering reliable data on the creation of maps using sensors and the precision when measuring pipe thicknesses. In addition, the ability to interact without problems with other robots and the skill to avoid obstacles was demonstrated.

The development of this project has allowed the design of an unmanned system (drone) that allows precise movements and includes a new contact device, which makes it possible to uncouple and dampen external disturbances that may suffer during the work that is being done in the air . This technology will help the inspection operations in industrial plants and infrastructures to see and collect data from the air, determine the wall thickness of a pipe or the existence of cracks difficult to appreciate visually. All this, minimizing human time and risks when working at height.

AEROARMS is one of the largest European drone projects and has a budget of 5.7 million euros. It involves ten partners from five countries: Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. The project belongs to the European research program Horizon 2020 and will end in May 2019.

October 30th 2018
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