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 pioneer center in tests with UAV's

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FADA-CATEC has been running for several weeks the construction of the new ATLAS Experimental Flight Center, a center that will host the first installations of our country completely dedicated to research and development of new technologies and unmanned aircraft systems (UAV's) of light type. This initiative will involve, undoubtedly a great boost for the Andalusian and Spanish aerospace industry in the field of UAV's, one of the areas that present the greatest future prospects in the international market thanks to the new applications that have been incorporated into the field of civil and commercial aviation.

In fact, we are convinced that our industry will place itself on the international forefront in the development of new applications with this type of aircraft, and it will boost the industrial activity that has been recorded in our country through various companies and manufacturers that develop UAV's products. Not in vain, we are in front of the first scientific-technological infrastructures in Europe specifically designed to perform, permanently and safely, testing, simulation and validation of technologies applicable to UAV's and to the new techniques for traffic management (ATM).

This condition, together with other important factors such as its excellent facilities, a segregated airspace and weather conditions suitable for R & D with systems and unmanned aircraft, makes it a pioneer center in trials and tests with this type of aircraft. All this will encourage the collaboration with the main international companies of this sector and position ourselves as a global referring agent.

But Atlas is also a special project emblematic of FADA-CATEC. It is one of the pillars on which the foundation of CATEC has been articulated, and in which the whole team that form this technological center is doing a great effort to make it a reality. There have been several years of hard work and today we are much closer to an end that we will enjoy at the end of this same year 2013, when the works will be completed and the new facilities will be put in place. Achieved that challenge, we have the other, to continue working to make its activity and functioning result in new progress and achievements in unmanned aircraft technology and in R&D aerospace for all Spanish and Andalusian industry.

Juan Pedro Vela
General Director

June 10th 2013
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