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


ATLAS Center: state-of-the-art facilities unique in Europe for the development of experimental flights with aircraft and unmanned aerial systems

The center offers companies, research centers and institutions in the sector the best conditions to develop their testing and validation and certification flights with UAS

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ATLAS Center: state-of-the-art facilities unique in Europe for the development of experimental flights with aircraft and unmanned aerial systems
The Flight Test Center ATLAS has been increasing its activity in recent months by performing different flights with aircraft and unmanned systems (UAS/RPAS) by different companies, research projects and other entities related to aerospace sector. This center offers the international aerospace community the first permanent technological-scientific facility to safely perform tests, simulations and validation of technologies to be applied to UAVs, involving Air Traffic Management (ATM).

ATLAS provides infrastructure for UAS platforms and on board systems testing, as well as the services needed to design customers testing, integrate systems in UAS platforms of the center or third-party platforms, operate UAS during the tests, and collect and interpret data, providing a value information to the customer. For this, it counts with the best facilities available, as its main runway of 600 meters and an auxiliary runway of 400 meters, a building with air traffic control tower with radar to monitor air operations, and two hangars dedicated to parking and maintenance of aircraft.

Its advantages also highlights a segregated airspace over 1,000 km2, and a climate with over 300 days of sunshine per year, making it a unique place in Europe for conducting flight tests with UAS/RPAS. It also provides additional services and technical and human resources, as ability to hire UAS, aeronautical radio, meteorological station, management and coordination of flight operations, document management and flight permissions, etc.

To learn more about the services of ATLAS Center, you can contact via e-mail in
ATLAS Center: state-of-the-art facilities unique in Europe for the development of experimental flights with aircraft and unmanned aerial systems

March 23rd 2015
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