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, scenario of tests for the standardization of drones with European GNSS systems

Our Center has hosted in recent months the first demonstrations of this initiative, which has also included an experimental flight in the urban environment of Villacarrillo

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The town of Villacarrillo, Jaen, hosted at the end of June the final tests of the EGNSS4RPAS project for the standardization of unmanned aircraft at European level. The consortium in charge of these tests is formed by GMV, VVA, and FADA-CATEC, and has been contracted by the European Commission to demonstrate the usefulness and applicability of Galileo and EGNOS services for drone operations.

The common objective of the tests has been to evaluate the benefits that European navigation systems (Galileo and EGNOS) may have in the emerging drones sector, full of possibilities, with respect to air traffic management or typical applications in urban environments such as goods delivery, emergency healthcare products, building inspections and critical infrastructure, etc.

This third test represents a new milestone in aviation, as it is the first in Europe that has followed the methodology set out in the new European drone regulations, recently approved, in particular a Specific Operation Risk Assessment, called SORA, before the approval of permits. The test consisted of an experimental flight in an urban environment.

The first two trials have been carried out during the last months in our ATLAS Center; while this last test was carried out in Villacarrillo due to the proximity of the ATLAS facilities and its segregated airspace, and the willingness of the municipal corporation.

August 26th 2019
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