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


CATEC and Tecnatom are collaborating on a project within the European Program Clean Sky about the automation of NDT for composite materials

The DIAAMOND project aims to develop new approaches to inspection and automated systems to detect and record damage online at composites

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CATEC and Tecnatom are collaborating on a project within the European Program Clean Sky about the automation of NDT for composite materials
The non-destructive testing (NDT) have been used in the manufacture and evaluation of structures of advanced composites for decades and have evolved significantly in recent years. In spite of this, it has not been done a lot to implement automated NDT techniques to the thousands of structural tests required for certification of aerostructures in composite materials.

On the basis of the long history in the development of assays of this type, the Spanish company Tecnatom and CATEC are addressing this objective through a new project funded by the Program Clean Sky (Clean Sky Joint Undertaking), the largest program of aerospace research in Europe aimed at achieving a more sustainable and efficient aviation.

The project DIAAMOND looks for the "development of new approaches to inspection and automated systems to monitor damage during mechanical testing on structures built in composites.

The objectives include the early detection of damage, to control its evolution and the collection of data through a large number of inspections, but with a reduced cost and with the real-time transmission of the data through the acquisition of a system controlled by computer. The project is part of a demonstration of the technology managed by Airbus Defence & Space and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

December 31st 2014
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