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 collaborates in a project that improves the communication system in firefighting

IGNIS developed a communication network and an innovative location system that integrates the signals recorded by a UAV communication system in order to have real-time information while fighting fire

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IGNIS project. Photo: Hispasat.
IGNIS project. Photo: Hispasat.
Our centre took part in the R&D project IGNIS, an initiative with the aim of improving the communication systems utilised during the operations of firefighting, by combining satellite signals and information collected by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The goal of the project was to create a new communication network so that all the people involved in firefighting had at their disposal and real-time, more reliable and more precise information and data about the fire situation.

The initiative, led by the Spanish telecommunications satellite operator Hispasat, ended in a positive way. During a final demonstration, by using communications emitted by a satellite, the system transmitted location information and videos obtained from the aircraft to command positions in real time. In this way, from hereafter and more precisely, it will be possible to know the progress and the evolution of the fire to avoid the rescue runs useless risks.

CATEC put its experience and know-how in the project; above all, its knowledge in the development of communications systems based on the DDS standard middleware. On the other hand, CATEC developed an innovative location system that enable to know the GPS position of a transmitter without the need for any additional system.

Besides Hispasat and CATEC, more companies and entities such as Inaer, Albentia, ISDEFE, Tecnalia and Polytechnic University of Madrid took part in this project.

October 23rd 2014
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