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 with INVAP Argentina in the development of 3D printing components for its satellite missions

This is the first project of our technology centre in Latin America and a solid bet on the internationalization of its developments in this type of technology outside the European scope

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CATEC and the Argentine company INVAP have initiated a collaboration for the manufacture of components for space applications using the metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology. This collaboration has focused on consulting for the development of highly optimized components, designed by Argentine engineers, where CATEC has contributed its knowledge in 3D printing technology in the sector to ensure its manufacturing process and its quality, too. In this way, INVAP continues with its policy of innovation and development, where it has managed to be a benchmark in the Latin American continent in the design and construction of complex technological systems, with a history of forty years in the Argentine market and thirty years on the international one.

The CATEC’s Chief Technical Officer, Fernando Lasagni, said that "this step allows us to initiate the internationalization of our developments in additive manufacturing outside the European scope. We do it for a company that has been transformed, in its 40 years of history, into a technological reference in Argentina and Latin America, and which is now developing its first flight components". The CATEC’s team in charge of these developments is completed by Antonio Periñan (Head of Additive Manufacturing unit) and the engineers Javier Santaolaya, Alvaro Herrera and Daniel Hervas.

In words of the INVAP’s aerospace area manager, Gabriel Cristian Absi, "the company is constantly seeking to incorporate innovative and disruptive technology in its space products, in order to obtain satellites of greater performance and competitiveness from every point of view. That is why we have decided to add additive manufacturing technology to our satellites to reduce their weight, which translates into a lower launch cost".

With seven satellites designed, built and placed in orbit, INVAP has become a reference in the international scenario of satellite technology and today is the only Latin American company with the capacity to generate complete satellite projects, from the mission concept to the implementation in orbit of the satellite and its operation, except launching.

April 25th 2019
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