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

Projects

CATEC has completed a project in order to implement the Highly Accelerated Life Tests in aerospace components


The use of these techniques, investigated in the EVA2 project, allows the correlation between the fatigue of the composites, the accelerated tests, and the possibility of studying the worsening of these materials in different environments


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CATEC has completed a project in order to implement the Highly Accelerated Life Tests in aerospace components
The Highly Accelerated Life Test (HALT) and Highly Accelerated Stress Screening (HASS) are new methodologies for detecting and correcting errors and weaknesses in the design and manufacturing phases. This type of testing requires the development and validation of a technique that allows subjecting structural components to such tests.

Applying the methodology of HALT/HASS tests to aero-structural components of carbon fibre composite has allowed to evaluate the behaviour of such materials against thermal, mechanical and environmental (conditions on the composition of the testing atmosphere) stresses, separately in the first phase and in combination in the second phase.

The need to assess the loss of properties of the tested components entails the design of a test campaign, both non-destructive and destructive, that permits to know the evolution and behaviour of the specimens during the accelerated life tests.

The accelerated aging of the composite through this methodology involves loss of property, life reduction and fatigue reduction of the composite. At the same time, the detection of faults during the manufacturing process and the processing of this material through the HALT/HASS methodology has meant the fulfilment of the EVA2 project’s main objective. This initiative has been funded through the Ministry of Economy, Innovation, Science and Employment of the Regional Government of Andalusia, with the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


March 12th 2013
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