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 participates in the CLEAR project, destined to facilitate long terms missions and cooperative flights with UAVs


To carry out this initiative the centre will develop a new ultra light unmanned system thanks to the application of new technologies like rapid manufacturing


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CATEC is currently participating in a new project related to the area of unmanned aircrafts and systems; the initiative CLEAR, which is aimed to research, develop and implant a system which enables the cooperation among UAVs to carry out missions in long flights thanks to the integration of recharge power and refuelling automatic sub-systems.

Strategies to solve this problem will pass, firstly, by using the capacities of the UAVs cooperative system to make meet the functionality systems with refuelling or recharging; and secondly to apply new technologies to obtain an efficient power recharge and air refuelling.

CATEC will be in charge of leading this strategy through the design and development of an ultra light unmanned system thanks its cutting edge technologies like rapid manufacturing with long term flights thanks to the possibility of air recharging based on laser.

This project, developed in collaboration with the University of Seville is funded by the Ministry of Innovation and Science, under the Non-guided Fundamental Research Supprogramme belonging to the National Programme for Fundamental Research Project under the VI National R&D&I Plan 2008-2011.



October 31st 2011
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