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 puts at the aerospace companies’ disposal its vehicle X-Vision to develop new application in the area of unmanned aircrafts

CATEC has two units of this type which has a payload of 8 kilograms and autonomy of 3 hours, and that has great possibilities to integrate new equipments and innovative onboard systems

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CATEC puts at the aerospace companies’ disposal its vehicle X-Vision to develop new application in the area of unmanned aircrafts
CATEC has a fleet of unmanned aircrafts (UAVs) used as an experimental platform for the technologies being carried out within the different research areas of the Centre. This fleet is composed by aircrafts and helicopters covering a wide range of features; from 2 kilograms payload electric aircrafts to more than 20 kilograms payload combustion aircrafts.

The type X-Vision highlights within this fleet, of which CATEC has two units with 8 kilograms payload of 8 kilograms and an endurance of 3 hours. Both types have a 150cc. combustion engine and great space to hold new systems and processing units. This type is completely autonomous, since it has a Piccolo autopilot Piccolo with a ground control station from Cloudcap; it has a maximum range of 40 kilometres (limited by datalink).

These vehicles also technically feature the integration of a mode A/C transponder that also has ADS-B capabilities. The default payload is a gimbal with a visual and an IR cameras. However, more payloads could be integrated in the UAV. This aircraft need a runway of at least 200 meters for taking-off and landing. The vehicles have been received and are ready to be used. The Centre is currently undertaking tests with different onboard components in the aircraft.

For further information about the type X-Vision and the rest of the vehicles taking part in the CATEC’s UAV platform, you can contact the responsible for the Area of Avionics and Unmanned Systems, Antidio Viguria.

May 29th 2012
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