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

Technology

CATEC puts at the companies’ disposal Infrared Thermography service for the defect detection in aerospace components


Companies not only can do their testing at CATEC facilities, but also they can do viability studies for its manufacturing control in the process line


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Since the use of composite materials in the aeronautical and aerospace industry is becoming more and more frequent, conventional inspection methods are insufficient for quality control and defect detection in aerospace components. Due to its quick, versatile and easy use, Infrared Thermography is one of the most interesting techniques for defect detection in aeronautical components or other productive sectors. It is a non destructive testing technique with no contact that allows locate superficial and sub-superficial defects and that can be applied to a large range of materials (metallic and composite). It also allows inspect big size areas in short times of inspection together with the advantage of portability for the accessories and required equipments.   
 
In Andalusia, at the Aerospace Technological Park of Andalusia (Aerópolis), CATEC have a non contact inspection system by pulsed, transit and lock-in infrared thermography which is showing a high performance and that the centre put at the companies’ disposal for their testing.

 
CATEC puts at the companies’ disposal Infrared Thermography service for the defect detection in aerospace components


June 22nd 2011
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