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 works on the application of infrared thermography for non destructive inspection of composite materials of various kinds

This technique can locate both surface and sub-surface defects and inspect large areas of the pieces in very short times

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Our Center has been working in recent years on the application of infrared thermography for nondestructive inspection of composite materials of various kinds (for aerospace and other sectors such as energy). It is a contactless testing technique that is more and more used in different sectors due to the increased use of composite materials in manufacturing processes, and for which conventional inspection techniques are insufficient for quality control and fault detection components.

This technology allows you to locate both surface and sub-surface defects and inspect large areas in a very short time of inspection. Infrared thermography is characterized by its speed, versatility and ease of use and it offers interesting results to detect defects in composites materials. In CATEC, there have already been developed applictions in carbon fiber material and glass, in line inspection of glued materials or anomalies detection of the sandwich structures, among others. It has also been successfully tested in the inspection of large thickness and detection of discontinuities in metal components and connectors.

CATEC performs these tests with a system of active pulsed infrared thermography, of transit and modulated (lock-in), which is available to companies that want to develop tests. For further information, please contact our laboratory at

February 26th 2014
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