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

Editorial

Committed to R+D+I



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After an intense working year, we have started 2012 with renewed energy to face a number of challenges and projects. Doubtless, one of the most interesting ones is SAFEMOBIL, an European project devoted to develop new technologies to increase the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), where we will have an outstanding participation in. Our centre will play a leading role in researching but also will be in charge of coordinating them, working together with an international team from enterprises, Academia and top level research organisms. Therefore, we start 2012 as we closed 2011, playing a leading role in the field of UAS, where we have been able to encourage and lead the First Workshop RED UAS, which brought together a hundred of experts from the most recognized research centres and entities on this area worldwide.

No doubt, commitment to research, development and innovation is the future way. The way to improve competitiveness within the Andalusian aerospace industry and its positioning in the global market. And this is a vital way to let enterprises, Academia and public organisms meet. It is also vital to let technological supply and demand flow in both directions and from knowing each other. We are already seen so: the main European projects, enterprises, Academia and technology centres collaborate side by side to transform industry’s challenges into advanced technological responses. We must try this trend to become consolidated and be expanded at a local level. We also should try to strengthen the relationships of collaboration between our Andalusian universities and enterprises involved in our thriving aerospace industry.

At CATEC we already count on Research Vice-Chancellors from some Andalusian universities. That happened in the course of a seminar where the great opportunities of feeding back between science and enterprise became evident. This is a key binomial for all the economical sectors which are based on knowledge. It is also substantial for the new productive model required by our economy.

Juan Pedro Vela
General Manager


February 7th 2012
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