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


Defect detection by phased array, an advanced method of ultrasonic test

Compared to conventional systems, phased array is more reliable to feature structural failures thanks to its focus and bi-dimensional representations

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Defect detection by phased array, an advanced method of ultrasonic test
Among CATEC’s wide range of services there is an advanced method of ultrasonic testing that has applications in industrial non-destructive testing, notably in composites.

A conventional single-element ultrasonic inspection system needs only one piezoelectric transducer. Single-element (non phased array) probes—known technically as monolithic probes—emit a beam in a fixed direction. To test or interrogate a large volume of material, a conventional probe must generally be physically turned or moved to sweep the beam through the area of interest. In contrast the beam from a phased array probe can be moved electronically, without moving the probe, and can be swept through a wide volume of material at high speed. The beam is controllable because a phased array probe is made up of multiple small elements, each of which can be pulsed individually at a computer-calculated timing. The term phased refers to the timing, and the term array refers to the multiple elements.

Signal amplitude or depth data is collected within gated region of interest just as in conventional C-scans. In the case of phases arrays, data is plotted with each focal law progression, using the programmed beam aperture. Encoded phased array units have the capability of using an encoder for collecting and storing scan data and probe position data.

For further information, contact the responsible of the area of Materials and Processes, Fernando Lasagni.

February 7th 2012
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