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


FADA-CATEC will participate in the biggest international robotics and drones competition to be held in Abu Dha

FADA CATEC makes the AL ROBOTICS team with the University of Seville and the GMV company, the only Spanish group that has received funding from the organization to participate in the challenges of this prestigious competition

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A team of researchers and engineers from FADA-CATEC, the University of Seville, and the Company GMV has been selected to participate next March 2017 in one of the biggest international robotics competitions, the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), organized by the University of Khalifa to be held in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).

The MBZIRC competition is one of the most prestigious competitions in this area, which is celebrated for the first time, and aims to expose the latest advances, scientific developments andtechnologies in the world of robotics. All of participating researchers and scientists from countries all over the world will have to overcome various challenges posed by the organization by using autonomous aerial or ground robots.

The team made up of FADA-CATEC, the University of Seville, and GMV is called “AL ROBOTICS,” and is the only Spanish team that received funding from the organization to participate in the competition. The team also received support from an Andalusian company, Dronetools, which is participating as a sponsor of the event.

The competition will feature 46 teams from leading universities and robotics research centers around the world, mainly from the USA, Europe and Asia. FADA-CATEC will provide its experience in diverse R&D European projects, in which it has already achieved important milestones like the development of systems of robotic manipulation with articulated arms integrated in aerial robots for use in various tasks, or the landing of autonomous helicopters in a mobile platform carried by a moving ground vehicle.

The MBZIRC initiative includes three challenges: the first one requires an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to locate, track and land on top of a moving ground vehicle; the second challenge requires an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to locate and reach a second ground vehicle, and locate and physically operate a valve on a side of the vehicle; and the last challenge requires a team of three UAVs to collaborate to search, locate, track, pick and place a set of static and moving objects.

December 30th 2016
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