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


FieldCopter develops a system to gather information in real time to be applied in precision agriculture

CATEC participates in this project aimed at combining high precision navigation of EGNOS with unmanned aerial vehicles in order to improve resources in the agriculture sector

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FieldCopter develops a system to gather information in real time to be applied in precision agriculture
The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is a technology whose applications are growing up in different sectors, especially in civil and industry applications. One of them is precision agriculture, the framework of FieldCopter project. This project is carrying out an application using the European navigation system EGNOS, aimed at developing a complete solution for UAV remote sensing.

The initiative pretends to combine high precision navigation of EGNOS with UAV’s technologies lead to the creation of new applications in precision agriculture, providing farmers real time information, such as water stress monitoring, detection of nutrient deficiencies and crop diseases.

FieldCopter is a 7th Framework Programme collaborative project belonging GALILEO initiative, funded by the European Commission, which will enable farmers to create economical and ecological benefits through optimal use of resources.

CATEC will participate in FieldCopter project through state-of-the-art multi-spectral cameras on UAVs to monitor and gather information in order to create an autonomous flying camera that follows a predefined pattern.

The initiative will also be useful to demonstrate how powerful the European high precision navigation system EGNOS is and what advantages its complete operational service have in the area of precision agriculture. FieldCopter has a duration of 24 months and six partners from Holland, Belgium and Spain are involved in it. The Project website will be working about the middle of April.

April 3rd 2012
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