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


In Light: smarter advantages for reducing energy consumption in aircraft

CATEC participates in this new initiative of the EU’s 7th Framework Programme, which intends to develop windows able to modify their level of transparency at the request of the passengers

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CATEC participates in a new European initiative, the In Light project, which will develop smart windows for the aircraft industry. These windows are able to get dark or go lighter at the request of the passengers. It is a new system that will permit to reduce the energy consumption of the aircraft, since it helps to avoid a rise in the temperature of the cabin by reducing the air conditioning consumption.

This development will allow the passenger, through an independent switch, to improve the comfort in the cabin, and to avoid situations of excessive brightness or glare without impeding the view of the outside landscape. The system not only filters a part of the visible radiation, but also the near-infrared portion. Thus, it contributes to avoid a rise in the cabin’s temperature.

The In Light project consists of a consortium led by the IK4-Cidetec Technological Centre (located in the Basque Country). In addition to CATEC, other major companies of the sector participate: companies such as EADS, and GKN, or European investigative entities such as the German research centre Fraunhofer, the Finish centre VTT, or the Italian one CVR. CATEC will take part in different work packages of the project through its Materials and Processes Area for validating the concepts developed and the detection of their operating and fault limits. At the same time, CATEC will work on the development of an inspection methodology for Non Destructive Testing (NDT). CATEC’s work team is made of Dr Fernando Lasagni (person in charge of the validation phase), the engineers Sergio González and Borja Rodríguez, and a team specialised in NDT.

The initiative, which will be developed for three years, belongs to the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, and it has a total budget of EUR 4 million.

In Light: smarter advantages for reducing energy consumption in aircraft

“The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 314233.”

In Light: smarter advantages for reducing energy consumption in aircraft

In Light: smarter advantages for reducing energy consumption in aircraft

January 30th 2013
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