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


Investigations about the project PROSES are finished

The project, in which CATEC has participated along with other enterprises and research centres, has enabled to prove the use of mobile agents between aeronautical aerial and ground nodes

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Investigations about the project PROSES are finished
The project R&D PROSES (Network PROtocols for the SES, Single European Sky), has been aimed at developing new aeronautical communications systems to operate in intermittent lines like the dubbed DTN (Delay and Disruption tolerant Networks) which can be included in the new necessary communications systems to reach the required level of distribution of the information as the European initiative SESAR (SES ATM Research) is proposing.

This investigation is based on the use of mobile software players which can jump from a node to another node transporting information from the origin to the destination. The transmitted message could be sent from one aircraft to another one and then arrive in ground. From this place, it could be distributed through conventional communication infrastructures. This system could be used, for instance, in transoceanic routes, where there is no ground coverage; so far the only available system is via satellite, which is quite expensive. At the same time, this system could be used to transport no critical messages and without real-time requirements (for instance, emails of passengers, news delivery, etc.).

Flight test and analysis of results were performed to finish the activities of research of the project PROSE last December. The project has enabled to prove the viability of the use of mobile agents to transport information between aeronautical aerial and ground nodes.

CATEC has participated in this initiative along with other enterprises and aerospace research centres and ICT companies, precisely the partners involved in the project are Deimos Space (coordinator), Advanced Wireless Dynamics, and the Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona (UAB). The project has been developed during three years and had a total budget of €951.613, 374.420 of which has been backed by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce (National Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation Plan 2008-2011) and the Regional Development Funds (ERDF).

February 7th 2012
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