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


New Milestone in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles thanks to the first night flight of an Andalusian UAV

Theses are the first tests to validate this kind of UAVs flights which will be applied after in activities carried out inside the European PLANET Project at Parque de Doñana

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New Milestone in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles thanks to the first night flight of an Andalusian UAV
New milestone in the Andalusian aeronautics thanks to the development of new unmanned aerial vehicles technologies after successfully finish the first fully automatic night flight of an Andalusian UAV.    This initiative, carried out last June, is part of the flight validation process and preliminary tests inside the PLANET project, belonging to the EC VII Framework Project in which CATEC participates
Particularly, they are the first tests to validate this kind of UAV’s flights in the right conditions to be applied after in the Singular Scientific and Technological Infrastructure at the Parque Nacional de Doñana, destined to monitoring and collecting fauna and flora data for the environment conservation, protection and surveillance.    
This flight was promoted by Elimco which is producing the Viwer (UAV used in this test) and CATEC, owner entity of the model. Some representatives from the Regional Ministry of Environment and the Andalusian Water Agency, who witnessed first-hand the great performance and the good flight of the aircraft, attended the test.
The PLANET project involve the development of new systems to use efficiently UAVs integrated with wireless ground sensors for the monitoring and help to take decisions about the environment conservation. The project has a budget around 7 millions euro, from what 4,9 millions are funded by the European Commission. Besides its application in environment conservation, this project has a second scenario of application on airports automation. In this sense, more experiments are expected to be carried out at the ATLAS Experimental Flight Centre in Jaén, promoted by FADA-CATEC.

July 29th 2011
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