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

Editorial

New impetus to R&D



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When FADA-CATEC began its journey in the year 2008, one of the objectives and assumptions established by our Center for the development of its activities was to promote research, technological development and innovation in the auxiliary aerospace companies of Andalusia and Spain, and today we can say that, along with other agents and entities, we are achieving it, doing our own bit. We see this mirrored in the last report of the Andalusian aerospace sector developed by the Hélice Cluster, which has shown as in one year, despite the economic and financial crisis, the Andalusian aerospace industry keeps growing and making efforts to increase its investments in R&D.

Especially, in the case of the auxiliary companies in the region, which increased by 90% their investment in R&D in 2012, reaching also the 7.7% on average of their total sales. Developments associated with the Airbus A350 XWB program or the participation in new aerospace programs, which require a significant investment effort in this area, have been some of the reasons for this new growth in the Andalusian industry.

But we must also add the role of CATEC, that in the last year continued to contribute to the R & D sector, with its intense research, and especially with its support and technical assistance to the Andalusian aeronautical companies. In regards to this, we must underline the participation to such calls as the program Innterconecta, in which CATEC participates along with other technology centers, universities and companies of the community (tractor and SMEs), and that has recently approved a new round of projects for its development in the period 2013-2104.

This impulse to R&D, should be an incentive to continue working on achieving greater added value and improve the technological component of the activities, products and services of the auxiliary aeronautical enterprises. Only this way we will remain competitive on the global market and we will be well positioned for the new future opportunities of the aerospace industry.

Juan Pedro Vela
General Director


July 31st 2013
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