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

Technology

RPAS SUITE: technology transfer for manufacturers and operators with aircrafts and unmanned systems


CATEC set a package of technologies related to the field of UAVs in order to transfer them and make them available to the firms of this sector


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RPAS SUITE: technology transfer for manufacturers and operators with aircrafts and unmanned systems
CATEC, trough its area of Avionics and Unmanned Systems, is working to develop new technologies related to control systems and applications with UAV's (as well named RPAS). Thus, our Center has set up and prepared a package of various technologies, called RPAS SUITE, which can be adapted for every manufacturer or operating company of unmanned systems, providing specific solutions to the needs of each client.

This package consists of an autopilot, a software of the control station and a payload manager. All these elements have a high flexibility that allows to adapt the system in a very short time to multiple applications and systems. The autopilot has redundancy in hardware, high performance navigation sensors and a great computing capacity. The ground control station (GCS) has an API and a plugin system available that allow to create new functions easily.

Finally, the payload manager has a large storage capacity and multiple input / output devices that allow to connect it to almost any sensor boarded. Indeed, this system has been validated in multiple R&D projects in recent years and it has been used successfully for inspection applications and precision farming using UAVs.

For more information please contact the CATEC Avionics area.


September 30th 2013
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