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


Rosy prospects

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We launch a new edition of INFOCATEC, our electronic newsletter, after the end of the financial year 2012 that has strengthened the solid foundations of R&D development in the aerospace industry. CATEC is playing an outstanding part as a boost and as a transfer of technology and knowledge to the aeronautical sector. It can be said that this new year presents rosy prospects for making progress. Some of our initiatives, which must go on helping to place the Spanish aerospace sector in the starting position of the international industry, reflect these prospects.

Firstly, the ATLAS Experimental Flight Centre must be stressed. It is a project led by CATEC that has already obtained a deciding permit (The Environmental Impact Declaration) necessary to start its construction work and that will be fully operative in 2013. This platform, designed for testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and systems (UAS), is an outstanding project for CATEC, and for the international and national aeronautics community. This results from the fact that these are the first scientific-technological facilities in Spain and Europe dedicated exclusively to UAS testing, checking and validation of new monitoring processes, and air traffic control.

Besides ATLAS centre, there are other initiatives and projects included in this number, such as Eurathlon and In Light. They both are investigations at European level in which CATEC is participating, and they will involve innovative technological applications, such as the use of robots and UAS in different open-air rescue measures or the development of smart windows for aircraft that will lower energy consumption.

This work in aerospace R&D is helping Andalusia to become the reference scene for events and conferences in the aerospace industry. This is particularly the case for the first “UAVs and Flight Control Systems Symposium”, which will be organized by the European Association of Aerospace Students (Euroavia) in Seville during the first week of March and which is sponsored by CATEC. We are convinced that these kinds of forum for discussion and exchange of knowledge are the breeding ground that complement R&D work in the aerospace industry and that will help the companies to improve their competitiveness in 2013.

Juan Pedro Vela
Chief Executive Officer

January 30th 2013
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The future of drones - 09/09/2019

Growing abroad - 04/25/2019

Good forecasts - 02/01/2019

In good health - 07/10/2018

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