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


The "AL-ROBOTICS" team, led by CATEC, successfully completes its participation in the MBZIRC competition, the largest one in robotics and drones worldwide

The group of researchers achieved the 5th best result in one of the tests of the competition and the 7th in another, placing it among the best technology centers and universities in the world in this field

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The team of researchers and engineers AL-ROBOTICS, made up of professionals from CATEC, the University of Seville, and the company GMV, has successfully completed its participation in the MBZIRC competition (The Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge), the largest international competition of aerial and ground robotics and unmanned systems that were held last March in Abu Dhabi.

This team has been one of the few selected worldwide and the only Spanish one participating in this competition organized by the University of Khalifa, and has brought together the most important universities and research centers of robotics around the world, coming from USA, Europe and Asia.

The Andalusian team achieved the 5th best result in the test consisting of landing an unmanned aerial system in an autonomous moving car and without pilot intervention, a challenge only overcome by five of the 25 participating teams, and with a higher score from the sixth and the rest. It also achieved the 7th best result in another test consisting of using several aerial robots that, cooperating among themselves autonomously, were able to locate, collect and deposit several fixed and mobile objects in specific sites. In the final test, the team finished in a meritorious 12th position, among the best centers in the world.

The results reached has positioned the team led by FADA-CATEC and the University of Seville to the international vanguard in the field of robotics, especially aerial, with the use of unmanned systems for the development of multiple tasks in applications for different specific sectors, in competition with the best research centers and universities of robotics in the world. The competition has brought together a total of 25 teams, most of them from major universities, technology institutes and robotics centers around the world, following an initial selection process in which they registered 143 applications forms from 35 countries.

April 18th 2017
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