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 ATLAS Center hosts a conference of flights with UAS for its use in fire-fighting operations and transportation of medicines

The conference, which was attended by the former Regional Minister of Employment, Enterprise and Trade, José Sánchez Maldonado, is framed within the REAL European project, which seeks to facilitate the integration of the drones in the airspace

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The ATLAS Experimental Flight Center, located in the town of Villacarrillo (Jaén), is recently hosted a conference of tests with unmanned aircraft (UAS/RPAS/drones) in which, through various flight pioneers, has been tested such as facilitating the use of UAS operations of fire-fighting and the transportation of medicines.

These flights have been framed within the REAL European project, an initiative in which FADA-CATEC participates and seeks to facilitate the integration of drones in airspace and in low-altitude actions that present great exploitation potential. The objective of this project is to promote the use of the new EGNOS satellite communications system and new technologies in order to contribute to the integration of drones into airspace and their use in operations such as fire-fighting or the transportation of urgent medicines.

The meeting was attended by the former Regional Minister of Employment, Enterprise and Trade of the Junta de Andalucía, José Sánchez Maldonado; and other authorities like the Chancellor of the University of Jaen, Juan Gómez Ortega; the deputy of Employment of the Provincial Council de Jaén, Manuel Hueso; and the Mayor of Villacarrillo, Francisco Miralles; accompanied by the director of FADA, Joaquín Rodríguez Grau, and the director of the ATLAS Center, Anastasio Sánchez.

Also, various managers of companies and entities interested in understanding the technologies related to the sector of the unmanned aircraft and their applications in different areas and operations, and more specifically in the included in the European project, attended the event.

The REAL project (RPAS EGNOS Assisted Landings) consists of a consortium composed of CATEC, Pildo Consulting (Spain), Sharper Shape (Finland) and EuroUSC (Italy). It is funded by the European GNSS Agency (GSA) within the H2020 program.

Currently, the project is validating the technologies developed through their application in different scenarios. In the specific case of fire extinctions, a wide variety of aircrafts (both helicopters and airplanes) are used, and in the critical operations phase, the use of an aircraft is required to coordinate and maintain the safety of air operations in the areas of influence, managing traffic properly. The objective of the operations carried out at ATLAS has been to validate the navigation and surveillance requirements necessary to include a drone in these tasks.

June 26th 2017
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