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

Projects

The IN LIGHT project develops new smart windows to improve comfort on aircraft and reduce energy consumption


CATEC works in this pioneering initiative with other major international companies in the sector and some European technology and research centers


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The IN LIGHT project develops new smart windows to improve comfort on aircraft and reduce energy consumption
CATEC is working on a pioneering R&D project that aims to develop smart windows able to modify its degree of transparency at request of passengers. This new system avoids an increase in cabin temperature, decreasing energy consumption of the aircraft and increasing passenger’s comfort. This project, called IN LIGHT, is based on the development of windows that can darken or lighten depending on the needs of the passenger. The objective is to avoid situations of excessive brightness or glare without impeding the view of the outside landscape, and to improve comfort inside the plane. The ultimate goal is the development of a new generation of smart windows for aircraft that can be manufactured by European aerospace companies.

CATEC participates in different work packages of the project through the area of Materials and Processes, in charge of the concepts developed and the detection of their operating and fault limits. The test plan designed by CATEC includes environmental, optical, mechanical, electrical and radiation tests, and also a methodology for non-destructive testing inspection (NDT) and highly accelerated life testing (HALT/ HASS). These recent tests include high speeds of heating and cooling, humidity and vibration, for which CATEC has specific test chambers.

IN LIGHT is formed by a consortium led by the IK4-Cidetec Technological Centre, and the major international aerospace companies such as Airbus (Germany), GKN Aerospace, and others European technological and research centers. The initiative has a budget of 4 million Euros, funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission.


March 23rd 2015
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