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 RACER Demonstrator project, the new helicopter for the future that Airbus Helicopters promotes, is presented


CATEC participates in this initiative inside the OUTCOME consortium, next to other companies like Aernnova, FIDAMC, TECNALIA, and CTA


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The RACER Demonstrator project, the new helicopter for the future that Airbus Helicopters promotes, is presented
Photo: Members of the OUTCOME Consortium (core partner) and leaders of Airbus Helicopters, among others, for developing the tail unit of the RACER Demonstrator (Clean Sky 2).

At the end of January, Airbus Helicopters displayed, in their Albacete facilities, the characteristics and state of the project of the RACER Demonstrator, the new high-speed helicopter that has been boosted by the aeronautic company as part of the European research program, Clean Sky 2, by the OUTCOME Consortium.

CATEC participates in this initiative inside the OUTCOME consortium, next to other companies like Aernnova, FIDAMC, TECNALIA, and CTA, specifically on developing the tail unit of the RACER, introducing innovative manufacturing technology.

Particularly, our Center is developing metallic fittings for additive manufacturing technology (3D-printing) that will be validated and put on the flight during the flight demonstration campaign. This will constitute a milestone higher than CATEC has already obtained with this novel manufacturing technology. The head of the Division of Materials and Processes, Fernando Lasangi, was in charge of representing the CATEC team in said event.

This project gambles on the development of a demonstrator of high-speed rotary wing nicknamed the RACER (Rapid and Cost Effective Rotorcraft) with the capacity to reach a 400 km/h cruise speed. The helicopter will be manufactured partly in Germany, Spain and France and it expects its first flight to be made in 2020.


March 1st 2018
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