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 SAFEDRONE European project is launched for the integration of drones in the future U-Space and facilitate their flight in cities and rural areas

It will cover one of the largest flight demonstrations in Europe, which will be held at the facilities of our ATLAS Center in Jaen

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CATEC is participating in the new European SAFEDRONE project, which has just started and which will tackle one of the largest flight demonstrations in Europe to date with drones and conventional aircraft sharing the same low-altitude airspace (Very Low Level-VLL).

Funded by the European Union, through H2020 and SESAR JU, this initiative aims to facilitate the emerge of drones in cities and rural areas to provide all kinds of services in the next decade. The project is being promoted by a consortium led by Indra and integrated by our Center, the University of Seville, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Unifly, ENAIRE (Spanish public company of navigation services and air traffic management) and CRIDA (Center for Research, Development and Innovation Reference in ATM).

The objective of SAFEDRONE is to develop a series of innovative services -which will shape the future U- Space- that will facilitate the access of drones to the airspace that extends from the ground to 120 meters of altitude. In this way, the demonstrations carried out in the project will help defining the operational context of these services.

All tests and flights of the initiative will take place in our ATLAS Experimental Flight Center, located in Villacarrillo (Jaen). The flights will involve up to eight different types of aircraft - drones and light aircraft with fixed and rotating wings - flying simultaneously in the same space. Specifically, they will include operations “Beyond visual line of sight” (BVLOS) in rural and semi-urban areas, recreating situations such as the delivery of medical materials, generation of maps and control of the use of the territory.

February 1st 2019
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