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 schedule for the European project EC-SAFEMOBIL successfully accomplishes its goals during its first year of work

The initiative, backed by the UE 7 Framework Programme, is coordinated by CATEC and will enable to increase the possibilities of using UAS in many applications including disaster, rescue or safety management

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The schedule for the European project EC-SAFEMOBIL successfully accomplishes its goals during its first year of work
The project EC-SAFEMOBIL, within the 7 Framework Programme of the UE has successfully accomplished its first year of work schedule as expected by the consortium of enterprises and entities led by CATEC. In the course of this period, the different participating partners have been working in a variety of substantial aspects to set up this initiative, which is intended to develop new autonomous systems and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technologies to be used in a wide range of applications such as disaster management, research and rescue missions, safety and other risky missions for people.

During this first year, the project has involved the definition of the requirements and the specifications of the system to be developed and the models and tools to be applied including aspects such as safe and security. At the same time, all the consortium’s management tools have been started and a variety of release and communications actions have been planned and started including the project website. For the second year, which has started already in June, prime technique task are going to be boosted entailing the development of a middleware and a technology integrated simulator as well as continuing the release of technology carried out by this initiative.

EC-SAFEMOBIL is devoted to the development of accurate common motion estimation and control methods and technologies in order to reach levels of reliability and safety to facilitate unmanned vehicle deployment in a broad range of applications such as enabling autonomous systems land on mobile platforms in bad weather conditions or the monitoring of a variety of ground vehicles using multiple UAS with capabilities to avoid collisions. This technology will be also applied to the automation of industrial warehousing, surveillance by means of aerial and ground vehicles and transportation systems.

The project is led by Aníbal Ollero, FADA-CATEC’s scientific director and professor at the University of Seville and entails industrial enterprises and outstanding research organizations. Another eight partners from Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Croatia participate in this initiative, involving a budget of €6.2 millions, of which the EC is backing around 4.5 millions.

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July 31st 2012
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