The Center for Advanced Aerospace Technologies (CATEC), located in Seville has won the prestigious 2017 Innovation Radar Prize, an initiative promoted by the European Commission through the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG CONNECT), with the aim of promoting innovations from all over Europe that present a high potential for its later application in the market.
CATEC has achieved this recognition thanks to the development of a new pioneering worldwide technology that allows the use of aerial robots and small unmanned aircraft, popularly known as drones, that will be used to perform industrial inspections (such as ultrasonic) that require contact.
This technology, called AEROX, was selected by a jury of experts at the ICT Proposers' Day in Budapest on past 9 November 2017, a networking event that focuses on European ICT Research & Innovation. 48 of the best EU-funded innovators were identified to compete with their EU-funded innovation for the Innovation Radar Prize 2017, and CATEC was named overall Innovation Radar winner.
With this award, CATEC is consolidated as a European technological leader in the development of technologies and applications with drones to be used in different industrial sectors. Specifically, the new drone created by CATEC is able of performing inspections that require contact, for example, with ultrasonic sensors, which represents a great step further for the use of this type of aerial robots in different tasks, that not only allows to "see" from air, but also to "touch and feel".
Since 2011 CATEC has been a world leader in aerial robotics manipulation having developed the first drone in the world with advanced aerial manipulation capabilities. But now it has focused on developing a new technology that is able to maintain contact in a safe and reliable way. The drone designed performs very precise movements and includes a completely new contact device that allows decouple and dampen external perturbations that may suffer during the work done in the air. An aspect that is critical in order to keep stability while the drone is performing contact operations. The initiative is part of the AEROARMS project, led by the University of Seville and funded by the European Commission programme Horizon 2020 for Research and Development.
Using the drones will speed up the process of many tasks and creates safer work environments, as the users don't have to work at great height anymore. Market expectations of EUR 300 million/year just in Europe motivated CATEC to patent its technology.