The Andalusian Foundation for Aerospace Development (FADA) has started to develop, through the ATLAS Flight Test Center, a new R&D project directed towards improving vigilance and security of agricultural operations, using unmanned aircrafts (UAS/RPAS). This initiative will be developed thanks to a collaborative agreement with the Provincial Council of Jaen, which will make it possible to develop a pioneer system that can detect, at night, intrusions in agricultural farms using unmanned aircraft that are remotely controlled.
Through this agreement, the Provincial Council of Jaen will contribute 90,000 euros in order to allow these unmanned aircraft, through a night-sensor and infrared system, to watch over the agricultural farms and avoid robberies or intrusions.
The project, called MOCHUELO, will be carried out first on olive farms located 30 kilometers from the ATLAS Center, in Villacarrillo (Jaen), even though it will later be used extensively in any agricultural operation. The initiative has begun its development at the beginning of 2016, and is foreseen to be finished by midyear.
The convention was signed by the president of the Provincial Council of Jaen, Francisco Reyes; and the general director of FADA, Joaquín Rodríguez Grau, who both highlighted the utility of this project in the scope of all agricultural operations, not only in the case of the olive industry, a strategic sector in Andalusia.
“This is a project that can be very useful in many territories, especially in a province like Jaen with more than 66 million olive trees, in which every year there is a multitude of losses from thefts from the farms”, said Francisco Reyes. Likewise, he announced that the Council would finance the 400 meter extensión of the ATLAS Center runway, with the intention of facilitating the harboring of more projects on behalf of aerial businesses and companies that require the use of bigger aircraft.
The objective is to “demonstrate that it is possible for an aerial fixed-wing platform to patrol agroforest terrain at night and that it can detect human presence when they should be none”, explained Joaquín Rodríguez Grau. The general director of FADA explained that the detection of intrusions in these areas are based on the application of thermograpy technology , that through the use of cameras offers a large contrast between human presence and animal presence at night, analyzing the quantity of heat that they emit.
Rodríguez Grau remarked that the ATLAS Center provides unique technology for unmanned aircraft flight beyond visual line of sight– that is to say, that they fly more than 500 meters from their operator, something that only can be done in emergency situations or in segregated airspace. It has “the only segregated airspace for certified civil use by the Spanish Aviation Security Agency (AESA), which gives it a great competitive advantage and has converted it into the Orly company in Spain with the ability to develop this project”.