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Indra Demos Two UAVs in Flight at Cadiz Event

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Indra Makes In Cadiz A Flight Demonstration of Its Unmanned Aircraft Pelicano and Mantis

(Source: Indra; issued Dec. 2, 2011)

Although not the first rotary-winged UAV to embark on a military vessel, and the company claims, Indra’s Pelicano is the company’s entry into the fast-growing market for unmanned helicopters to operate from small surface ships. (Indra photo)

In the framework of the European Robotics Week Indra has made a flight demo of two of its unmanned aircrafts: the Pelican helicopter and the Mantis plane, at Villamartin aerodrome (Cadiz).

The company demonstrated the capacities of Pelican, a system conceived for maritime surveillance, which will be ready to enter service by early 2012. The flight was autonomous from beginning to end; the pilot did not intervene in take-off, flight and landing. The system behaved according to a pre-established plan including manoeuvres at different speeds.

Pelican is the first rotary-wing UAV prepared to embark on a military vessel. The system is in the last development phase and during the test period Indra managed to configure it in such a way that the engine can use heavy fuel oil – non flammable - as it is an elementary requirement to go onboard a military vessel.

Besides this, Indra has carried out different tests with the electro optical system and has obtained high-definition imaging from great height and counter measured vibrations. The system with a top 50-kg payload can also carry other type of sensors such as electronic intelligence, CBRN or radars. The information received is transmitted in real time to the helicopter’s control station.

The Pelican system, with 6-hour autonomy, is built on the APID60 platform of Swedish company Cybaero. It can engage in different sorts of missions for instance: protection of bases and critical infrastructures, intelligence gathering, convoy protection, border surveillance, emergency management (forest fires, floods, technology disasters, etc.) and search and rescue on the coastal zone. It is also designed to patrol in the open sea, a very effective aspect in the struggle against piracy.

Seeing beyond

Regarding Mantis, Indra exhibited the capacities of the smallest model (2,10 meter wing) of the family of UAVs developed by the company. The system, ready to enter service, can be easy transported and operated by one or two people. A system of this type facilitates observation of movement in an operation range of around 30 kilometres.

The vehicle made an autonomous flight in accordance with a pre-established flight plan and explored the area with a gyro-stabilized electro-optical camera which submitted images in real time. From the ground control station, the operators followed the flight and received the images. The system is under customisation to incorporate a laser-accuracy landing system.

Indra in the European Robotics Week

The European Robotics Week will take place from the 28 of November to the 4 of December. The event is fostered by EUnited in Europe and it aims to popularise robotics and promote associated activities in the continent at all levels.

Among the events celebrated all over Spain Indra participated in the first workshop dedicated to investigation, development and education on Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) organised by FADA-CATEC/ University of Seville. At the event more than 50 articles elaborated by researches of nine countries were presented and several flight demos were made.

Unmanned vehicles are part of the new development lines of robotics. Robots are widely used in the industry to perform tasks in controlled environments, such as in assembly lines but the real technology challenge lies in the development of robots with the capacity to operate in areas such as cities, homes or open spaces. This new development line, including the unmanned systems, presents a great commercial potential in the upcoming years.

The main advantage of unmanned systems is the capacity to conduct repetitive and risky tasks for humans in an effective way at a reduced cost. Indra was one of the pioneering companies in the development of these systems and has led along with Cassidian the startup of the first tactical UAV system which the Spanish Army has used in a real scenario in Afghanistan.

Indra is the premier Information Technology company in Spain and a leading IT multinational in Europe and Latin America. It is ranked as the second European company in its sector according to investment in R&D with over EUR 500 M during the last three years. In 2010 revenues reached EUR 2,557 M and the international market already accounts for a 44%. The company employs more than 35,000 professionals and has clients in more than 110 countries.