Unmanned Aircraft (UA) can fly for extended periods of time and in conditions considered too dangerous for piloted aircraft, making them better suited to the continuous mapping of floodwaters and fire-fronts, and assessing damage to infrastructure and locating disaster survivors.
Project ResQu, co-funded through the Queensland Government, Boeing Research and Technology Australia, Insitu Pacific, CSIRO and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), is undertaking studies and developing automated safety technologies necessary to enable the timely approval of UA for disaster recovery. They will also provide routine surveys for biosecurity and resource management.
Total funding of $6 million has been provided for the two-year project which consists of four parallel research streams:
- Sensing and Platform Automation for Miconia Application (Miconia is a declared pest under Queensland legislation)—this biosecurity application will develop a UA system for performing Miconia weed surveys
- Risk and Regulation Research—the critical barrier to UA operations is the regulatory framework and the need for appropriate regulations to provide assurances in the safety of UA operations. Regulations include the ability to conduct UA operations over populated airspace or in airspace with other airspace users
- Sense and Act Systems—further development of smart skies technology to detect and avoid other airspace users
- Automated Emergency Landing Systems - particularly relevant to UA operating in populated areas where a UA must be capable of performing a safe landing using an autonomous vision-based terrain mapping and site characterisation as well as flight path planning and guidance, navigation and control.
Read more about the project.