Unmanned aircraft (UAV, UAS, RPA, drone) are a rapidly growing sector of the aerospace industry. CSIRO is developing autonomous helicopters and the technologies that support their safe, reliable and cost effective operation through our collaboration with Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA). ARCAA’s earlier Smart Skies project developed a suite of technologies to support the safe and efficient sharing of airspace by UAS and piloted aircraft. These included automated vision-based collision avoidance of aircraft and lidar-based avoidance of ground objects and an airspace tracking and management system. We achieved the world’s first demonstration integrating all these technologies in complex scenarios involving up to 50 real and simulated aircraft at once.
They have civilian applications including:
- Infrastructure inspection
- traffic control and pursuit monitoring
- search and rescue
- crop monitoring
- bushfire prevention
- communication relays