Smart-technology robots are taking to the air.

QUT researchers are combining sensor technology with helicopter design to create pint-sized surveillance robots.

Candice Anderson reports.


You wouldn’t think it, but this tiny robot is smart and tough.

It can fly up to 400 feet and with high-tech sensors can see the world around it.

Its developers believe one day it’ll save lives doing risky jobs too dangerous for humans.

Professor Peter Corke, Faculty of Built Enviroment and Engineering: “So you think you want to look at the top of a power pole or a light pole, it’s hard to get up there, you’d need to get a cherry picker. You want to look at the outside of a window on the fifth floor, you’ve got to send someone down on a rope. So the idea of this robot is it can just fly up there and take a picture.”

Equipped with multiple cameras the robot sees, registers and transmits back a live video stream which is then displayed on a portable laptop.

It’s also equipped with sensor technology capable of sensing walls and calibrating wind speed, all so it can readjust its flight path virtually piloting itself.

Professor Peter Corke, Faculty of Built Enviroment and Engineering: “We want to create a system that anybody can fly, my mother should be able to fly this just by telling it to go up or down, left or right.”

The QUT robotics team has great hopes for the device, investing countless hours and thousands of dollars towards the project.

But it will be some time before you can go and buy one in the shops.

There are still some technical challenges to work through.

Researchers are using cost effective technology so the flying surveillance robots would be affordable.

But they’re not stopping there, upgrades are already in the works.

In the next year the robots might get arms.

Candice Anderson, QUT News.