QUT has joined forces with a Brisbane research centre at the cutting edge of drone technology.

Based at Brisbane airport, the researchers are working on an unmanned aircraft that’ll have the ability to operate legally in commercial air space.

Aaron Cronin reports.


Drones have become a routine tool across many industries.

Here, a drone with a camera is being prepared to capture aerial pictures.

But drone technology is about to become much more sophisticated.

This is the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation at Brisbane Airport.

It’s a world leading QUT research facility, and the only university run centre with an operating certificate for drone use in Queensland.

Researchers are working to integrate the unmanned aircraft with Australia’s mainstream aviation sector, meaning the drones will have the capacity to operate in what until now has been restricted air space.

Dean Gilligan, ARCAA Operations Manager: “Vision avoidance, detective avoidance systems, ADSP transponders, communication systems to allow full integration into Australian airspace.”

Drone technology has advanced significantly over the past decade, providing a number of industries with unparalleled opportunities. But a number of factors continue to inhibit its use.

Dean Gilligan, ARCAA Operations Manager: “The major factor is the resistance in the community to accept that they can operate safely, in an appropriate and predictable environment.”

Researchers say although barriers exist, the future commercial use of drone technology remains promising.

It’s forecast to expand into a range of sectors including agriculture, biosecurity and even emergency services.

Aaron Cronin, QUT News.