Brisbane will become home to the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) after a joint project was today announced between Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the CSIRO.
The facility aid the development of unmanned aircraft systems that will be used in operations such as bush fire fighting and power line inspection.
The facility, located at the Brisbane Airport, will house more than 35 aviation research scientists and support staff, and may, according to QUT lecturer, Dr Luis Mejias, develop a mid-air disaster warning system.
“Mid-air collisions between light planes over Australia have caused the death of eight people in the past five years,” he said in a statement. “ARCAA is developing a Dynamic Sense-and-Act (DSA) system which could provide a cost-effective early warning solution to this problem.”
Mejias said the flight testing technology may reduce cases of pilot error, with the DSA system providing a safer option for those operating light aircraft.
"The DSA system is a safety breakthrough for small planes because until now they have had to primarily rely on the pilot's vigilance to ‘see-and-avoid’ other planes,” he said.
“This can be a difficult task particularly during take-off and landing when there can be a number of planes operating in a close area and when the pilot has a high workload.”
The ARCAA project has attracted some $13 million in funding “for real-world research projects”, according to Mejias.
The CSIRO’s ICT centre director, Dr Ian Oppermann, said the facility will allow for collaboration among the scientific community.
“ARCAA represents a unique collaboration opportunity in Australia for research in aerospace automation,” he said in a statement. “The CSIRO and the ICT Centre are delighted to be working with QUT, Boeing and other partners in this important area.”