UQ invention to revolutionise unmanned vehicle surveillance
Surf lifesavers, police, fire fighters and rescue workers across Australia and around the world could benefit from new unmanned surveillance technology developed in Brisbane, after the signing of an agreement recently.
Brisbane-based air, ground and marine robotics company V-TOL Aerospace will manufacture a prototype unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed by researchers at the University of Queensland.
The UAV, designed by Dr Paul Pounds from UQ’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, could replace piloted helicopters in search and rescue or surveillance operations for a fraction of the cost, with reduced maintenance and risk to people.
Dr Pounds said his unique design for a new type of quadrotor UAV—a helicopter lifted and propelled by four independent propellers—was more agile, responsive and energy efficient than existing quadrotor designs.
“It combines the aerodynamic efficiency of a helicopter with the simplicity and robustness of a quadrotor,” he said. “I’m excited to be able to work with V-TOL Aerospace to take this technology out of the lab and into the field, where I believe it will prove to be the ideal platform for police and emergency responders.”
V-TOL Aerospace Managing Director Mr Mark Xavier said the company was ready to take the UAV to the global market.
“V-TOL will develop not only the product, but the regulator-approved training and support services required to make this product Civil Aviation Safety Authority compliant,” he said. “This will make it very attractive for export.”
Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker has welcomed the agreement.
“It once again demonstrates Queensland’s growing reputation as a major hub for UAV research and development in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Walker said.
“I think what we’ve got right with UAV technology development in Queensland is the strong relationship we have between industry and research and the V-TOL and UQ agreement is a great example of that.”
University of Queensland commercialisation company UniQuest signed an agreement licensing intellectual property for the design to V-TOL.
UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the agreement reflected the value of UQ’s and UniQuest’s industry engagement strategy.
“This agreement is an excellent example of research and industry coming together to deliver tangible benefit for the community,” Dr Moss said.
Mr Xavier said V-Tol Aerospace recognised the broader value of the agreement.
“This relationship is a significant opportunity to demonstrate how local industry can work closely with Queensland’s premier academic and research institution to develop an innovative hi-tech product in an emerging global industry,” he said.
About the UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
The School of ITEE offers a multifaceted suite of teaching programs, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level, in Information Technology, Engineering Hardware, Software and Information Management, Human-Computer Interaction and Multimedia Design.
At the School of ITEE, they understand the requirements of the ICT industry and are continually advancing their programs, with strong industry consultation, to ensure UQ graduates are given the foundation for lifelong learning to respond to this exciting and constantly changing field. UQ Information Technology and Electrical Engineering students are also supported in their studies with an extensive range of state-of-the-art facilities including dedicated specialist laboratories, studios and the latest in software and production equipment.
The school boasts a strong, internationally recognised research base and through its association with a number of research centres, is a research leader in a number of fields including