Robust, dependable flying robots

  • 5 January 2010 | Updated 16 October 2012

Our UAS research focuses on small helicopters.

Helicopters have advantages including:

  • low weight
  • high manoeuvrability
  • able to hover and travel at low speed
  • capable of taking off and landing almost anywhere.

UASs were formerly known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Current activities

Using a thoroughly proven model helicopter as our base, we are developing UAVs that:

  • require one operator, at most
  • are easy for a non-expert to use
  • can fly out of sight of the operator and in unknown, cluttered environments
  • do not endanger other aircraft in general, non-segregated airspace
  • can fly in turbulent conditions (typical of almost any outdoor application) and in Australian weather conditions
  • are dependable and capable of many flights.

CSIRO is joint venture partner with Queensland University of Technology in the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation.

We have fitted our UAV with a:

  • stereo vision camera and scanning laser to build a three dimensional map of the environment
  • probabilistic planner that plots a path to the target and updates as new obstacles are detected
  • inertial and global positioning systems to accurately determine its position and attitude in the air.

Applications

We are investigating the use of UAVs for applications such as:

  • remote inspection of infrastructure such as powerlines, buildings and bridges
  • environmental data collection
  • crop monitoring
  • low-altitude atmospheric research
  • aerospace automation research.

Partners

CSIRO is joint venture partner with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA).

Beyond encouraging research and providing training opportunities, ARCAA also promotes the development of civilian applications for UAVs, such as search and rescue.

Read more about the technical details of our work in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).