Latest News

Tech-savvy hobbyists make UAV history

The UAV Challenge – Outback Research competition hosted by QUT and CSIRO saw four teams make history, when they used their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to find a 'lost' hiker and deliver him emergency rations.

The competition for tech-savvy UAV hobbyists attracted 22 teams from around the world and was staged at Kingaroy airport. Aviation hobbyists Canberra UAV took home the title and $50,000 first prize.

The overall winner was decided on points, awarded on the basis of how closely the team dropped their rations to Outback Joe and how well they answered pre-mission questions from judges.

Competition co-founder and head judge Professor Jonathan Roberts from QUT's Science and Engineering Faculty said completing the mission was a world first since they were not aware of anyone else successfully using cost-effective UAVs for sophisticated search and rescue purposes.

Teams from previous competitions also shared their knowledge with the competitors of this year’s event. According to Professor Roberts, the fact that hobbyists have proved they can build robotic aircraft capable of performing search-and-rescue missions gives hope that very cheap aircraft systems can soon be used by the emergency services and volunteers.

Melbourne brothers Daniel and Ben Dyer, who make up team SFWA, were the first to locate Outback Joe since the competition launched in 2007.

Professor Roberts said organisers would now take a break from the annual search and rescue mission, explaining that they will take some time to consider what the next challenge should be, taking into account the needs of the UAV industry.

The 2014 UAV Challenge was sponsored by Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, CASA, Mathworks, Stanwell and DSTO. It was also supported by the Queensland Government, UAS Pacific, Raytheon Australia and The Australian Association for Unmanned Systems.

Send this to a friend