UQ invention to revolutionise unmanned vehicle surveillance

The UQ-designed unmanned surveillance helicopter.

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 today.

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’sSchool 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.”

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