Queensland government backs drone research

Earmarks $1 million for drone research project

A remotely piloted aircraft monitoring QGC project wells near Wandoan in western Queensland. Image credit: QGC.

A remotely piloted aircraft monitoring QGC project wells near Wandoan in western Queensland. Image credit: QGC.

The Queensland government has earmarked $1 million of its $10 million Advance Queensland Platform Technology Program for a Boeing-led drone research project.

The state government announced the funding today. The funding will support a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) research project that will include Boeing subsidiary Insitu Pacific, Shell’s QGC natural gas project, and Telstra. The government said a number of Queensland SMEs are also expected to ultimately benefit from the project.

The funding will be used for RPAS development and testing.

“The project aims to capitalise on the capabilities inherent in drones to carry out remote-monitoring and inspection of key infrastructure and data analysis to allow for better decision-making,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.

“Drone technology has the capability of introducing greater efficiencies in a range of Queensland industries and we want to make sure our state develops an industry that delivered jobs as part of this process.”

The project will include work to boost the airspace situational awareness of drones, for example allowing them to automatically respond to obstacles. It will be run over a 12-month period in Queensland’s Surat Basin.

Telstra said it would be providing 3G and 4G dongles to enable data connections between drones, sensors located on Telstra mobile towers, and a ground station, employing the telco’s mobile network.

The state government earmarked an additional $225 million for its Advance Queensland innovation and employment program in the 2016-17 budget.

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