The RMIT Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Team (RUASRT) is dedicated to enabling the safe and routine operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in a variety of civil, commercial and defence applications.
UAS, also commonly referred to as drones, are the fastest growing sector of the aviation industry. Australia is well positioned to capitalise on this emerging technology, which have many highly beneficial applications in defence, emergency services, mining, agriculture, media, law enforcement, infrastructure inspection and environmental management.
The RUASRT comprises a multi-disciplinary team of world leading researchers from the Schools of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Maths and Geospatial Sciences, and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT University. The team includes senior academics, research fellows, PhD students, and undergraduate engineering students. More about our research team here. Want to join the research team? PhD scholarships are available for high quality students. For more information on active research projects and scholarships, visit our research page.
The RUASRT conducts research into the critical technical, operational, social and safety challenges facing the emerging UAS aviation sector. Our research is proven through the strength of our research collaborations. Collaborative research partners include Boeing Research & Technology-Australia (BR&T-A), Thales Australia, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Northrop Grumman Australia, and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). More about our research here.
Flight Test Aircraft
The RUASRT uses a number of UAS platforms to support its teaching and research objectives. The current focus is on small or micro UAS, which can be safely operated and quickly manufactured. Many of the research platforms are designed and built at RMIT, specific to the needs of the particular research program or application. Current research platforms include fixed wing, flapping and multi-rotor platforms. The largest platform under construction at RUASRT is the Javelin (pictured), which has a maximum take-off mass of ~15kg. Current sensor payloads include electro-optical, thermal IR, and LIDAR.
World Leading Facilities
RUASRT researchers have access to world leading facilities and equipment, including simulation, prototyping, manufacture and test facilities. These facilities allow researchers to quickly go from a computer-aided design, to wind tunnel tested rapid prototype,
through to full-composite flight-tested systems.
Access to the newly opened Advanced Manufacturing Precinct enables researchers to rapidly turn concept into reality through 3D printing of airframes and components, 3D scanning, laser additive manufacturing, composite fabrication workshops, and access to many other world-class automated manufacturing equipment.
Other specialist development and test facilities include:
- Computer aided design labs
- Immersive flight simulation system
- An indoor micro air vehicle flight test area
- Human factors / systems integration test equipment (eye and head tracking, and EEG)
- Multiple instrumented wind tunnels with a working cross section of up to 2m x 3m
- Composites manufacturing and testing
- An alternative fuels and propulsion lab
The RUASRT is actively engaged in forwarding the UAS industry, being active members on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Standards Consultative Committee, Working Group for UAS Regulations. RUASRT is also an active supporter of the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems (AAUS).
RUASRT also undertakes projects of value to the community. Currently, the RUASRT is actively supporting the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), providing expert independent engineering advice and technical support. The RUASRT have undertaken numerous technology studies to enhance MFB capability in its UAS deployments. More information on our work with the MFB can be found here.