The only Australian team to enter the International Micro Air Vehicles (IMAV) competition and conference in 2017 (or, in fact, ever) is from the RMIT Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Team (RUASRT). The team, drawn from enthusiastic undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as academics, have worked tirelessly over the last few months on their entry for both the indoor and outdoor events. Both events require craft with high levels of autonomy in order to complete the challenges and successfully navigate the obstacles. RUASRT has developed several UAS capable of successfully completing the challenge: This includes a fixed-wing pylon racer, a flying-wing aerial mapper, quadcopters with a full sensor suite, and a micro-X8 heavylift.
Some of these challenges for the indoor competition include navigating without GPS through a turbulent (windy) environment and small spaces, and identifying the correct location to drop a life-saving payload – all without any input from the team during the flight. For this, the team has created a small quadcopter with propeller protection and a sensor stack capable of Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM).
The outdoor section is search and rescue style, with the team required to map an area and identify points of interest, as well as an endurance challenge. For this, they have created fixed wing platforms – one to complete laps of the required area for the endurance challenge and another to take photos of the mapping area and send them wirelessly to the team computers for automatic photo-stitching and feature identification.
The team is very excited for this competition, and we were recently featured on the RMIT website -check it out here: https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2017/aug/australian-hopes-riding-on-rmit-drones
The winner of the inaugural RUASRT Undergraduate Student Achievement Prize for 2017 has been announced – David Tennent. This prize is awarded to an undergraduate student member of RUASRT who has demonstrated a high level of commitment to the team, motivation to improve our research capability and demonstrated outstanding leadership ability. This award comes with a cash prize of $2000.
David has worked tirelessly in his efforts as undergraduate team leader this year, mentoring less-experienced students through their design, build and fly projects. Of particular note are his contributions to this year’s Open Day, preparations for the International Micro Air Vehicle (IMAV) competition, and general lab administration and organisation (which is vitally important to any organisation’s efficiency). He has proven himself as an exemplary team player and we thank him for his hard work.
Good on you, Dave!
We had a great time at Open Day talking to all the prospective RMIT students. Thanks to all who visited for asking interesting questions. Thanks also go to the volunteers who helped set up, pack up, and gave their time on a Sunday to either (or both) of our stands. We look forward to doing it all again next year!
Our largest UAS, Javelin, carrying our smallest, MARV3.0
RMIT Open Day is fast approaching and we’re all really excited to answer your questions and show off our projects. If you’re attending, make sure you visit us in Building 55 – Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP), where we’ll have most of our lab out for you to see.
- See, in person, the X8 octocopter which had its first test flight only days ago and talk to the students who built it.
- Speak with undergraduate students from all year levels, as well as some of our doctoral candidates.
- See “Eddie the Eagle”, our bio-inspired, eagle-shaped soaring platform for bird scaring.
- Our largest fixed-wing platform (with a 3.0m wingspan), Javelin, will be on display.
- Our smallest UAS (weighing only 100g), MARV will also be there for you to see.
Don’t miss it. We’ll see you there!
RMIT Open Day Planner: http://openday.rmit.edu.au/
RUASRT on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RUASRT/
This Sunday, 13th August, is RMIT Open Day and we will be there showing off our stuff from 10am.
A wide range of our projects will be on display at the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP – Building 55) for you to look at. RUASRT members will be happy to answer any and all of your drone related questions (they can probably be persuaded to talk about non-drone, engineering-related things too).
If you want to see some of the projects we’ve been working on this year, or are keen to know how you could get involved as an RMIT student, make sure you stop and say hi; we’d love to chat with you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook for updates!
RUASRT will be at the RMIT Open Day this Sunday 13th August.
We will have a small stand in A’Beckett Square with the Engineering Info Corner, but the majority of our display will be the at the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP) – Building 55. We’ll have lots of examples of the tech we work on, and there’ll be students from the team there to answer any and all your drone- and engineering-related questions. If you’re coming to check out RMIT, make sure you stop by and say hi.
If you need to plan your visit, the RMIT website can get you started: http://openday.rmit.edu.au/
RUASRT X8 multi-rotor
The X8-configuration, “heavylift” multi-rotor had a completely successful maiden test flight on Friday 4th August in the RUASRT netted area at RMIT University.
The test flight is the culmination of several months work for the “heavylift” team. A small group of undergraduate students from RUASRT selected the components, and completed the assembly. The finished UAS, which is capable of carrying payloads of up to 3kg, is intended to carry various payloads for collision avoidance and indoor navigation.
X8 with landing gear retracted during test flight in RUASRT netted area
This is a multi-use platform, able to accept a range of payloads and sensors. If you are interested in discussing how this platform could assist your research efforts, please get in touch through the “Contact Us” section.
The RMIT UAS Research Team has had a big presence at the The 2017 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition, participating in three displays.
Highlights included participation in the first ever Drone Showcase, in which spectators were treated to demonstration flights of the Black Kite quadcopter inside a special netted area. RUASRT also had a big presence at the RMIT Student Display Area with the StopRotor and Javelin aircraft on display.
RMIT’s collaboration with Australian company StopRotor has reached new heights, with a paper detailing aerodynamic testing of the StopRotor aircraft winning an award for Best Written Paper in Aircraft Design at the 17th Australian International Aerospace Congress (AIAC17).
The lead author on the paper was RMIT UAS Research Team lecturer Matthew Marino, who is also chief investigator on the StopRotor project at RMIT. Co-authors included undergraduate student Janek Ambani, StopRotor founder Rowan Watkins, and RMIT professor Roberto Sabatini.
The StopRotor is a hybrid vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) configuration UAS invented in Australia. It is unique in that it uses a large rotor blade (like a helicopter) to provide lift in VTOL mode, which also locks into place and provides lift when in fixed-wing mode.
Further details on the StopRotor concept can be found here.
RMIT UAS Research Team PhD candidate Nicola Kloet has been presented with the Rod Walker Award for Advancement of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The award was presented at the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems (AAUS) Conference during the Avalon Airshow. It is valued at more than $5,000, which will go toward Nicola’s continuing PhD studies on multi-rotor UAS noise.