Sneak Peak of the RMIT FireFly

Here’s your first sneak peak at the RUASRT FireFly; the Teams’ concept for the UAE Drones for Good Competition.

RUASRT FireFlyFor the last two years the RUASRT has been working with the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade, who have been trialling the use of small multi-rotor UAS.

The RUASRT have been assisting the MFB with specialist engineering and the exploration of advanced capabilities. Current projects include the integration of a hazardous materials gas sensor onto the existing MFB platform, the exploration of heat resistant structural materials, and the development of an autonomous collision avoidance system. The RUASRT are also exploring the development of a communications payload that will provide MFB personnel with greater situational awareness at large incidents. The RUASRT are drawing on all of this experience to develop the first generation of custom designed urban search and rescue and firefighting UAS. Called the RUASRT FireFly (pictured).

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RUASRT A big hit at RMIT Open Day

10-Aug-14 The RMIT Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Team (RUASRT) were a crowd favourite at the annual RMIT Open Day. Situated upstairs in the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct building, the Team had on display a number of research systems including the Javelin, R2 and Kestrel. Final year project students were on hand to share their experiences with prospective engineering students. A great day.

A big thank you to the team, Chung, Tiffany, Luke, Andrew, Justin, and Sean.

Open_Day_3_reduced Pano_Reduced RUASRT Open Day Team

RUASRT Develops Technology for Smoother Flight

Hate flying in turbulent weather? Well RUASRT researchers have developed a new technology that may make spilt drinks and airsick bags a thing of past!

Today, RUASRT announces the successful completion of prototype testing of a turbulence mitigation system for aircraft. This is a significant milestone in Mr Abdulghani Mohamed’s PhD research, who led the research on the system.

“The system is inspired by a bird’s ability to gracefully fly in severe turbulence”, said Mr Mohamed. It replicates the function of bird feathers, detecting and correcting for disturbances in the air before they cause the aircraft itself to be disturbed.

Flight testing of a prototype system on a micro air vehicle showed significant improvements in stability.

“Had our micro sized aircraft had passengers on it; our system would’ve made sure they enjoyed a smooth flight”, Mr Mohamed said.

Dr Reece Clothier, Research Lead for the RMIT UAS Research Team, said there was still work to do before we will see the technology make it onto commercial jets.

“We need to explore new sensors and sensor arrangements in order to apply this technology to larger sized aircraft, but the results to date have shown much promise for our approach.”

Mr Abdulghani Mohamed has studied turbulence and its influence on aircraft under the supervision of RUASRT researchers, Prof Simon Watkins and Dr Reece Clothier. Abdulghani has introduced the concept of phase-advanced attitude sensing where his contributions where published in one of the most prestigious Aerospace journals (Progress in Aerospace Sciences). His theoretical contributions aided the invention of a system which significantly enhances attitude stability of aircraft. Flight test results of the invention will soon be published in academic journals. For more information:

RUASRT Supporting the UAS Industry

23-July-14 RMIT researchers have been supporting a Parliamentary “Inquiry into drones and the regulation of air safety and privacy”, House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. The final report can be downloaded here:

Flight Global recently published an article on the Inquiry (see links below). The article also mentioned the role of RMIT’s UAS Research Team in studying the airworthiness challenges for HALE UAS (in conjunction with Northrop Grumman Australia).

Researchers from the RMIT UAS Research Team are also at the forefront of the development of regulations development for civil UAS in Australia. Dr Reece Clothier, is the Industry Co-Chair of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Standards Consultative Committee, UAS Standards Sub-Committee. He is also on the board of directors for the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems. More information:

Flying Encounter with Wedge-Tailed Eagle

26-May-14 Whilst doing some slope soaring last week, RUASRT postgraduate and undergraduate students encountered a Wedge-Tailed Eagle. The Eagle made short work of the Alula aircraft, which is manufactured out of light weight foam. Check out the great video below.

The flights were being conducted as part of RMIT research into bio-inspired autonomous aircraft capable of saving energy by “surfing” wind currents. More information on this project here. Credit for the footage goes to Mr Abdulghani Mohamed, Ms Kiros Lim and Mr Chung Leung.

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RUASRT in Australian Aviation Magazine

26-May-14 RUASRT lead researcher Dr Reece Clothier has been interviewed by Jordan Chong for an article by Australian Aviation on CASA’s proposed regulations for civil unmanned aircraft systems (read more about the proposed regulations here). Dr Clothier, who is the Industry Co-Chair for the CASA Standards Consultative Committee, UAS Sub-Committee, expressed general support for the proposed regulations. Whilst there is still a long way to go in the development of regulations for UAS in Australia, the proposed reform is considered favourably.

  • Read the full story here
  • Learn more about proposed reform of CASR1998 Part 101 regulations here

RUASRT and Flight Data Systems to Develop Safety System for UAS

22-May-14  RUASRT to develop prototype UAS Safety Assurance System. Working in collaboration with Flight Data Systems and its research division UAV Australia, the RUASRT is undertaking the engineering analysis, research, preliminary design and testing of a prototype avionics product that has the potential to enhance the safety of unmanned aircraft operations. The final system performs a number of safety functions independent of existing avionics. The end product will be designed to a pre-defined assurance level (software and hardware standards).

The project is jointly funded by Flight Data Systems, RMIT and a Victoria State Government Business Research and Development – Innovation Voucher Grant.

More Information:

RUASRT Welcomes New Research Fellow Dr Sridhar Ravi

21-May-14 RUASRT is pleased to announce the arrival of Dr Sridhar Ravi who joins us from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB), Harvard University. Dr Ravi’s expertise is in biological flight.

Through evolution, biological systems have mastered flight under challenging conditions. It is hoped that through studying insects and birds, Dr Ravi’s research can lead to significant advancements in the dynamics and control of aircraft, and in particular, micro aerial vehicles.

Dr Ravi was awarded a prestigious RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Fellowship in 2014.

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CASA Releases New Regulations for UAS

15 May 14 – The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for the regulation of civil unmanned aircraft in Australia. The NPRM is open for comment until the 16-June-14. The NPRM is available on the CASA website:

The NPRM details proposed changes to the definition of unmanned aircraft systems (in line with ICAO definitions). It also describes new requirements in relation to small UAS (with a takeoff mass of less than 2kg), and information on remote pilot licensing.

Regulations relevant to civil UAS operations in Australia are contained in Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR 1998) Part 101. More information on the regulations applicable to UAS (or remotely piloted aircraft) can be found on the CASA website:

Update – RUASRT has made public comment on some aspects of the NPRM:

RUASRT Supports Study into Maritime HALE Capability

13-May-14  RUASRT researchers, working in partnership with Northrop Grumman Australia, are exploring some of the key challenges in the airworthiness certification of High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The MQ-4C Triton system is being used as a case-study for the research. The Triton has a wingspan of ~40m and an endurance in excess of 24 hours.

More information and related links:

Related media coverage:

  • RMIT UAS Research Team Facebook