This page provides news on the RMIT UAS Research Team, information on UAS conferences, and industry activities.

Triple R Interviews Dr Matthew Marino

Triple R – 3RRR 102.7FM interviewed Dr Matthew Marino on Sunday 18th March. The riveting discussion about drones and the community covered everything from the research we do in the RUASRT lab (both fundamental and applied), to unusual drone uses, risks and safety of drones in urban environments, as well as technology developments.

If you want to hear about fire-spotting drones, and drones designed to fly into hurricanes, check out the podcast here (Dr Marino’s interview begins at 46:00).

A very big thank-you to Triple R for having Dr Marino on the show!


Dr Matthew Marino Presents at F1 Grand Prix

At the 2018 Formula 1 Grand Prix, Dr Matthew Marino gave a presentation on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and the future of drone technology. A question and answer session followed where he was able to discuss some of the research conducted by the RMIT UAS Research Team and answer many more drone-related questions.

Dr Marino is an Aerospace and Aviation lecturer at RMIT University and a member of RUASRT.

RUASRT will have a stand at the Innovation Precinct for the duration of the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix. Stop by to see our drones and flight demonstrations.

Melbourne F1 Grand Prix 2018

For the third year in a row, the RMIT Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Team (RUASRT) had a stand in RMIT’s Innovation Precinct at the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix. Alongside tech-related groups like the Formula-SAE teams, we showcased our research drones and provided flight demonstrations in our huge netted area.

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Postgraduate and undergraduate students, as well as several academics from the team, were there to talk with racegoers about all things drone. The flying demonstrations were a big hit, and as always, “Eddie the Eagle” was a fan-favourite.

To keep up-to-date with what we’re doing, make sure you like our Facebook page:


IMAV 2018 Website Launched

The official International Micro-Air Vehicles (IMAV) conference and competition 2018 website has launched. You can find it here:  IMAV will take place 17th – 23rd November 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

The website has up-to-date information regarding rules, important dates, and other useful tips and tricks for your visit to Melbourne. Sign up to our mailing list here to make sure you don’t miss out on any information.


AMAV 2017 at RMIT

RMIT students from the Engineering Unmanned Aircraft Systems elective competed at the second Australian Micro Air Vehicles competition on 19th October 2017. This year’s event was held at the Greensborough Model Aircraft Club (GMAC).

Students worked very hard on their design, build, and fly projects during the 12-week course. Where they were tasked with using the components provided to create a unique quadcopter capable of navigating the obstacle course, reading the QR codes posted throughout the “city” and safely delivering a medical payload to our “injured” crash-test dummy. Eight teams competed, with several electing to pilot the craft themselves. Many were able to read several of the QR codes, fly successfully (despite high winds), and drop the payload.

Several prizes were awarded to the students for their efforts, with the overall winners announced as Team 6 (with a score of almost 400 points!). Several students were given piloting awards for their skills and everyone should be proud of their achievement.

We are very grateful to GMAC for their support in hosting this event.





RMIT Research Excellence Award

The RMIT Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Team (RUASRT) has been listed as a successful nominee for the RMIT Research Excellence – Team Award. This is a part of the 2017 Vice Chancellor’s and RMIT Research Awards and Prizes event which celebrates the hard work and accomplishments of students, academics, and groups throughout RMIT. We’re extremely proud to have our efforts recognised at this level, and it only adds to our motivation. Well done, team!

RUASRT’s IMAV Outdoor Entry

Matt and Ashim preparing the flying-wing mapper

The International Micro Air Vehicles (IMAV) Competition and Conference has both an indoor and outdoor event. RUASRT took it upon themselves to enter both. For a general overview of how the 9th annual IMAV went, see this page. The outdoor event took place the day after the conference, at an airfield just outside Toulouse. It had several challenges associated with it, the main one being a search-and-rescue style event. Points were awarded for automatic take-off, precision (automatic) landings, mapping the required area, classifying and identifying points of interest on that map, completing as many laps of a designated area as possible within the time-frame, and a cooperative carrying challenge.

Ashim hand-launching the pylon racer


RUASRT had two fixed-wing craft to attempt as many challenge elements as possible. This included a pylon racer for the endurance-challenge around two pylons, capable of speeds up to 150 km/h, and a blended-wing for aerial mapping. The competition focuses on high levels of autonomy so more points were awarded when elements were completed with little-to-no manual input from the team.

Matt, Ashim and Ethan planning their test flight

Our pylon racer was capable of completing many laps around the designated points autonomously (and did so perfectly on the practice day), but on the competition day struggled to turn within the restrictive geo-fence.

Ashim and Ethan on the practise day

Our mapping vehicle successfully flew over the entire area required for mapping, during which time photographs are automatically triggered at a desired interval. Once the MAV landed and the photographs were automatically transferred for photo-stitching and target identification, it was discovered that only a portion of the images expected were present. As a result our image stitching software was unable to find enough matches to create the required map. This also meant we did not get a chance to demonstrate our MATLAB script which automatically searched for brightly coloured objects and classified them by size and shape.

Automatically generated map of a test field

The outdoor team was led by Dave Tennent, Dr Matt Marino, Ashim Panta, John Bueker, and Ethan Moyle. The team is very proud of what they were able to achieve, despite the logistical challenge of getting delicate fixed-wings all the way to France. On their return, they plan to invest more time into their mapping MAV to make the autonomy aspect more robust.

Abdulghani, Matt, and Ashim on the competition day

Well done!



RUASRT Successfully Competes in IMAV 2017

RMIT Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Team successfully competed in the 9th annual International Micro Air Vehicle (IMAV) conference and competition, which was held 18th-21st September in Toulouse, France. IMAV is an annual event fostering key technologies for the development of micro-air vehicles.  It combines a scientific conference and a flight competition attracting upwards of 30 teams from around the world.

RUASRT elected to enter three events: indoor, outdoor, and record breaking heavy-lift challenge. Of all the teams from multiple countries across the world, we were the only team from Australia and the only team to enter purely on an extra-curricular basis (i.e. our entire entry was developed during our spare time and not directly linked with other current research projects).

Sam with the Parrot sponsors

Sam with his “Record Breaking Session” winning octocopter

Whilst not winning the competition outright, aerospace PhD student Sam Prudden won the “Record Breaking Session” with the smallest craft lifting an anvil-shaped mass of 0.5 kg for over a minute.  He also set the fastest time for a drone race sponsored by the international drone manufacturer, Parrot, taking 40 seconds to fly three laps and beating the nearest team by a massive 15 seconds. Well done, Sam!


Professor Simon Watkins presented a keynote lecture as a part of the IMAV conference proceedings which gave an overview of RMIT research entitled; “Towards better MAVs and what we can learn from the birds and the bees”.  Additionally, Mr Ashim Panta and Dr Abdulghani Mohamed (on behalf of Mr Rohan Gigacz) both presented some of their recent research across the two conference days. The conference proceedings can be found here:

The RUASRT IMAV team comprised of staff members; Matthew Marino, Abdulghani Mohammed, Alex Fisher and Simon Watkins;  postgraduate students; Sam Prudden, Nicola Kloet, Ashim Panta, Lance Fang, Tom Newnham, and undergraduate students; Ethan Moyle, James Kennedy, David Tennent, Angie Knight, John Bueker, and Neil Shah. On behalf of the team, we would like to thank everyone who assisted us with our MAV development and allowed us to travel all the way to France for this opportunity. A special mention goes to RMIT University, their Advanced Manufacturing Precinct, and DST Group.

We are also proud to announce that RMIT won the bid to host IMAV2018 in November 2018 which will be the first time the event will be held in the Southern Hemisphere.  We look forward to hosting the best teams in the MAV-world at RMIT in 2018!