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

New Project to Develop Autonomous Soaring Aircraft

7-April -14

RUASRT announced today that is undertaking research in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) to develop an unmanned aircraft that is capable of soaring like a bird.

RMIT Student Liam Peters, with the RMIT Kestrel.

RMIT Student Liam Peters, with the RMIT Kestrel.

The project, which is partly funded by the Defence Science Institute, commenced early in 2014 and is working towards flight testing of a small prototype system capable of ‘surfing’ updrafts around large buildings. The prototype system is called the RMIT Kestrel.

The six month research project brings together leading research into the modelling and analysis of airflows around structures with advanced sensing, and guidance algorithms.

The project is led by Prof Simon Watkins, Dr Reece Clothier, Dr Jennifer Palmer (DSTO), Dr Alex Fisher, Dr Matt Marino, and supported by Mr Abdulghani Mohamed, Ms Kiros Lim, Mr Chung Leung, Mr Liam Peters, and Mr Sam Prudden.

More information:

Related links:


RUASRT Researcher Dr Reece Clothier featured on nationally on ABC Radio on Friday morning. The interview was in relation to a recent near miss between a small remotely operated aircraft and a rescue helicopter operating near Newcastle. The ATSB incident report can be found here. A response from the industry association to the incident can also be found here.

Only short segments of the full 15 minute interview were aired, and can be listened to here: . Or online:

RUASRT Researcher to Lead Regulatory Reform Committee

Lead RUASRT researcher, Dr Reece Clothier, has been elected as co-chair of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Standards Consultative Committee (SCC) on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The newly formed Sub-Committee replaces the existing SCC working group. The terms of reference for the SCC include:

  • Reviewing and analysing all information relating to tasks involving the development of regulations and standards pertaining to unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Evaluating and developing options and making recommendations on the proposals.
  • Identifying, documenting and raising issues that need attention / resolution and report to the SCC as required.
  • Reviewing the impact of proposals using the Legislative Change Proposals procedure.
  • Discussing and clarifying the role and expectations of the sub-committee members early in the process to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Fostering balanced and complete discussion on proposals.
  • Working through all technical, legal and policy issues dealing with the development of regulations and standards related to unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Reviewing and analysing information relating to Regulatory Development implementation.

More information on the UAS SCC can be found on the CASA website:

Air Traffic Management, Human Factors and Autonomous Systems Laboratory

The RUASRT has officially opened its new Air Traffic Management, Human Factors and Autonomous Systems Laboratory.

The $200K custom designed laboratory, which was delivered by SimRoom, includes state
of the art eye and head tracking equipment, provided by EyeTracker, floor-to-ceiling curved HD display, motion seat, customisable touchscreen human interaction and display devices, and support for six different commercial off the shelf manned and unmanned simulation software packages.

The laboratory will support RUASRT research into UAS human factors, air traffic management and airspace integration, and system autonomy.  The Air Traffic Management, Human Factors and Autonomous Systems Laboratory is unique capability, providing researchers with access to a safe, realistic and controllable simulation environment.

RMIT news release and more information available here:

Associated media coverage:

Simulator 2 2014 Flight Sim Bundoora East-5


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