RUASRT @ Avalon Airshow

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.


StopRotor paper wins Best Written Paper Award at AIAC17 Conference

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.


Nicola Kloet wins prestigious Rod Walker Award

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.

Congratulations Nicola!



RUASRT publishes world-first multi-rotor acoustic measurements

RMIT UAS Research Team PhD candidate Nicola Kloet has had her work on acoustic signature measurement of small multi-rotor UAS published in the International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles.

The noise generated by these “drones” is seen as one of the barriers to their widespread implementation in populated environments. Nicola’s work, done as part of her final year project for her Bachelor’s degree, is the first step toward understanding and controlling this noise. Nicola is now continuing her studies as a PhD candidate, in which she is investigating human perception of UAS noise, and looking at methods by which noise can be reduced.

The paper is freely available online here.



RUASRT paper included in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics Highlights of 2016

RMIT UAS Research Team’s work on emulating avian orographic soaring in urban environments has been featured in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics Highlights of 2016, a collection which includes some of the very best and most influential research published in the journal over the last year.

Emulating avian orographic soaring with a small autonomous glider

Bioinspiration & Biomimetics Highlights of 2016



First Micro Air vehicle Course and Competition

The competitors from the AMAV contest after a successful day.
The competitors from the AMAV contest after a successful day.

Unmanned Air Vehicles are being used for an ever-increasing range of tasks; goods delivery, information gathering and disaster relief. Members of RUASRT recently held the first Australian Micro Air Vehicles (AMAV) Competition in the basketball courts at RMIT’s Bundoora West campus. AMAV committee lead, Dr Abdulghani Mohamed said:

“It was a resounding success; the initiative provided students with a transformative experience through project-based learning integrated within existing engineering courses as the culmination of design-build-fly projects”.

Eleven teams navigated their multi-rotor machines through obstacles including payload delivery in the GPS-denied environment. All teams completed the majority of tasks and top-placed teams displayed some excellent autonomy, including reading QR codes on the obstacles, whilst being buffeted by wind gusts.
Competing student Rohan Gigacz enthused:

“The AMAV competition along with the UAS course allowed us to translate what we have learnt in the class room into a challenging real life application. The competition day was a great way to end the semester and I look forward to future AMAV competitions which look to be bigger and better!”

One team successfully passing the beaded curtain obstacle.
One team successfully passing the beaded curtain obstacle.

A big thanks to everyone who helped, especially: Dr Jennifer Palmer and DST Group for sponsorship.
Based on the success of the AMAV event, RMIT has been selected to host the IMAV 2018 competition in 2018, where competitors from all over the world compete and present their research, helping RMIT build capability, expertise, and international collaboration in this emerging field.

Members of the AMAV committee.
Members of the AMAV committee.




RUASRT on TV – Channel 10 “Scope”

Members of RUASRT were on Network 10’s Scope on Saturday morning. Scope is a funny and informative children’s science show, aimed at kids ages 8-14, with sections presented by experts in their field. During the engineering-themed episode, Sam, David, and Ashim discussed the process for designing and building drones. In the video you can see the team working on electronics, explain important design considerations, and fly our favourite caged-drone, MARV.
Season 3, episode 119 is here, our section begins at 8:10. Enjoy!


Specialised UAS developed for underground mine inspection

RMIT graduate student and post RUASRT member Andrew Harrison has been working with CSIRO and Newmarket Gold on developing multi-rotor UAS capable of surveying the large voids produced as a result of underground mining. The ability to operate regardless of the complex ground terrain allows the system to survey regions of the void which would not possible by any other means. The data obtained by the UAS provides mining engineers with required information to make strategic decisions in the recovery of ore and expansion of mining operations. These processes can be conducted in a safer and more efficient manner than otherwise possible due to the use of the developed UAS technology.


Research Helps Insitu Pacific ScanEagle Take Flight in Australian Airspace

Research Helps Insitu Pacific ScanEagle Take Flight in Australian Airspace

21-May-16 RUASRT research into the development of safety case templates for remotely piloted aircraft has been used by Insitu Pacific Pty Ltd in support of its beyond visual line of sight operations in Australian airspace ( An announcement of the successful BVLOS operations conducted by Insitu Pacific Ltd is available here.

The research, which was co-developed by Dr Reece Clothier (RMIT University), Mr Brendan Williams (Boeing Research & Technology – Australia) and Dr Neale Fulton, was published in Safety Science, and presented at the recent Australian Association for Unmanned Systems (AAUS), RPAS in Australian Skies Conference. The paper can be viewed here. The framework was also adapted by Nova Aerospace to support the safety case for RAAF Heron operations in North Queensland.

A great example of research having practical outcomes for the industry.


AMAV Competition Announcement

Members of RUASRT have formed the Australian Micro-Air-Vehicles (AMAV) organisation which will organise an annual competition to promote innovations for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The 2016 competition is open to RMIT staff and students but in future will open to all universities across Australia and internationally.

The AMAV competition involves two obstacle courses of varying degrees of difficulty aimed for undergraduate and postgraduate university level student contestants. The goal is to design a UAS to complete industry-relevant tasks such as obstacle avoidance and payload delivery, while dealing with real-world complications like wind gusts and lack of GPS signal.

For more information, or to enter the competition, see the website: