Research on Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Robotic Aircraft

Relating to: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs), Self Piloted Vehicles (SPVs), Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft, Robotic Aircraft.

At Sydney University, current research in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has produced promising results towards the development of fully autonomous capabilities.  The Aeronautical Engineering UAV Research Group has one of Australiaís largest and most active team of robotic aircraft researchers, comprising of up to ten academics and research students.  Aircraft currently being developed and operated include the UAVs named Ariel,  Brumby, TWing Tail-Sitter UAV, and the Bidule mini Air Vehicle (mAV).  Originally developed to provide flight research platforms in support of the departmentís various research activities, they are also used to enhance skills in airframe design and fabrication, flight instrumentation, flight control systems, and operational aspects of UAVs.  They form the basis of technology demonstrators for many aspects of Aeronautical Engineering, and are now also being used to explore commercial applications for autonomous flight vehicles.  Current UAV related research activities include the following:

  * Autonomous Remote Sensing using UAVs;
  * Decentralised Navigation and Control of Autonomous Flight Vehicles;
  * Simultaneous Localisation and Map Building for Autonomous Flight Vehicles;
  * Design and Development of Rapid Prototype UAVs;
  * Wind-tunnel and flight based experimental research in aerodynamics and flight performance;
  * Modelling of engine/propeller performance and aircraft stability characteristics;
  * High fidelity aircraft model development for simulation based control system validation;
  * Trajectory optimisation and autonomous guidance for unmanned aircraft;
  * Sensor fusion strategies for state estimation using multiple redundant sensors, including Global Positioning Systems (GPS);
  * Using GPS for aircraft attitude determination;
  * System Identification methods and neural networks for fault detection and reconfiguration;
  * Robustness analysis of control laws in the presence of uncertain dynamics and wind gusts;
  * Robust nonlinear high-performance manoeuvre tracking for autonomous aircraft;
  * Autonomous safe recovery and landing of a UAV;
  * Terrain Following for autonomous flight vehicles;
  * Integration of available technologies into operational UAV systems;
  * Real-time fight control software synthesis for UAVs; and
  * Design and fabrication of airframe components using advanced composite materials.

Link to Australian UAV Special Interest Group (SIG)

for further information contact

Some General UAV Papers by Dr KC Wong:
"UAV Design Activities in a University Environment" presented at the 9th Australian International Aerospace Congress, Canberra, Australia, 6-8 March 2001 (PDF 4.0 file)

"Adapting to Limitations of a Wind Tunnel Test Facility in the Aerodynamic Testing of a new UAV" presented at the 9th Australian International Aerospace Congress, Canberra, Australia, 6-8 March 2001 (PDF 4.0 file)

"Design and Development of a micro Air Vehicle (mAV) Concept: Project Bidule" presented at the 9th Australian International Aerospace Congress, Canberra, Australia, 6-8 March 2001 (PDF 4.0 file)

"Survey of Recent Developments: Civil Applications" presented at UAV Australia Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 8-9 February 2001 (PDF 4.0 file)

"UAVs Over Australia - Market and Opportunities" presented to the Bristol RPV/UAV Systems Conference, Bristol, UK - 30 March to 1 April 1998 - Adobe Acrobat (PDF 3.0) file

"Aerospace Industry Opportunities in Australia - UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (UAVs) - Are they ready this time?  Are we?" presented to the Sydney Royal Aeronautical Society - 26 November 1997 - Adobe Acrobat (PDF 3.0) file


For more details, please contact:
Dr. K.C. Wong,
School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering,
Aeronautical Engineering Building J11,
University of Sydney,
NSW 2006,
Tel: 61 (2) 9351 2347
Fax: 61 (2) 9351 4841

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