It’s called Project ResQu and it sees $7 million thrown at a project to send unmanned helicopters on disaster response missions and other scientific endeavours throughout Queensland.
Missions will include locating survivors in extreme weather scenarios like last year’s Queensland floods and mapping weeds in rainforests throughout the state.
The helicopters are in a rough prototype stage at the moment, and research into how they can be refined will continue through to the end of 2014, when the CSIRO hopes that regulations for the use of UAVs in civilian airspace have changed.
One component the CSIRO is already investigating is sensor technology that can be strapped to the drones that enable them to figure out where other aircraft are in order to avoid them, allowing safe landings in emergencies.
Professor Duncan Campbell, director of the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation at the Queensland University of Technology says that he hopes the research will improve the adoption of UAVs in urban areas all over Australia.
Check out one of the choppers taking off in this video. They’re not exactly stealthy, but I won’t say no to having a go of one.
Image and video: CSIRO