Da Vinci Precinct

Our award-winning Da Vinci research facility is purpose built to meet the unique needs of researchers engaging in aerospace automation activities.

Based at Brisbane Airport, the site includes:

  • an avionics development area
  • general workshop
  • indoor flying area
  • meeting rooms, a technical library and open-plan office space.

The site is suited to enable flight test capabilities for small drones, with access to leading technology to assist our researchers in maturing concepts from paper to flight-tested reality.


We provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and services in the aerospace autonomy domain to enable research conducted by clients from academia, industry and government.

Research projects and services include:

  • systems integration with a focus on emerging technologies for autonomous land (UGV) and air vehicles (UAV/RPAS/drones)
  • experimental hardware design
  • operations in GPS denied environments
  • software engineering
  • data capture, processing, and analysis
  • proof of concept validation and testing.

As a fully certified commercial remotely piloted aircraft system operator (CASA.ReOC.0466), the Research Engineering Facility team based at the Da Vinci Precinct can operate multi-rotor Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (up to 25kg) anywhere in Australia, within extended visual line of sight (EVLOS) and not greater than 400 feet above ground level under standard operating conditions. The team also has permissions to operate within 3nm of non-towered aerodromes, to conduct night visual line of sight operations, and to operate up to 15 metres from the general public. With extensive experience in a multitude of environments, the team has flown in excess of 1,750 flights in support of research projects since 2015.

Indoor flying laboratory A netted flight area equipped with a VICON motion capture system for research into collision avoidance, vision-based navigation and mapping, and operations in GPS denied environments.
Avionics laboratory An avionics lab equipped with a GNSS simulator for hardware-in-the-loop and software-in-the-loop testing of experimental payloads and autopilots.
Mechanical workshop For construction, fitting and assembly work, with a drill press, pan brake, vice, hand tools and a large selection of fasteners and materials. 3D printed structures can also be designed and manufactured in-house, ranging from ABS to carbon fibre materials.
TAAATS data feed A real-time data feed from The Australian Advanced Air Traffic Systems (TAAATS) allowing researchers to model and develop systems such as Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems using real traffic networks.
RPAS fleet As operators and custodians of QUT’s ReOC, the team based at Da Vinci Precinct have access to a fleet of multirotor (DJI M600Pro, Inspire2, M210V2, Mavic Pro, s800) and fixed wing (Flamingo, CyberEye II) platforms.
Sensors The team based at Da Vinci Precinct are custodians and operators of a wide range of high-end sensors typically deployed on drones (although they are also used for unmanned ground vehicles). Sensors include hyperspectral, multispectral and thermal cameras, large-format dSLR cameras, LiDAR, particle counters and air quality sensors. These are complemented by commercial-off-the-shelf or custom designed and manufactured gimbals and mounting solutions.
Field operations A custom built and designed mobile operations centre (MOC), consisting of an Isuzu NPS300 crew cab fitted with an expandable rear cabin to fit a three-bay workstation. Capabilities include GPS, two-way radios, airbag suspension, 3-phase power, front and side storage compartments, in-built extendable communications mast with air compressor and in-cab controls, Honda EU65is inverter generator, solar panels and battery storage, fridge and air-conditioning. This is complemented by an Isuzu DMax crew cab 4x4 ute.
Services Single and three phase power; compressed air; GPS antenna.

The Da Vinci Precinct provides services and capabilities to QUT staff and students, external researchers and commercial organisations, ranging from basic technical support to commercial research and consultancy.

Standard hours of operation are from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although staff are often in the field so it’s best to arrange a time with the team onsite prior to arrival. All visitors to the Da Vinci Precinct must sign in upon arrival.

The RPAS team based at the Da Vinci Precinct offers consultancy and commercial research services to researchers and organisations on a fee-for-service basis. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Location team

Mr Dirk Lessner

Engineering Manager

Mr Dean Gilligan

Chief Remote Pilot

Dr Dmitry Bratanov

Senior Research Engineer (RPAS and Autonomous Systems)

Mr Gavin Broadbent

Senior Design and RPAS Technician

Contact us

Da Vinci Precinct

22-24 Boronia Rd
Brisbane Airport QLD 4008

Postal address

Da Vinci Precinct
GPO Box 2434
Brisbane QLD 4001