30th August 2017

QUT’s advances in drone and remote-sensing research will be on show at the inaugural World of Drones Congress in Brisbane this week.

The international, multidisciplinary forum at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre runs from tomorrow through to Saturday, with a two-day conference program and technology Expo.

On display at the Expo will be QUT's COTSbot reef robot targeting crown-of-thorns starfish, crop and weed manager AgBot II, and drones (Unmanned Aerial Systems) involved in research projects from monitoring of pests and gas concentrations to inspecting power poles.

The public will get the chance to get up close to these innovations on Saturday at the congress's open day from 9am to 2pm.

A snapshot of QUT innovation:


QUT speakers joining the international line-up on the World of Drones Congress conference program are:

Associate Professor Felipe Gonzalez

Associate Professor Felipe Gonzalez, Science and Engineering Faculty, who will be part of a panel discussion on ‘The New Global Drone Economy’ in tomorrow’s opening session with keynote speaker Thomas Frey, senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute.

“QUT is at the forefront of UAS research in remote sensing in agriculture, wildlife, reef and air pollution monitoring,” Associate Professor Gonzalez said.

“Applications of these technologies are changing work practices and the landscape for industry world-wide.

“This congress is an opportunity for everyone from academia and business to governments, investors and enthusiasts to understand the world of drones as it is today, and also discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead – not only those in the next five years, but also in the next 20 years.”

Professor Tristan Perez


Professor Tristan Perez, Science and Engineering Faculty, who will speak on issues around UAS safety and performance and join a panel discussion.  

“There is a great deal of research and development dedicated to improving the capabilities of autonomous systems, but to enable the envisaged uptake of these systems and enjoy their benefits there needs to be further work done in areas such as regulation and certification,” Professor Perez said.

“The assessment of features related to safety and performance are key to certification of these systems for a wide range of applications and operations.”


Professor Des Butler


Professor Des Butler, Faculty of Law, who will examine drone surveillance, privacy and the law.

“Current Australian laws offer only piecemeal protection of privacy and are inconsistent across the states and territories,” Professor Butler said.

“The Queensland surveillance statute is dated 1974 and that is the era of technology it covers – way behind where we are now.

“At a time when technology provides ready means to not only intrude upon the privacy of others and then to magnify that intrusion by sharing video via the web to a worldwide audience there is a clear case for consistency in surveillance laws around Australia, and for states like Queensland to ensure laws are appropriate for the 21st century.

“Queensland is leading the way in advancing these new technologies but lagging behind in legislation.”

Media contact:

Karen Milliner, QUT Media, 07 3138 1841 or k.milliner@qut.edu.au 
After hours, Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901 or media@qut.edu.au  

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