Drones and aviation

Gavin Broadbent RPAS Senior Design and RPAS Technician

The Research Engineering Facility's drones and aviation capability is enabled through access to world-class equipment and the expertise to achieve real-world research outcomes for our partners.

We own and operate a fleet of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), commonly called UAVs or drones, to support and enable a diverse range of QUT and industry projects, including sensor integration, data and image capture requirements, and data processing and analytics.

The team also enables research into drone equipage for obstacle detection and collision avoidance, unmanned traffic management systems (UTM) and cooperative multi-agent systems (aka swarms).

QUT is a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) certified commercial operator of drones and holds a remote operator certificate (ReOC) CASA.ReOC.0466. This permits operations of multi-rotor drones up to 25kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW) anywhere in Australia, under the following conditions:

  • Extended line-of-sight (day or night) – out to 5.6km from pilot in command (platform specific)
  • Below 400ft AGL
  • Not within 3nm of a towered aerodrome
  • Not within 15m of the general public

Additionally, the team has access and approval to operate in a beyond visual line of sight environment for the testing of systems and platforms at a dedicated test facility located within three hours of Brisbane.

The Research Engineering Facility operates and supports a wide variety of drone, aviation and robotics systems to enable the research of QUT and our partners. We also have access to an extensive range of remote sensing equipment, much of which has been integrated onto our fleet of drones. Our team has a depth of experience in the integration of a wide variety of sensors onto robotic platforms, and can work with clients who have specific needs for their application case.

Aerial robots

DJI M600 Pro 15.1kg 16 mins @ 6kg
Up to 40 mins with no payload
Up to 6kg 3
DJI s800 EVO 7kg 12 mins @ 2kg Up to 2kg 4
DJI Inspire 2 4kg 27 mins  560g 1
DJI Mavic Pro 743g 21 mins NA 1
DJI Phantom 3 Professional 1.28kg Up to 20 mins NA 1
Silvertone Flamingo (fixed wing) 20kg 4 hours Up to 2.5kg 1
CyberTech CyberEye II (fixed wing) 80kg 4+ hours Up to 20kg 1    
Gyro stabilised imagery solutions
  • Canon 5DSR
  • Zenmuse X5S
  • Zenmuse XT2 dual EO/IR camera
  • Zenmuse Z30 (30x optical zoom, 6x digital zoom)
  • FLIR Tau 2 + FLIR Tau VPC Module + BEVRC PV700 DVR
  • FLIR Tau 2 + TeAx ThermalCapture
  • CM-160 EO/LWIR gimbal camera system
  • Headwall Nano-Hyperspec
  • MicaSense RedEdge
Geospatial and referencing solutions
  • Hovermap 3D LiDAR mapping and autonomy payload
  • Velodyne HDL-32E Lidar integrated to NVIDIA Jetson TK1
  • Aaronia GPS Logger
  • NovAtel (DL-V3, OEMV, Propak-G3 RT2J SPAN receiver)
  • NovAtel ADIS-SPAN
  • VICON Motion Capture system
Air quality solutions
  • DiSCmini nanoparticle sensor
  • Pollen spore trap

We provide drones and aviation services for academic, industry and government clients.

Selected equipment can be hired by researchers without the full-service, dependent on project scope.

Please contact us to arrange a consultation.

Capability team

Mr Dean Gilligan

Chief Remote Pilot

Mr Dirk Lessner

Engineering Manager

Dr Dmitry Bratanov

Senior Research Engineer (RPAS and Autonomous Systems)

Mr Gavin Broadbent

Senior Design and RPAS Technician

Contact us

Research Engineering Facility 

Level 8, P Block
Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane QLD 4000 Australia

Postal address

Research Engineering Facility
GPO Box 2434
Brisbane QLD 4001