Post -2014 UAV Outback Challenge, CanberraUAV decided to expand outwards and start development on a number of areas. This is in an effort to spearhead the field of Search and Rescue UAV systems.


The following goals we aim to complete in the 2015-2016 timeframe.


Lead: Tridge

  • Researching new cameras that are able to detect a shoe sized object at 100m altitude
  • Imaging software improvement to detect the aforementioned shoe
  • Record a reference set of images of an area with items strewn in it, to be used for development of imaging software
  • Support use of common cameras (ie Gopro), and document shortfalls
  • Provide comparison images between cameras (multi-camera flights)
  • Start using thermal cameras (if not too expensive) in the future

Airframe development

Lead: Jack, James, Greg, Darrell

  • Development of a rugged airframe (Bushmaster mk II) that can carry an imaging payload for a 1 hour flight and does not require a prepared runway for takeoff and landing
  • Investigate use of petrol helicopters and high efficiency multicopters as option
  • Development of a simple small foam airframe (Techpod, etc) fitted out with CanberraUAV electronics. Test and develop range, duration stats

Ground Equipment

Lead: Chris, Matt

  • Develop a compact catapult/launch system capable of rapid deployment in remote locations as a possible solution to absence of runway. Suitable for 4-10kg airframes
  • Develop capture mechanism/procedure for recovering airframe in remote locations to minimise damage to airframe e.g. chutes, net etc
  • Improve transportability and readiness of our equipment to allow for short notice deployments when interesting opportunities arise. Know the capabilities and limits of our airframes and suitability for the particular scenario
  • Fitting out the Ground Control Van in a better way, based on our OBC 2014 experiences
  • Develop a ruggedised mini Ground Control Station (pelican case) to enable small footprint operations

Running a mini-OBC

  • Research the feasibility of running a small scale competition/challenge with the objective of finding multiple large and small objects in a given area
  • Running a “Drone Day Out” in conjunction with mini-OBC, to showcase technologies and provide information to the interested public

Radio data link R&D

Lead: Tridge, Stephen

  • Look at using 915-928 MHz ISM radios for high-datarate datalinks, as they give better range
  • Antenna Tracker improvements (depends on radio used)
  • Develop a 3G/4G solution for situations where it is appropriate
  • Look at the feasibility of a satellite data link
  • Enhanced link aggregation and failover
  • Investigate 2.4 GHz Ubqiuti radios if the 900 MHz radios don’t work out
  • Main goal is a long range / “high” bandwidth radio that can fit on small aircraft (ie. Skywalker)

Safety Management System

Lead: Chris, Jono, James

  • Develop and implement a mature safety system for CanberraUAV’s operations
  • Create checklists, procedures for each position. Includes abort modes and airframe/engine hours/battery cycle tracking
  • Create an occurrence form to track and identify hazards, incidents and accident
  • Try to continuously improve CanberraUAV’s safety by performing ad-hoc safety management activities.
  • Develop a safety management system for CanberraUAV
  • After 12 months, the goal would be to transition to the SMS, which would be ongoing and more mature way to continuously improve safety (compared to ad-hoc safety management)

Documentation and Admin

Lead: Stephen

  • Update documentation for the cuav and MAVProxy software packages
  • Investigate more effective ways to manage and publish documentation
  • General updates of the CanberraUAV website and “admin” github repository
  • Collating documentation into a “how to” guide for S&R organisations to quickly replicate our setup. Include data on different systems (ie. compare cameras)
  • Gain UAV Operators Certificate to enable non-hobbyist operations
  • Document a “how to” guide to enable prospective users to build our system step by step (suggest video/series of videos on youtube). This would include ground station setup, telemetry links, MAVProxy.


  • More work with universities, high schools and SAR organisations
  • Work with landcare or similar groups for environment monitoring type tasks
  • Build relationships with emergency services/SAR organisations (ie SES)