Smart Skies Project

OverviewSmart Skies Project

The three-year, AUD$10M dollar Smart Skies Project commenced in March 2008 and was supported by a successful bid for funding under the Queensland Government National and International Research Alliances Program. The Smart Skies Project which concluded in March 2011 was a research collaboration between ARCAA, Boeing Research and Technology Australia (BR&T-A) and Boeing Research and Technology in the United States of America (BR&T) Smart Skies focused on advancing key technologies that would enable civilian UAS to be safely operated in non-segregated airspace, thus enabling operators to support the many potential applications for unmanned aircraft.

Aims & Objectives

The Smart Skies Project brought together specialist researchers from Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T), Boeing Research & Technology Australia (BR&T-A), Insitu Pacific Ltd, QUT and CSIRO to explore the development of three key enabling aviation technologies:

  1. An Automated Separation Management System capable of providing separation assurance in complex airspace environments
  2. Sense and Act systems for manned and unmanned aircraft capable of collision avoidance of dynamic and static obstacles
  3. A Mobile Aircraft Tracking System (MATS) utilising a cost-effective radar and dependent surveillance systems

A feature of the Smart Skies project from its start in 2008 has been the focus on real world flight testing. Throughout the project there have been 8 flight campaigns that brought together the collaborating partners for integrated testing of the development systems.

Milestones & Achievements

The Smart Skies Project has been successful in realising its aims; achieving significant milestones and with over 20 scientific publications published or submitted. Each of the enabling technologies have been demonstrated through flight testing to be feasible and to have the potential to increase the capabilities of unmanned aircraft to be safely operated in mixed airspace. The achievements of the project are recognised through a number of awards, including:

  • 2010 Engineers Australia Queensland Division Excellence Award
  • 2010 Business & Higher Education Round Table Award for best research and development collaboration
  • 2011 Queensland iAward
  • 2011 QUT Vice Chancellors Excellence Award

The success of the project has provided ARCAA with an international reputation for excellence in applied research.

An overview of the Smart Skies Project was published in IEEE A&ES Magazine, Vol.26(6), pp.14-23, 2011 a version can be viewed on QUT ePrints. The Smart Skies video can also be viewed here.

Project Contacts

For further information regarding this project please contact the project contact below:

  • Dr Luis Mejias Alvarez
  • Dr Felipe Gonzalez

Smart Skies Project Media Gallery