A waterproof drone designed by RMIT University engineers in conjunction with Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group has been nominated for a National Defence Innovation Award at the airshow.
Known as Black Kite, it represents a successful “world first” drone for maritime applications. The air vehicle is waterproof and can land and takeoff on water in low swells and in “all-weather conditions.”
RMIT University’s project lead, Dr Abdulghani Mohamed said the system “would enhance abilities to investigate or meet incoming vessels or divers. Sending a drone to perform this task is quicker and safer than sending people into potential danger – also easier as it completes the mission with high levels of autonomy.”
That autonomy includes taking off, intercepting and tracking targets, returning to base and landing. It has an operating range of up to three kilometres with a three kilogram payload. Planned payloads include a wide range of sensors and onboard speaker and mic system for two-way communication with vessels.
The drone is on display during the airshow.