• Boeing partners with SMEs on new RPAS enabling technology

    July 25, 2017

    Boeing is at the forefront of developing new technology in collaboration with innovative Queensland businesses with support from the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Platform Technology Program.

    In partnership with Queensland small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), Telstra and the Shell Queensland Gas Company (QGC), Boeing and its subsidiary, Insitu Pacific, have designed, developed and are testing a world-first prototype airspace situational awareness system.

    This system is capable of remotely detecting and tracking other airspace users, and providing the resultant air picture over Telstra’s cellular network back to a ground-control station. This enables pilots to safely operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) over extended ranges and in full compliance with CASA regulations.

    Boeing Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific President Maureen Dougherty said Boeing had a strong history of partnership innovation in Australia.

    “As a world-leader in aerospace, Boeing takes very seriously our responsibility to engage small-to-medium sized companies in the development of new capabilities, connecting them with our global supply chain and providing local industry with greater international export opportunities,” said Dougherty.

    “Queensland and Boeing working together on the next generation of cutting edge technology is another milestone in our strong 90-year relationship with Australia.

    “We greatly appreciate the support of our project partners, the innovative Queensland businesses and the Queensland Government that has made the development of this technology a reality.”

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said eight Queensland SMEs have been engaged to provide systems engineering support, and develop and manufacture hardware for the project.

    “The project will lead to the development of world-first technology to enable the use of RPAS to inspect and capture critical data on natural resource infrastructure and with wide application across a range of resource industries,” said Enoch.

    “This progress cements Queensland’s reputation as Australia’s leading player in developing civilian UAS technologies and of growing new innovative technology in Queensland.

    “Unmanned aircraft are safer and much more efficient in carrying out sweeps of natural resource infrastructure, including well-heads, than manned aircraft and ground inspection crews,” said Enoch.

    Director of Boeing Phantom Works International Dr Shane Arnott said, “Boeing is focused on integrating technology-driven capabilities that exponentially increase our ability to make existing systems smarter, and operations safer and more efficient,” Dr Arnott said.

    “The growth of RPAS technology globally presents a great opportunity for Queensland and the state is naturally well positioned with large open areas to further support development of these technologies.”

    Director of Queensland business, RF Technologies, Michael Symes said the project had been a tremendous enabler for his business, requiring its traditional design and manufacturing capabilities be blended with innovative technical concepts, to suit the demanding application.

    “The potential to extend our reach into global markets and the association with Boeing came at a good time for RF Technologies, following our business relocation to a wholly-owned, larger facility coupled with an investment in additional skills and technologies,” Mr Symes said.