In March 2008, Boeing established an Australian branch of Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T), its advanced research and development unit, to better support its businesses here in Australia by providing a focal point for collaboration with research and development organisations including universities, private sector providers, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
BR&T-A is a highly collaborative organisation that brings the best of Australian technology to Boeing. BR&T-A supports the company's pursuits in Australia by reducing technical risks on current programs and providing innovative technologies that enable the development of future aerospace solutions while improving the cycle time, cost, quality and performance of current aerospace systems.
The work BR&T-A performs today transcends numerous parts of Boeing's businesses in Australia including highly integrated large scale composite structures, platform maintenance technologies, light robotics and automation for aircraft manufacturing, autonomous systems supporting the commercial deployment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), wideband communications, human factors and sensing to support high end defence platforms and services, and leading the implementation of Boeing's environment strategy around sustainable aviation fuels in Australia and the South Pacific region.
A hallmark of Boeing's technology partnerships in Australia is its 22 year relationship with CSIRO. Over the course of the partnership, Boeing and CSIRO have jointly invested more than $100 million. In 2011, CSIRO was recognised at the Boeing Supplier of the Year Awards with a Leader's Choice award in the academia category, and also that year, Boeing was awarded a CSIRO Gold Medal for Research Excellence.
Research Investments in Australia
Recent examples of Boeing Research & Technology investments in Australia include:
UAS research through the Smart Skies Project, which is a leading edge research program exploring future technologies to enhance both manned and unmanned aircraft's safe and efficient use of airspace. The project brings together specialist researchers from BR&T-A, Insitu Pacific Ltd and the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, which is a joint venture between the CSIRO and Queensland University of Technology, to explore the development of key enabling aviation technologies.
Flight training instructors have long had to rely on guessing where a student is looking during training in the cockpit of a simulator or training aircraft. BR&T-A's “gaze tracker” technology now enables the instructor to see where the student is looking in real-time. This way the instructor can identify and nurture good performance, while identifying and correcting poor technique that may otherwise persist undetected. The same team is also looking at integrating the gaze tracker into a Boeing 737 simulator at Boeing Training and Flights Services' Brisbane campus.