Vision for the project

To demonstrate technology for remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS/drones), that can:

  • Validate bushfire ignitions
  • Provide situational awareness of the early evolution of bushfire ignitions

The drone system should demonstrate the capability of flying in conditions not suitable for piloted vehicles, to remove the need for pilots in these scenarios (e.g. adverse weather, at night, following dry lightning storms).


Research includes development of a drone platform using Ottano drones, working with Carbonix. The drone is fitted with a thermal camera, and its efficacy for fire detection is evaluated through tests in flight conditions, using small experimental fires and heaters.

Drone capabilities are also demonstrated through flying a vehicle through controlled burns, providing arial thermal imaging to fire agencies. RGB (visible light) and thermal video are integrated into existing fire agency communication and control, as a new separate feed. Drone capability for validation of remote ignitions to fire agencies control during experimental burns are also demonstrated.

Licensing for drone use is obtained through CASA (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority). The research requires EVLOS (extended visual line of sight) and BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) operation, with an operational area including Namadgi National Park.

Chief Investigators

Dr Andrew Tridgell