Govt dishes out $13.5m to 12 aviation tech projects

Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

The federal government has dished out $13.5 million to 12 aviation projects focusing on the use of technology to improve farming efficiency, industry sustainability and the delivering of essential goods to remote locations.

A number of the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships projects will look at the use of automated drones to deliver life-saving supplies to remote communities and conduct back-burning from the air, and the application of sustainable technologies to these technologies and sectors.

It comes after round 1 of the program saw $18 million dispersed across 12 projects.

AMSL Aero CEO Andrew Moore, chair Chris Smallhorn, and chief operating officer Siobhan Lyndon

The winning applicants for round 2 of the program were announced on Thursday, with the latest round focussing on companies and universities improving the use of technology in farming, supply chains and regional connectivity.

Included among the successful applicants is AMSL Aero, which will be using the funding to conduct flight testing and regional demonstrations of its electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

The Victoria-based company will also be developing and demonstrating a hydrogen refuelling system to better enable extended range and improve regional connectivity. AMSL Aero has developed the world’s first hydrogen-powered vehicle of its kind, to be used as an air ambulance and emergency response vehicle.

Autospray Systems has also landed funding from the federal government scheme, which it will use to research, develop and trial a number of large, remotely-piloted aircraft systems operating in tandem to ensure 24-7 spraying operations on farms.

A number of the recipients are focused on using drones to assist in the supply of goods to regional and remote communities.

Revolution Aerospace will use the funding to trial a drone delivery service for Indigenous communities in the Torres Strait, while Wedgetail Aerospace will use its grant to establish a drone operation hub at Karratha Airport to conduct a trial of resupply via drone from, and between, regional areas.

Raindance Systems has also scored funding to develop an aerial drone incendiary system to conduct controlled burn trials in the Kimberley region and Kakadu National Park, which will be done in partnership with traditional owners to support land management outcomes.

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Education Anthony Chisholm said the projects will “make a real difference for communities”.

“This includes drones and remotely-piloted aircraft that will ensure remote communities get access to the health services they need, and the cargo makes its way onto the shelves at the local grocer,” Senator Chisholm said.

“Some of the latest projects will explore how emerging aviation can support farmers and unlock manufacturing opportunities in Australia, as well as how we can make this technology lower cost and more sustainable, to make them more widely accessible for communities.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the development of these projects get underway and the impact they will have in our regional, rural and remote communities, because when we invest in local innovation and manufacturing, it creates more opportunity for our regions now and into the future.”

Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Round 2 funding recipients:

  • AMSL Aero
  • Autospray
  • AvSoft Australia
  • Aero
  • Jabiru Aircraft
  • Li-S Energy
  • Queensland UNiversity of Technology
  • Raindance Systems
  • Revolution Aerospace
  • Stratis Aircraft
  • Macquarie University
  • Wedgetail Aerospace

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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