UAV Development for Search and Rescue

UAV development is an area that has become accessible through the development of open-source flight controllers with the capacity for autonomous flight functionality. Such devices can be produced at a low cost, pertain long flight duration whilst achieving high level functionality including surveying, object recognition and payload deployment. This can yield advantages in areas including cost effectiveness, human error and risk, search and rescue scenarios and military applications.

The UAV project entails the design and development of a custom UAV which is able to autonomously survey an area and perform a set of predefined search and rescue actions. The aircraft must be able to identify targets using live image processing and relay relevant information to a ground station. The design will utilize rapid prototyping (laser cutting and 3D printing) and will distinguish itself from market competitors through features such as custom design, interchangeable payload, integrated hardware diagnostics and low cost to manufacture. The system will also endeavor to participate in the UAV Outback Challenge in September 2014.


Goals of the project includes:

  • design and development of custom UAV
  • implement autonomous flight
  • implement autonomous target identification and mission control
  • perform hardware-in-loop simulations


Dr Colin Burvill

Supervisor, UAV Program