Australia to Expand Civilian UAV Use

Australia's Queensland state government has launched its second unmanned air vehicle challenge, the Outback Rescue competition, to expand the civilian use of UAVs with a prize-money pool of A$70,000 ($65,000). Held from 23-25 September at Queensland's Kingaroy airport, the competition is to promote the development of civil applications such as crop management, traffic control, wildlife surveillance and farm-stock and environmental monitoring. The challenge is to conduct an outback rescue mission, to find and assist a lost bushwalker. The competition is an initiative of the Queensland government, Boeing Australia, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and Queensland University's Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation.

Canadian Industry and Government Fund New Research Centre

Montreal based-McGill University and Canada's National Research Council (NRC) have created a multi-laboratory research centre in the Montreal area to support new materials and manufacturing process development. The C$7.8 million ($7.6 million) McGill Aerospace Materials and Alloy Development Centre has access to a cold spray laboratory, electron beam physical vapour deposition technology and an isothermal forging press. Funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Quebec government, the NRC and industrial collaborators, its largest investment was in the $3.3 million cold spray laboratory. This is a new manufacturing method for depositing metals and alloys that involves accelerating a solid-state powder in a supersonic gas jet. The NRC has signed a five-year partnership agreement to conduct joint R&D activities with the university.

Piezoelectric Smart Wing Demonstrator

Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability has built a wing structural health monitoring system demonstrator that uses piezoelectric materials. The wing is made of a fibre composite material that incorporates a number of piezoelectric sensors and actuators. The piezoelectric actuators in the structure emit acoustic signals that generate a specific pattern of structure-borne noise on the wing. The resulting vibrations are recorded by piezoelectric sensors. Any damage to the material, such as the first signs of delamination, causes changes in the wave pattern of the structure-borne noise.

European Defence Agency to Identify Immediate Research Needs

The European Defence Agency is to identify high-priority research and technology projects for unmanned air vehicles that need immediate investment. At a two-day meeting the EDA's steering board - its highest decision-making body, with government and European Commission representatives - asked the agency to come up with UAV proposals in four areas. These are integration and co-ordination standardisation and harmonisation demonstration and validation and high-priority research and technology projects that need immediate investment. The board also asked the agency to set up a European Union-wide military UAV airworthiness forum.