The Queensland government has partnered with Boeing to complete a multi-million dollar aerospace initiative backing more than 90 local jobs across 20 SMEs.
Developing an on-board command and control technology was the focus of the Advance Queensland project, which included the ability to communicate and work with other autonomous aircraft.
Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the $18 million Queensland government investment in the three-year project has helped to boost autonomous mission systems technology capabilities in the state.
“This is another great achievement for Queensland’s growing aerospace industry,” Mr Miles said.
The project brought 20 local companies to work with Boeing on unmanned or autonomous aircraft and $9 million of the state investment for the project flowed to local companies.
SMEs including Microelectronic Technologies (MeT), ImmersaView, RFDesign, and QuintessenceLabs worked with Boeing to develop solutions to complex technology challenges. The companies were also involved in applying artificial intelligence algorithms to ‘teach’ the ‘brain’ of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to understand what was required of it.
Brisbane-based company MeT was approached to provide custom electronics design support to meet a specific set of communications and connectivity requirements.
“Our involvement in the project enabled MeT to upskill and increase our in-house production and test equipment,” MeT General Manager Brendon Lang said.
“It has created an international platform for our company to showcase our skills and expertise in local design and manufacturing which could enable us to support similar defence and aerospace projects in the future.”
Developing new aerospace technology in Queensland was part of the government’s Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan and Queensland Drones Strategy, the Innovation minister said.
“Unmanned aerial vehicle technology will define the future of aviation, from aerial transport and logistics, defence and supporting frontline emergency workers.”
In 2018, the global commercial UAV market was valued at over US$5.8 billion. More than 30 per cent of Australia’s UAV industry is located in Queensland.
Pending orders, the state government said that Queensland will be the final assembly production place for the the first military combat aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in half a century — the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
“The Queensland Government and Boeing will continue their partnership in defence advanced manufacturing.”