Australia commits $28M to detect unmanned activities, trial drone deliveries

australia drone program

Australia believes it’s in a unique position to grasp the benefits of drones with both hands, bolster the country’s economy with digital aviation technologies, and leverage advanced air mobility (AAM) to support service delivery. And so its government has decided to invest $28 million to establish the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships program.

The program will fall under the umbrella of Australia’s National Emerging Aviation Technologies (NEAT) Policy Statement, which is supposed to provide a consistent and coordinated approach to managing the country’s drone sector.

Drone technologies are estimated to support more than 5,000 jobs and a $14.5 billion increase in Australia’s GDP over the next 20 years. And that necessitates that the government works closely with the industry and communities to build an aviation technology sector that is innovative, safe, and considerate of local environments and needs.

Program to boost Australia’s drone industry

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack explains in a press statement how the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships program would work:

The program will establish strategic partnerships with industry to support aviation manufacturing jobs and encourage the adoption of emerging aviation technologies to address community needs, particularly in regional Australia. These partnerships will trial new service delivery models, such as using AAM to create regional passenger and cargo links, providing benefit for regional communities and their economies while also increasing business efficiency, and reducing carbon emissions through new technology.

McCormack, who is also the minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development, further points to the need for developing a framework for a Drone Rules Management System.

Such a framework would help to coordinate operating rules on drones across all levels of government and the National Drone Detection Network. McCormack says:

This will detect drone activity to address security risks and support enforcement of other rules such as safety and airspace regulations.

At DroneDJ, we have regularly reported on the incredible drone opportunities already being explored or trailed in Australia. These include the use of drones to deliver medical items, scientists leveraging thermal drones to count flying foxes, and the support drones provide to firefighting efforts.

McCormack also acknowledges the use of drone innovation and technology can unlock potential economic development and job growth as he sums up:

The jobs, the economic stimulus, and other social benefits drones could have for industries such as agriculture, as well as regional communities, are transformational.

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