The call is out to finally save Outback Joe

With the technology to safely fly robotic aircraft in Australian skies expected to be developed by the end of 2014, competition in the next Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Challenge will be hotter than ever.

CSIRO and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are leading research into the development of robotic aircraft systems and Professor Duncan Campbell, Director of the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) at QUT said the UAV Challenge was instrumental in driving forward research and the general public’s understanding of unmanned flight.

Teams from around the World will come together in September 2014 in Kingaroy, Queensland, to search for lost bushwalker, Outback Joe. Their mission is to fly their robotic aircraft over a large search area, find Outback Joe and drop him a package containing 500ml of lifesaving water.

Fitted with onboard cameras, the unmanned aircraft relay vision back to their teams enabling their controllers to guide them into completing the rescue task before returning to Kingaroy airport. The team that gets the water bottle the closest will win $50,000.

CSIRO ICT Centre Research Program Leader, Dr Jonathan Roberts said that despite the UAV  Challenge running since 2007, no team had yet managed to win the Search and Rescue Challenge and claim the grand prize.

“A few teams have come very close to completing the UAV Challenge, and we know of dozens of teams getting ready for 2014, but it is still a real challenge and who knows if 2014 will be the year that it is finally completed,” he said.

The UAV Challenge also consists of a high-school competition called the Airborne Delivery Challenge.

This is an annual event with a prize pool of $10,000. The next Airborne Delivery Challenge event will  be held at Calvert, West of Ipswich, Queensland, on 24-25 September 2013.
The UAV Challenge –Outback Rescue is a joint initiative between CSIRO, QUT, AUVS-Australia and
Aviation Development Australia Limited.
Follow the challenge on social media:
Twitter: @uavchallenge or follow #uavchallenge
Facebook Page:

For more information contact Dr Jonathan Roberts on 0477 309 286 or Professor Duncan Campbell on 0419 121 413 or email [email protected]

Photos of the 2012 UAV Challenge can be found at

Media contacts: Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901 [email protected]
Daniel Chamberlain, CSIRO Communication Advisor, 02 9372 4491 or 0477 708 849, [email protected]