High-tech drones able to spot weeds, pests and disease among research to benefit from funding



HIGH-TECH drones able to spot weeds, pests and disease from the air will be among the research initiatives set to benefit from an $8.75 million injection into science and innovation.

Resembling oversized remote controlled spiders, the strategic reconnaissance drones were road tested with mixed success in the Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens this morning by Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker.

The occasion coincided with an announcement by Mr Walker of funding for projects that can assist Queensland’s future economic growth.

“Part of the funding will go towards turning good ideas into real achievable, commercial outcomes,” said Mr Walker.

“That’s been the outcome this government has been seeking to achieve.”

Sisters Dr Cheryl and Dr Alison McCarthy welcomed the Accelerate Fellowships program funding which they said would help deliver the drones they are developing at the University of Southern Queensland.

Dr Cheryl McCarthy said there was limited access to traditional fellowship programs and the new funding programs would be vital to delivering new technology.

“I’m thrilled the Newman Government has recognised how important it is to support new and early career researchers working at the cutting edge,” she said.

Mr Walker said anything that promoted the government’s “four pillars of the economy” would be viewed favourably.

“You’d wonder how IT or innovation could help tourism but at the Q-Destination forum, the Grey Nomads said they could do with more Apps on their phones to help them find their way around Queensland, to public facilities, to caravan parks and so on,” he said.

“So there’s always ways that innovation can help.”

More information on the Accelerate Queensland Science and Innovation Program can be found at www.qld.gov.au/science