2012 Finalists

Compass UAV

are taking the UAV outback challenge


CompassUAV’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) consists of a 2.2 meter, highly efficient, electric flying wing with remote payload capabilities.

Our UAV uses an Autopilot supplied by 3DRobotics, a custom safety system, an onboard image processing and recognition system, and multiple communication links to allow a highly reliable, high-speed data link to our UAV throughout flight.

The onboard systems are integrated through our custom Interface Backplane that allows for the monitoring and management of the onboard systems through one hardware interface. A stabilised high-resolution camera coupled with the autopilot provides high resolution, geographically tagged imagery of the Search and Rescue mission area.



Kingaroy — QLD

View in Google Maps
  • Mission Boundary
  • Search Area
X8 UAV Mission Boundary and Search Area

The Challenge

Develop a UAV that can find and deliver a lifesaving package to a bush walker lost in a 2 km2 area, more than 7 km away from the Kingaroy Airport, in under 60 minutes.

To make the UAV Challenge more difficult, each team’s UAV must be fully autonomous. This means no human interaction as the UAV takes off, flies to the search area, flies a search pattern, takes images of the ground, processes the images to find the lost bush walker, sends the images of anyone found back to the ground team for confirmation, deliver the payload as close as possible to the bush walker, fly back to the airport and land safely.

The UAV Challenge is one of the largest international UAV competitions in the world, seeing 88 teams from 26 counties currently due to compete in September, 2014. The challenge is an initiative of QUT, Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA), Queensland Government and the CSIRO.

UAV Challenge Website

The Team

CompassUAV is comprised of seven team members with backgrounds ranging from electrical, electronic, avionic, mechanical and software engineering, all with a keen interest in both Avionics and UAS.

CompassUAV entered into both the 2010 and 2012 UAV Challenges, and in 2012 were one of only four teams to compete in the competition flight. CompassUAV will be building on the development and experiences gained over the past 4+ years working on UAVs as a team. Lessons learnt at the conclusion of the 2012 competition highlighted the key requirement that the quality and extent of testing of each entry is greatly underestimated.

  • Adam
  • Tyler
  • Sean
  • Ben
  • Chris
  • Jeff
  • Alex


  • Following the 2012 UAV Challenge, CompassUAV was featured in two television programs for the Documentary team of Channel Ten; Robots in Flight, and Scope. The Challenge was also reported by ABC News and The 7:30 Report.
  • The UAV Challenge was reported across the globe through news sources including the Sydney Morning Herald, the Wall Street Journal, Aviation Business, The Register and sUASNews.
  • The 2014 UAV Challenge currently has four sponsors, and three supporters: Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman, Boeing Research and Technology, MathWorks, Queensland Government, UAS Pacific and AAUS.

Our Sponsors

  • North East Business Park
  • Digital8
  • Autostrada
  • iPCB
  • ICandE
  • MathWorks
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