Image: Supplied. (From left to right) Dario Valenza, Founder and CTO, Carbonix; Dr. Andrew Tridgell, ANU; Rowan Watkins, Pilot and Regulatory Specialist
Australian drone manufacturer Carbonix has been selected by the Australian National
University (ANU), in a competitive tender process, to provide a long endurance vertical take-off and
landing (VTOL) drone solution to be used for a five-year project, in collaboration with the ACT Rural
Fire Service (RFS), on the early detection of bushfires.
ANU will work in partnership with Carbonix to evaluate autonomous scout drones for bushfire ignition
detection and be part of the ANU-Optus Bushfire Research Centre of Excellence, co-funded by Optus
ANU has confirmed an order for a one-year Drone-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution with a Volanti
Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) solution with potential to purchase the longer-range
Domani ISR solution in 2022.
The Volanti will provide ANU a platform for the first phase of the bushfire project where testing of the
communication network, telemetry distance and ISR camera resolution is key.
Upon the successful completion of phase one, the two-hour flight endurance of the Volanti will be
replaced by the six+ hour flight endurance of the Domani which will also see the Extended Visual Line
of Sight operations (E-VLOS) capability upgraded to Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) capability.
“We are excited and honoured to work with ANU and the ACT RFS in this multi-year project which will,
hopefully, mitigate bushfire impact on communities and the environment by identifying bushfire
locations at an early stage,” said Carbonix CEO Stephen Pearce.
“We are pleased to provide ANU with our unique DaaS model, which aims at overcoming barriers to
entry by removing pain points associated with adopting aerial data solutions.”
We offer a bundled package on a subscription basis that includes the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
system and payload, training, maintenance and upgrades, compliance, even insurance, thus providing
a turnkey solution to ANU.”
Deputy Director of the ANU-Optus Bushfire Research Centre of Excellence Professor Robert
Mahony said ANU had a national role to take leadership in key challenges facing Australia and help
build sovereign capability to tackle those challenges.
“With the funding provided in the ANU-OPTUS Centre of Excellence we identified the importance of
drone surveillance in addressing catastrophic bushfires in Australia and built a research program to
develop and evaluate the technology and its capabilities,” he said.
“Carbonix was chosen in a competitive tender process to provide the aerial platform for the research
We are proud to support an Australian company and are working in partnership with them to build
sovereign capability in long range commercial drones within Australia.”
ANU follows a cohort of high-profile early-adopters, including Hitachi, Harvard University and NSW
energy provider Ausgrid, which have utilised Carbonix aerial data capture solutions for environmental,
conservational and bushfire prevention missions.