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Drones and bushfire capability

Improving national coordination of Australia’s drone research and operational capability to support bushfire risk reduction practices

Emerging aviation technologies for natural disaster risk reduction purposes in Australia have increased substantially in recent years, with fire and emergency services trialling and integrating drone technologies into their bushfire response practices. 

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts recently received funding under the Disaster Risk Reduction Package from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to support work aiming to reduce the risk and impact of bushfires in Australia. The department has engaged the ANU-Optus Bushfire Research Centre of Excellence and Firetech Connect to undertake the project. 

The project will:

  • Deliver an emerging aviation technology bushfire research strategy and operational implementation pathway
  • Build clarity on intended use cases for drones in the reduction of risk and impact of bushfires in Australia 
  • Identify and recommend research priorities to further enhance national capability to respond to bushfires in the future 
  • Bridge the gap between research institutions and fire and emergency services on the ground and support them to articulate their research needs

A final report is expected in 2024, and will establish a shared baseline for drone capability across fire services in Australia and highlight capability gaps requiring further research. 

For more information about the project, contact