Queensland is emerging as a leader in the global drone industry, with the announcement of a new drone research centre for the state and the annual World of Drones Congress returning to Brisbane in August.

The Australian Government announced late last year that a $50 million centre to research drones and robotics for Australia’s defence forces would have its headquarters in Brisbane.

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems will bring together the best researchers from industry and universities to develop smart-machine technologies for the Australian army, navy and air force.

Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the decision to base the CRC in Queensland was a vote of confidence in the state’s world-leading innovation and technology capability.

‘This centre will draw together industry, researchers and local businesses to work with Defence to develop new technologies for drones and other unmanned vehicles,’ Ms Jones said.

‘This will develop a critical mass in key technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous vehicles, and will position Queensland as a global leader in these areas.’

The CRC will initially focus on three research projects in the land, maritime and aerospace domains, led by private-sector companies BAE Systems, Thales Australia and Lockheed Martin. Working with them will be researchers from a number of Australian universities, including Queensland’s QUT and Griffith University.

Queensland will also be the focus for the international drone industry when the annual World of Drones Congress returns to Brisbane from 8 to 11 August this year.

The congress brings together drone industry leaders, researchers, regulators and businesses from around the world to explore the latest in drone technology, applications and challenges.

Last year’s inaugural World of Drones Congress in Brisbane attracted more than 630 international delegates and featured a speaker program, drone expo, tournament and outreach program.

This year’s congress is now calling for submissions from potential conference presenters and inviting sponsor and exhibitor applications.

Earlybird registrations for the congress are also open.

The defence and aerospace sector is identified as an emerging export priority in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.