Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM)

What is Unmanned Traffic Management?

Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) describes a set of systems, services and procedures that will be developed to manage drone (unmanned aircraft systems/unmanned aerial vehicle/remotely piloted aircraft) operations in and around our cities.

From surveillance tasks and package delivery through to passenger transport, UTM will be essential in ensuring safe and efficient use of our airspace whilst opening up new exciting business opportunities.

Essentially, UTM is a new air traffic management for drones with high levels of automation, advanced decision making and control. This research aims to develop powerful and scalable UTM technologies that allow thousands of drones to operate safely in our skies alongside traditional aircraft.

Current Research Projects

This research topic contains multiple areas of investigation including:

Unlocking Urban Airspace for Drone Transport (ARC DECRA)  – Investigate manned and unmanned traffic modelling approaches for collision risk analysis to aid airspace design, airspace characterisation, automated flight approval, standards development and both strategic and tactical mitigation performance requirements
Near Real Time Air Traffic Configuration Modelling and Prediction – Investigate novel representations of air traffic movement, patterns and configurations using machine learning, Markov chains or other methods.
Controlling Drones on Aerial Networks – Investigate robust and stable control algorithms that enable multiple drones to coordinate their motion. Example applications include, formation flight, collision avoidance, platooning, flight along intersecting routes and through aerial networks


Active and past research, development and consultancy projects have been undertaken with Airservices Australia, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), TRAFICOM, Thales, AirMap, FlyFreely


Real World Impact

  1. UTM technologies developed by QUT are currently being trialed in Australia and Europe, with real drone operations being approved and managed in locations around Australia through our work with Airservices Australia and Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). See these links for more details: Brisbane Times, Drone Approval Trials, QUT Media
  2. UTM technologies have the potential to revolutionize not just how drones are managed, but conventionally aircraft as well. Proven UTM technologies are likely to be adapted and merged with current ATM systems and procedures.
  3. UTM technologies have natural parallels with other connected transport systems such as autonomous cars, trucks, ports etc. UTM technologies may also help to improve transport and logistics systems on a large scale, meeting the environmental, sustainablity an scalability needs of a growing world population.


Research Opportunities

  • Research Fellows/Assistant Opportunities (Currently Unavailable)
  • PhD Opportunities
  • Undergraduate Opportunities (Currently Unavailable)

Chief Investigators

Other Team Members

Rune Rassmussen Jenna Riseley Caelan Hilferty