Skip to main content
Start of main content

North Australia Centre for Autonomous Systems (NACAS)


Current research and student opportunities
Image: Man sitting and working on a drone

What we're working on

Current research projects 


Advanced manufacturing

The CDU-RMIT Industry 4.0 TestLab will enhance advanced manufacturing in the Northern Territory by improving the skills and capabilities of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to rise to the future technological and workforce needs of Australia’s defence and aerospace industries.

Located at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus, the TestLab will enable students, researchers, and SMEs to construct, test, and flight simulate UAS using the latest manufacturing technologies.

Image of people in a manufacturing testlab

Drones for health

The Drones for Health project, funded by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments, looks at using drone technologies for medical delivery in remote communities in northern Australia.

Using drones for medical delivery will significantly impact remote communities by reducing the time it takes for medical goods to get delivered, and significantly reduce transportation costs.

A new research and training centre for drones, The North Australia Centre for Autonomous Systems (NACAS), has been established for the first time in the Territory at Charles Darwin University (CDU). Photo:

Ghost nets

This recently funded project from the Australian Government as part of the Ghost Nets Innovative Solutions Grants.

The project will use drones and artificial intelligence software routines to identify and quantify the volume of marine debris from remote and difficult to access coastlines.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) will develop the capacity for long-distance uncrewed autonomous aircraft to identify and map the distribution of ghost-nets across the Groote Archipelago to assist in their retrieval by the Anindilyakwa Land and Sea Rangers.

Student opportunities

Integrating aerial drone systems into your undergraduate or higher degree research program.

The application of aerial drone systems is transforming the fields of:

  • environmental sciences
  • conservation
  • agriculture
  • civil engineering
  • construction
  • logistics of search and rescue
  • supply chains
  • surveillance and security
  • emergency and disaster response.


Image of two females at the testlab

These emerging technologies and their integration with artificial intelligence are only going to increase in the future. Learning how to use aerial drone systems and effectively process and integrate the data they collect is going to be an invaluable skill across a wide range of vocations. 


Image of a man holding a drone up in front of his face

The North Australia Centre for Autonomous Systems is engaged in the application of aerial drone systems across many industries and sectors relevant to North Australia. We have a large fleet of fixed-wing and rotor-copter drones, as well as a wide range of sensors (thermal, multi-spectral, hyper-spectral) to suit most applications.

The Centre has a core staff of aviation experts to solve the logistical, regulatory, analytical, and technical challenges that novel research generates. These are combined with academic experts in artificial intelligence, ecology, image analysis, optimisation theory, remote sensing, control systems, advanced composites, and transport law.

If you are interested in integrating these game-changing technologies into your degree, Honours, Masters or PhD thesis, then please get in touch with the team.

Contact us 



Find out more about NACAS

  • Image of NACAS team

    Our people

    Meet the dedicated and skilled team behind the North Australia Centre for Autonomous Systems (NACAS).

    Let's go
  • Image of a drone flying in a sunset

    North Australia Centre for Autonomous Systems (NACAS)

    Our centre conducts integrated industry-focused research into the application of autonomous systems across industries, businesses, and other sectors in northern Australia and the Asia Pacific regions. 

    Learn more

 Contact us

If you have any questions, send us an email.

General enquiries

TestLab enquiries

Back to top