Course Title: Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

Course Coordinator: Dr Reece Clothier

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7007

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) represent the fastest growing segment of the Aerospace industry having demonstrated many beneficial roles in civil and military applications. While UAS appear to have many elements in common with conventionally piloted aircraft, there are many unique aspects to their design, manufacture, maintenance, operation and application. This course will explore many of the technical and contemporary issues surrounding the engineering and operation of UAS. A substantial component of this course is problem-based hands-on learning, where you gain real experience of the challenges in the engineering design, manufacture, and operation of a small UAS.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes:

1. Needs, Context and Systems

  • Exposit legal, social, economic, ethical and environmental interests, values, requirements and expectations of key stakeholders
  • Identify and assess risks (including OH&S) as well as the economic, social and environmental impacts of industry activities


2. Problem Solving and Design

  • Anticipate the consequences of intended action or inaction and understand how the consequences are managed collectively by your organisation, project or team
  • Develop and operate within a hazard and risk framework appropriate to industry activities


3. Analysis

  • Apply underpinning natural, physical and applied sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer and information sciences.


4. Professional Practice

  • Understand the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary industry practice in the specific discipline
  • Apply systematic approaches to the conduct and management of industry projects


5. Research

  • Develop creative and innovative solutions to industry challenges 


Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Characterise the components of an unmanned aircraft system and the broad range of factors influencing their design, performance, and application in various tasks.  
  2. Categorise and develop plans to manage the primary safety risks associated with UAS operations and relate the current aviation safety regulations to how they apply to the design, manufacture, maintenance and operation of unmanned aircraft systems.
  3. Develop and apply knowledge to the advanced design of a small unmanned aircraft system to achieve a pre-defined performance.
  4. Identify, describe and discuss management plans for the broader social, political, legal and economic issues to autonomous aviation systems

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn through a mix of lectures, laboratories/tutorials, quizzes, and a team assignment. You will be required to undertake self-directed research as part of the assessment tasks. Face-to-face lectures will be used to introduce theoretical concepts and as a forum for encouraging engineering discussion. Laboratory experiments and tutorials will provide practical demonstration and reinforcement of the theoretical concepts presented in the lectures. The laboratories and assignment will provide you with hands on experience in the design and operation of a small UAS. A quiz will be held during the semester to ensure you are progressively revising course materials. Further, and subject to the availability of local industry, you will have the opportunity to gain real world exposure to the engineering, operation and through life support of UAS through guest lectures from professionals in the UAS industry.

Overview of Learning Resources

All course-related resources will be provided on the “myRMIT Studies” / Blackboard website. These will include course notes, and other learning materials generated by the lecturer(s), references, and approved links to useful material on external websites. The intent is to support flexible and student-directed learning as much as possible. Whilst the primary teaching method is through face-to-face lectures, where possible, all course materials (inclusive of weekly lecture slides, lecture recordings (when available), case studies, tutorials, related readings and some assessment items) will be made available to you via the course myRMIT Studies / Blackboard website. There are no prescribed texts for this subject. Links to online articles, e-Reserve or eBooks will be provided via the course myRMIT Studies / Blackboard website.

Overview of Assessment


X This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).


Assessment tasks


Early Assessment Task: Test

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 4.

Assessment Task 2: Laboratory report

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 4.

Assessment Task 3: Group assignment

Weighting 50%

The assessment task supports CLOs 1 and 3.