Course Title: Engineering Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Engineering Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities. 

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance: 

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2016


Bundoora Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018

Course Coordinator: Dr. Alex Fisher

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6144

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 251.03.065

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). 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.

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.(;ID=eyj5c0mo77631)


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes of the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours):

  • In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline
  • Knowledge of contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline
  • Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources

Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course you should be able to:

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

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities can include lectures, laboratories, tutorials, class quizzes, project report and build demonstration. Laboratory experiments will provide practical demonstration and reinforcement of the theoretical concepts presented in the lectures. You will be required to undertake self-directed research as part of the laboratory and design and build assessment tasks. You will also be expected to interpret and analyse data from laboratory experiments. Laboratories will also provide students with hands-on experience in the operation of component-systems and a small UAS. Through the design and build project, you will gain exposure to the engineering, operation and through life support of UAS. Additional online learning, and directed problem-solving activities will be achieved through the assessment and tutorial tasks.

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided on the course Blackboard, which can be accessed through myRMIT. Online resources can include lecture material, supplementary course notes, tutorial sheets, assessment items, and references.

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Preliminary Design Report and Airframe Build Demonstration (group)
Weighting 15%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 and 3
Assessment Task 2: Sensors Lab Report (group) Weighting 10% This assessment task supports CLOs 1 and 3
Assessment Task 3: Controlled Hover Demonstration (group) Weighting 5% This assessment task supports CLOs 1 and 3. 
Assessment Task 4: Final Report (group) Weighting 20% This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 and 4
Assessment Task 5: Flight Mission Performance Demonstration (group) Weighting 20% This assessment task supports CLOs 1 and 3. 
Assessment Task 5: Final Quiz (individual) Weighting 30% This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, and 4