Dr Paul Pounds

University of Queensland

Drones are becoming an increasingly powerful tool, with tremendous potential to benefit society for everything from agricultural surveying to taking real-estate pictures. This increase use has led to a growing demand for longer endurance, bigger payloads and smoother flight. Dr Pounds’ work focuses on designing better flying robots to meet this need, ranging from more efficient miniature aircraft, to hovering drones with grippers, to new types of disposable drone.

Dr Pounds has developed a quadcopter that uses 15 percent less power by changing from four small, equal-sized rotors to a single large rotor with three tiny manoeuvring rotors. The tiny rotors are tilted slightly sideways to also act like a helicopter tail-rotor and control heading. This new configuration can be used anywhere a conventional quadcopter can – from fire and police services to surf-life saving and package delivery – but with improved performance.

Paul was a UNSW/ABC Top 5 Under 40 finalist and his work has featured in National Geographic and Popular Science. His work in developing assistive sporting aids for blind children appeared in ABC News and Radio 2RPH. Paul has also been an advisor for the UQ Racing Electric Vehicle team, NI Autonomous Robotics Competition team and DSTO Autonomous Ground Vehicle team.