Projects promise to improve Australian road safety and aid in search and rescue missions

Projects promise to improve Australian road safety and aid in search and rescue missions

A vehicle safety monitoring system, a Hex Copter Drone and a river mapping system using sonar technology will be among innovative projects on display on Friday 31 October when UOW’s School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering (SECTE) hosts its annual Innovation Fair. 

Projects have been developed by second and third year Bachelor of Engineering students studying Engineering Design and Management. The fair will also feature poster presentations by fourth year and Postgraduate Research students. Students will be on hand to discuss their projects throughout the event. Many of the projects have an industry focus and students are keen to welcome comments and feedback from a wider general audience.

The Head of School, Professor Jiangtao Xi said: The Innovation Fair provides a unique opportunity for students to demonstrate the outcomes of their work. During the year, the second and third year students have had to work in teams to conceptualise, design, fund and manufacture the inventions, and they will market the products developed at this event.

“Fourth year and postgraduate students have worked on a particular research and development topic and they will also demonstrate the outcomes of their thesis work. The Innovation Fair will conclude with the announcement of the most popular displays as voted by members of the public and industry representatives.”

When: Friday, 31 October 2014 from 2pm–5pm (presentation and judging from 4.30pm)
Where: University URAC Sports Hub, University of Wollongong 
Further information: Contact the Subject Co-ordinator, Associate Professor Christian Ritz on +61 2 4221 5224 or Ms Eli Caballos on +61 2 4252 8879. 
Photo opportunities:  The best times for photos on Friday 31 October will be between 2.30 pm and 4pm. 


Vehicle Safety Monitoring System (VSMS)  
The Vehicle Safety Monitoring System (VSMS) is an innovative product that is primarily intended to monitor tyre wear, particularly on heavy vehicles. This is achieved through the use of a small sensor integrated into vehicles’ tyres. This sensor is only 3mm wide and 10mm long, and is powered wirelessly. The sensor monitors the tyres’ wear (tread remaining), temperature, and speed. This information is wirelessly transmitted from the sensors to a computer in the vehicle. The computer can then send this information to a remote server where it can be monitored. The driver can also view this information within the vehicle to determine if a tyre needs replacing.

The VSMS automatically informs drivers and transport company maintenance crews when tyre replacements are required ahead of time thus preventing drivers from continuing to drive on unsafe tyres. The VSMS allows maintenance to be scheduled automatically and enables just-in-time stocking of spare tyres. In addition, with the VSMS, tyres are only replaced when they have been used to their fill life – saving money by preventing premature replacement. The VSMS also uses GPS to locate the vehicle and this combined with the temperature sensor, allows transport companies to determine which routes wear tyres more than others, again presenting cost savings. Through monitoring tyre speed, transport companies can easily track their drivers’ speed – preventing speed limiter tampering. Ultimately, if adopted, the VSMS will prevent vehicle accidents due to insufficient tyre tread, or excessive vehicle speed (speed limiter tampering), thus saving lives on Australia’s roads.

Team contact person: Brenden Butters (+61 448 822 700).


The Hex Copter Drone is a six armed multi-copter with a wide range of features. These include the main feature of collision detection and avoidance, as well as additional features of GPS route guidance, live streaming of video, auxiliary sensors of temperature and humidity, and a purpose-built PC application that will control and monitor the device from a distance.

The market analysis indicates that the targeted markets are disaster relief, search and rescue, exploration, urban monitoring, and for hobbyists. The product will be competitively priced to give it an edge against similar devices, despite the competition having significantly less features. The team intends to unveil the device at the trade fair with regularly scheduled outdoor demonstrations throughout the day, accompanied by a large amount of footage of the device in action.

Team Contact person(s): Brendan Halloran and Jarrod Bailey.