Boeing has tested its newest autonomous technology at the first commercial drone flight testing facility of Australia, which is located at Cloncurry Airport in Queensland, Australia.

The testing took place over ten days and the company used five high-performance surrogate jets, which were equipped with the technology.

The testing was supported by a A$14.5m investment from the Government of Australia.

The funds were used for the design, construction and support of the drone test facility’s foundation stage at Cloncurry Airport.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Steven Miles said: “Australia’s first commercial drone flight testing centre is officially open for business at Cloncurry Airport.

“The construction phase of this state-of-the-art testing facility for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) supported more than 100 direct jobs in the region, including five new apprenticeships.

“The facility is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and includes a hangar, buildings for office space and monitoring equipment, range control systems, a surveillance radar and amenities.

“The centre has now hosted its first test flights, by aerospace giant Boeing. Boeing Australia tested their advanced autonomy project, including brain-on-board technology over ten days in Cloncurry, flying up to five high-performance test aircraft in a team for the first time.”

QinetiQ was selected for the design and construction of the facility. The company also set up the flight test range and oversaw the foundation stage of the drone testing facility.

QinetiQ Australia managing director Greg Barsby said that the range will support the weight classes of UAS to carry out routine flying operations, demonstration activities and test and evaluation trials.