AAUS is proud to recognise individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution to the Australian unmanned systems industry.

Over 120 nominations were received for the 5 award categories.  Our judging panel then assessed each nomination against the judging criteria and selected 4 finalists for each category before reaching a decision on the winners.

The winners were announced during the AAUS Gala Dinner held in Canberra on Wednesday July 17, 2019.  AAUS congratulates the winners and all nominees for your significant achievements.



The Leadership Award recognises individuals or organisations that lead the way with advocacy work that strives to improve the commercial and / or technological viability of the unmanned system industry.

Winner: LTCOL Keirin Joyce (Australian Army)

Recognised for his hard work and contribution to the Australian unmanned systems industry, LTCOL Joyce has spent the last 13 years in support of the Army Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) capability including deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently the Australian Army UAS Sub-Program Manager responsible for all Australian Army UAS activities. Keirin’s leadership has delivered remarkable, tangible benefits to the broader unmanned systems industry in Australia. So wide reaching and inspiring is his impact, when discussing unmanned systems in almost any context – Defence, Academia, Research, Industry, Professional Associations, Drone-Racing or STEM outreach programs, not only does everyone recognise Keirin, he is always the first person mentioned. Keirin has become the face of unmanned systems not only in Defence, but across the broader unmanned systems environment.   Critically, this is the result of his deep commitment to the entire capability ecosystem, recognising the importance in developing a STEM workforce of the future that enables future unmanned systems development, understanding the value of collaboration across the research and development environment – from blue sky research institutions, through incremental capability enhancement through current service providers and end-users, through to ultimately realising world-class, disruptive innovation.


The Innovation Award recognises organisations  that have designed a new product, a new service, a new production or manufacturing process contributing to the advancement of the unmanned systems industry.

Winner: SYPAQ Systems

L-R: Luke Aspinall, Ross Osborne and Amanda Holt of SYPAQ Systems. 

Sypaq systems have rapidly developed and matured, in a matter of only a few years, the Corvo Family of UAS, now including five different variants (micro fixed wing, multi-rotor, small fixed wing, small tactical and small precision payload delivery). They have done this completely in house: from requirements setting through to manufacture. The Family approach has leveraged efficiencies in sub-system commonality and allowed unique requirements to be implemented for unique capability delivery. Sypaq’s UAS development efforts, and resulting Corvo UAS Family is cutting edge in technology and unique from its competitors, and creatively solves problems in ways not demonstrated in other (global) solutions.


The Education & Safety Award recognises individuals or organisations who demonstrate leadership in educating the unmanned systems industry with particular emphasis of developing a safety-focussed culture.

Winner: Aviassist

L-R: Lydia King, Ross Anderson, Duncan French and Rowan Kimber of Aviassist. 

Established in 2008, Aviassist is a CASA certified company specializing in drone training.  Over the years, Aviassist has introduced several initiatives to increase the safety culture of individuals, organisations, and the broader RPAS community. These initiatives commenced a few years back when they developed a contextualised RPAS training syllabus prior when Private Pilots Licence theory was standard as part of a RePL The introduction of contextualised training facilitated mass adoption and has allowed hundreds of Australian companies to innovate with remote aircraft safely and efficiently.  In 2019 Aviassist invested in the introduction of powered lift training, becoming the first training organisation to do so. Before this, prospective remote pilots had to conduct a CASA flight test without any formal training.  When CASA introduced the excluded category, Aviassist created a training package for those operating in the excluded category. The key driver was to allow access to professional information and training for those utilising the new category.  Alongside training, Aviassist provides a support service for those that have trained with them. The support service provides a sounding board for those new to the aviation industry and utilising remote aircraft. In addition to the standard support, Aviassist provides mentoring to Chief Remote Pilots.  The key driver behind this program is to ensure that organisations can establish a good safety culture and excel in their use of remote aircraft.


The Humanitarian Achievement Award recognises individuals or organisations that demonstrate the role unmanned technologies can play in bettering our world.

Winner: Team Rubicon Australia

L-R: Dean West, Rich Adams and Thomas Detessier of Team Rubicon Australia

Team Rubicon Australia (TRA) is a volunteer disaster response organisation, uniting the experience and skills of military veterans with first responders to assist communities impacted by natural disasters.  In May 2018 TRA established a Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) program, to benefit both communities impacted by natural disasters and Australian military veterans. The humanitarian objectives of the program are twofold; firstly, to provide RPAS gathered data that enables communities, disaster management agencies and individuals to respond to and recover from natural disasters. And secondly, to support and train veterans, many of whom have struggled to adjust to life after leaving the military and who continue to suffer as a result of their experiences during their time in service. By providing them with a skill set which they can then use to benefit others, the TRA RPAS program has given them a greater sense of purpose, harnessing their skills and experience to help those in time of great need.  As a charity organisation, TRA provides this service and the resulting data at no cost. The entire team volunteers their time, be it for training or operations, often taking weeks off work, away from home and family, to assist wherever possible.  Over the past twelve months the TRA RPAS program has trained 12 veterans and deployed them on four operations, undertaking over 200 operational flights and capturing 12,000 post-disaster images in Indonesia and Australia, gathering actionable data across a range of events, including earthquake, tsunami, flood, bushfire and drought.


The NextGen Achievement Award recognises young individuals (under 35 yo) that demonstrate elite capability and leadership in their field within the unmanned systems sector.

Winner: Anthony Marsh (AirAssess)

Anthony has worked in the RPAS industry since 2014, ultimately taking the leap from his role as an Aerospace Engineering Officer in the RAAF/CASG in early 2015 to found three companies – Aeroeye, Swoop Aero and AirAssess. All three companies have been successful in their own right, however AirAssess is by far a standout. With his amazing team, Anthony has been able to provide information to insurers at a rate, scale and detail unparalleled. After building their proprietary platform, scaling their network and effectively ‘turning on’ in Sep 2018, AirAssess has seen incredible growth, having completed over 8,000 inspections across 900+ postcodes and surpassing multi-million-dollar revenues, with no external capital or financing. Anthony is also the CRP for Australia’s largest university, Monash University, working as part of the OH&S team to develop a university-wide RPAS governance framework. In addition to his business pursuits, Anthony is also incredibly passionate and active across the RPAS industry more holistically, volunteering a significant amount of his time to participate in several industry working groups, committees and events, including the Australian Industry Skills RPAS Technical Advisory Committee, CASA RPAS ReOC Non-Complex and ReOC BVLOS Sector Risk Profile workshops, CASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standards sub-Committee, ACUO Management Committee, Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board RPAS Standards Development Group, and as a witness to the RPAS Senate Inquiry, among others.