The award-winning system is the Intelligent Recovery System, which gives unmanned aerial vehicles the capability to autonomously locate a suitable landing area and land without the use of GPS, remote piloting or external systems.
BAE said the system uses visual or image-based clues when a landing strip -- or even a moving platform such as a ship -- is visible and then develops algorithms for a safe landing.
"This technology means UAVs can safely land in emergency situations without assistance -- an innovation that not only protects the UAV and offers increased reliability, but has the potential to save lives," BAE Systems Chief Executive David Allott said.
"The Intelligent Recovery System sets a new benchmark in autonomy for UAVs and it's a testament to our highly skilled engineers that this cutting-edge work has been recognized with the inaugural National Defense Industry Innovation Award."
The award was announced at the Australian International Airshow.
The IRS is installed on BAE Systems Australia's Kingfisher 2 UAV system.