3703. DRIFT: Drone-Rover Integrated Fire Tracker System


SAWE Members get a $200 store credit each year.*

Become a SAWE Member

*Store credit coupon available at checkout, click the button in your shopping cart to apply the coupon.
Not applicable to SAWE textbooks and current conference technical papers.


Nur Rashid, Syaminmah Deen, Amber Bishop, Daniel Collins, Brandon Cott, Samantha Growley, Pierce Lieberman, Kelsey Owens, Anthony Stanco, Matthew Stoffle, Nick Wiemelt: 3703. DRIFT: Drone-Rover Integrated Fire Tracker System. 2018.



Wildfire reconnaissance and mitigation efforts are a primary concern for the United States Department of the Interior and National Forest Service. The critical consequences of climate change are becoming more prevalent with longer fire seasons throughout the Western United States [1]. The fire seasons are characterized by hotter and drier conditions, allowing for a wildfire to easily start and rapidly spread with the potential to burn millions of acres and cause billions of dollars in property loss. The National Forest Service (NFS) predicts that it will spend over half of its budget in the fight against wildfires within the next decade [2]. Wildfires can have devastating impacts on communities, ecosystems and wildlife, but also pose a dangerous threat to the fire fighters responsible for their mitigation and containment. A Mother Rover-Child Drone Firetracker System will assist firefighters by traveling to locations at risk of wildfire and gather environmental data which it then transmits back to the designated ground station. This provides information on a fire’s intensity, severity, and extent while firefighters remain a safe distance away from the threat. Team DRIFT is a group of eleven undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Sciences students at the University of Colorado Boulder currently developing the Mother-Rover for the Firetracker System with the purpose to secure and carry the Child Drone (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to a desired location of interest. The development of this Mother- Rover involves integrating the hardware and software of the already completed Child Drone and Landing Platform. The Mother Rover, approximately 46.3 by 58.9 inches, weighing 450 lbs and driven by a remote operator, is capable of traversing rough terrain, defined by small gravel, fine dirt, and slopes up to 20 degrees. Due to the image recognition system utilized on the landing platform for the autonomous landing of the Child Drone, the landing platform must be level to within 3.5 degrees in order for the child drone to safely take off and land. Therefore, the Mother Rover utilizes an internal leveling jack system to level in the landing platform to within 3.5 degrees if the child drone is to be deployed on a slope. The considerable weight of the Mother Rover presents a unique engineering challenge as it must be capable of traversing over the defined rough terrain while also maintaining the security of the onboard Child Drone. The design solution for this Mother Rover and associated leveling system will be discussed in this paper.


SKU: Paper3703 Category: