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Nationaler Zweitplatzierter


Rainpiper is an autonomous drone swarm that fights forest fires.

Was es macht

Rainpiper drones fight forest fires by spraying extinguishing agent over the active fire front. The drones are transported and refilled from nearby platforms, ensuring a continuous flow of water around the clock, even in bad weather and difficult terrain.

Deine Inspiration

The inspiration for this project comes from the scientific paper "Drone Swarms in Fire Suppression Activities: A Conceptual Framework" from the University of Genoa, Italy. They developed logistical concepts for firefighting drones and simulated different scenarios to evaluate the value of such a concept. In a typical Mediterranean scenario, 120 drones, each carrying 20 liters, can extinguish about 70-75 linear meters of active fire front. The configuration of the drones remains very vague, which revealed an opportunity for me to look at this issue from a designer's point of view.

So funktioniert es

When Rainpiper is called out on a mission, one or more Rainpiper platforms transport the folded drones to the base of operations. Each platform can transport up to forty drones. From the platform, the drones can successively take off and fly the last kilometres to the active fire front. Each hydrogen-powered drone has a flight time of up to eight minutes. After spraying their extinguishing agent over the forest fire, the drone returns to the platform for refilling. Within one minute, the extinguishing agent and hydrogen tanks are filled and the drone can take off for the next flight. This cycle repeats for all drones until the fire is extinguished or the mission goal is achieved.


I developed this project as part of my master's thesis at Magdeburg-Stadenal University of Applied Sciences. The design process began with research in various areas. I investigated the practicality and utility of forest fire fighting drones. I have been studying about forest fires and how they are fought in different countries. I investigated and evaluated different drone capacities, drone types, take-off and landing procedures, extinguishing agents, propulsion systems, rotor sizes and platform capacities. After deciding on a concept, setting all the parameters, and calculating the technical specifications, I began designing the platform, as it would determine many aspects of the drone design. Then I started to design the basic shape and proportions of the drone and determined the position and shape of all technical parts. I incorporated a basic user interface and interaction both on the ground and in the air, and specified materials and colors. I simulated various parts to test loading and created foam models to verify the real size and proportions of the drone. For my final presentation, I created renderings and animations to show and explain the concept and design of the project.

Warum es anders ist

What is special about this project is that it is one of the first to explore autonomous solutions for fighting forest fires. Due to climate change and global warming, forest fires are becoming an increasingly important issue all over the world. Because of this, more and more emergency services have to put themselves in danger by fighting forest fires at close range. There are special areas of operation where conventional fire fighting methods cannot be used, either because of too great a risk (for example, areas contaminated with munitions) or because of a lack of infrastructure (for example, bad or no roads or no water source nearby). However, Rainpiper not only protects the lives of emergency personnel and enables operations in difficult areas, but also frees human resources.

Pläne für die Zukunft

Rainpiper is a prospect of what forest fire fighting may look like in the future. But implementing this project will first require a lot of research and development work, in addition to large investments in fleets of these drones. Autonomous drones are just in their early stages, so their use in many scenarios is still unexplored. But this project can help kick off and advance the development of autonomous drones in the civilian sector.


Nominated for Bestform Award Sachsen Anhalt 2023

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