Student funded
Industry Mentor:
Christopher McFarland
Amazon Prime Air
Faculty Adviser:
Dr. Bechet Acikmese
Dr. Lilo Pozzo
  • Dilraj Bal
  • Kibaek Jeong
  • Lenny Lin
  • Hirotoshi Maeda
  • Anya Raj
  • Longji Yan
SWARM FX team, links to a larger image
The swarm fx team
The team at EIC
icon of workspace preparations linking to larger image
workspace preparations
The SWARM FX team beginning vehicle assembly.
icon of student building drone linking to larger image
student building drone
LJ Yan building our first test drone.
Icon of installed gps linking to larger image
installed gps
The GPS is installed on the SWARM FX test quadcopter, Buddy1.
icon of student testing gps and rpi linking to larger image
student testing gps and rpi
Hiro Maeda gets the GPS and RPI up and running.
icon of business plan linking to larger image
business plan
A technical development graphic used for the Environmental Innovation Challenge.
icon of student looking at computer linking to larger image
student looking at computer
LJ tests quadcopter simulations.
icon of yaw simulation linking to larger image
yaw simulation
Simulation of our Tarot Mini.

The SwarmFX team consists of 6 seniors in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department and 5 seniors in the Chemical Engineering department. The team worked to design a fleet of integrated drones to assist fire departments in combating wildfires through suppression and imaging. For proof of concept, the team developed a prototype drone that can carry a 5 kg tank of propellant.

Christopher McFarland
Industry Mentor:
Christopher McFarland

Christopher McFarland completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2012. He currently works for Amazon where he designs control algorithms for novel unmanned aerial vehicles. His primary interest in this project is in the opportunity to help students identify the challenges and successful strategies for unmanned aerial vehicle design.

Student Funded

In addition to the $100 per person provided by the UW A&A and Chemical Engineering departments, SwarmFX sought out funding from competitions at the UW Foster School of Business, namely the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge and the Business Plan Competition. We received $6000 of prototype seed funding from the EIC. We applied for the NSF iCorps grant to obtain funding specifically for visiting potential customers, and used the $2500 we received to travel to various state and federal organizations.

Meeting potential customers and having the opportunity to engage in business development aspects of the project through the EIC and BPC inspired us to continue working on SwarmFX after graduation by launching a start up company. We will be seeking further funding through the Jones + Foster Accelerator, SBIR and DARPA grants, and private investors.

SwarmFX has advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the BPC.

Contacts & Website: