In Fall 2013, UCI students Thomas K. Hamilton, Dane Wright, and Oleg Bannikov bonded over their shared interest in drones. With help from Professor Robert Liebeck of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, the students decided to create their own drone design project. These students were inspired by the goals of a 2011-2012 competition called UAVForge, a collaboration by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SSC Atlantic).
UAVForge challenged people to design, build, and program an affordable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that would perform fully autonomous surveillance missions up to three hours over a 2 mile distance, identify objects of interest from 100 feet away, send real-time footage or pictures of the observed area, have VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capabilities, be designed to fit and be carried inside a backpack . More than 140 teams participated in the competition and only nine finalist teams were chosen to perform in a flight demonstration event at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Unfortunately, none of finalists were able to complete the baseline mission scenario.
Though the competition was discontinued, the four UCI students aimed to meet the goals of the DARPA competition by creating a namesake senior design project, UAV Forge.
Starting Fall 2017, UAV Forge is pursuing a new competition called SUAS by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Seafarer Chapter. The AUVSI SUAS competition is held at Webster Field, St. Inigoes, Maryland of the Naval Air Station (NAS) during June 13-16, 2018. The competition requirements will be used as constraints for design, practicality and feasibility.
The primary objective is to determine the most optimal UAV design that can accomplish the AUVSI SUAS competition requirements and present our work at the competition in St. Inigoes, Maryland. With extensive research, training, and testing, it is our goal to be placed within the top 20 ranks.
To accomplish our goal, we must complete the three following deliverables: the Mission Demonstration, Technical Design Paper, and the Flight Readiness Review.
Our overall team score is determined by the averaged points received for these deliverables. Below are the details of the deliverables:
Mission Demonstration (60%) – On-site flight demonstration
Object Detection, Classification, Localization
Technical Design Paper (20%) – Documentation on UAV design
Systems Engineering Approach
Safety, Risks, & Mitigations
Flight Readiness Review (20%) – Proof of UAV flight qualifications
Experience, Roles, Responsibilities
System Overview & Planned Tasks
UAV Forge contributes to the growing number of multidisciplinary senior design projects in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, such as HyperXite, Solar Car, Modular CubeSat, and Robotic Arm. The project inspires innovation and team-work with students in Mechanical, Aerospace, Electrical, and Computer Engineering majors.The collaborative learning and cooperative work done in UAV Forge are key engineering management practices that future employers desire in young engineers. From the diverse working environment, students in the project will gain leadership experience, task management skills, and communication skills.
Overall, students learn about the primary applications for autonomous UAVs, which are to provide surveillance / reconnaissance capability and conduct to search-and-rescue tasks for frontline users in a law enforcement or military context without endangering personnel.
Name: Ariel Louie
Name: Che-Wei (Willy) Chang
Chief Engineer of EECS
Name: DeQuan Zhong
Chief Engineer of MAE
Name: Kristen Okano
Name: Ming Chen
Name: Matthew Novencido
Name: Patrick Chung
Name: Prad Tantiwuttipong
Ground Station Lead
Name: Kyle Krumrei
Name: Kenzo Spaulding
Name: Gabriel Mendez
Initial Project Information
Field of Interest
Aeronautics, Gudiance, Control, & Navigation, Mechanical Design
We design, build, test, and fly unmanned aerial vehicles dedicated to autonomous remote surveillance.
Maximum Number of Students