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Autonomous Aerial Firefighting - Pelletization with RAIN

Project type

University Project


March 2024



As a part of his ME170 Senior Capstone, Jeewoo and other students from Stanford University partnered with Rain, a Bay Area startup pioneering a wildfire intelligence network for autonomous aircraft, to improve the efficacy of aerial firefighting. As the frequency and severity of forest fires continue to escalate, it is imperative to manage their deleterious risks to human health and the environment through enhanced suppression efforts.

Traditional aerial firefighting methods suffer from significant inefficiencies, with up to 45% of water volume lost to atomization and evaporation during drops. Thus, our mission is to maximize the delivery of a water payload to a targeted drop zone. We have achieved this by developing a beta version of a manufacturing process that produces water pellets that can survive helicopter flight conditions, burst on ground contact from a targeted drop height, and naturally biodegrade. Our pellets exhibit a predictable spread rate and concentrated delivery with no atmospheric losses, rendering them an effective tool for combating wildfires from the sky.

For further information or final report for this project, please reach out to me at

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