1 Apr 2023

Exceptional Flight Performance Displayed at Singapore Amazing Flying Machine Competition 2023

Guest of Honour, Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State for Defence in a group photo with the demonstration teams

Singapore, 1 April 2023 –The Singapore Amazing Flying Machine Competition 2023 (SAFMC) Awards Ceremony was held today at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Now in its fourteenth edition, SAFMC 2023 saw its highest participation rate to date at 1981 participants, with over 600 teams competing across 5 different categories.

SAFMC offers one of the most unique hands-on learning experiences beyond the classroom. Participants will embark on a 3-month journey to strengthen their problem solving skills, research and design their own flying machines, and present their big idea before a panel of judges. Their hard work was showcased during Challenge Week, where they demonstrated the capability of their flying machines.

The evaluation criteria included the aircraft’s flair, design, functionality, application of aerodynamics principles, and the participants’ presentation skills.

Setting new records

Primary school participants continued to push the boundaries of flight, breaking 2 new records in the Category A: Paper Planes challenge. A team from Hong Kong (Pun U Association Wah Yan Primary School) recorded the farthest flight of 40 metres, breaking the previous record of 32 metres set in 2018. The winning team from Tao Nan Primary also set a time aloft record of 9.09 seconds, beating the previous record of 8.22 seconds set in 2021.

The Category C3 (FPV Flight - Advance) champion from Singapore Polytechnic entered the challenge with a self-designed lightweight racing drone which weighed just half of standard racing drones. At only 40 grams, his drone is able to achieve higher speed while still maintaining manoeuvrability which are critical features that set himself apart from the competition.

Stronger participation in advanced categories

SAFMC 2023 saw an almost two-fold increase in participants in the enhanced categories, namely Category D1: Semi-Autonomous Drones, Category D2: Autonomous Drones and Category E: Swarm. Many are returning teams who are coming back with new and improved technical solutions to compete. This shows that our participants are continuously looking to improve on their innovation, and challenge themselves to perform better each year.

The winning team for Category D1 is a brother and sister team from Singapore Polytechnic. This is their third time participating in this category, and they adopted the glove wearable to control their drone. Their flying machine managed to complete the course in the shortest time of just over 2 minutes.

For Category E, the winning team from Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), cleared their mission of searching an indoor area for victim markers. The team cleverly devised a divide-and-conquer strategy, splitting the swarm to search different areas. They are the only team to locate a victim marker placed in a room which is only accessible via windows.

Guest of Honour, Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State for Defence, presented the awards to championship teams, and witnessed the creativity and ingenuity that the teams displayed through a live demonstration.

Mr Heng highlighted in his keynote address, "A society can only be as innovative as its people. Hence, competitions like the SAFMC are important to imbue a sense of wonder and discovery in participants embarking on their own innovation journey."

Mr Cheong Chee Hoo, Chief Executive Officer of DSO, was impressed with the quality of the competition this year, "SAFMC is designed to open up their world and excite them with new found knowledge and ideas. Judging from the incredible teams and their performances today, I am inspired by their thirst for learning and am positive that their can-do spirit will hold them in good stead in their innovation journey ahead."

Since 2009, SAFMC has served as a launch pad for Singapore's defence research and development talent, providing opportunities beyond the classroom for students to further their knowledge and passion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.


About DSO National Laboratories

DSO National Laboratories (DSO) is Singapore’s national defence research and development organisation. For the past 5 decades, DSO has been undertaking indigenous development of advanced defence and weapon systems that provide the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) with the superior technological edge in the battlefield. While its primary focus is to support the SAF, DSO also extends its defence R&D capabilities to support homeland security.

With more than 1,600 research scientists and engineers, DSO investigates emerging technologies, matures promising ones and integrates them into innovative system concepts to meet Singapore’s defence and security needs. For more information, please visit www.dso.org.sg