Researchers aim to meet the challenge of the increasing severity and frequency of wildfires with an IoT network assisted by unmanned limited distance UAVs that can maximize coverage of large-scale regions.
Detailed in the paper, The Role of UAV-IoT Networks in Future Wildfire Detection, researchers from the Technology Innovation Institute and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, claim that a mix of sensors and UAVs can potentially improve fire detection under limited budgets and prevent false alarms.
The abstract states: ‘At Any time after the fire ignition, the IoT devices within a limited distance from the fire can detect it. These IoT devices can then report their measurements to nearby UAVs [offering] a faster and more reliable wildfire detection solution state of the art satellite imaging techniques’.
IoT, UAVs, and satellite imaging
Osama Bushnaq, KAUST PhD graduate, told The Engineer: Deploying a massive number of low-cost IoT sensors through the forest allows for early wildfire detection at the sensor level. However, inexpensive sensors do not have the battery or computational power to communicate a fire detection event across a massive IoT network to the fire control center. To guarantee that IoT devices are low cost and have a simple structure, UAVs can be utilized.”
Bushnaq also stated that although their mixture of IoT sensors and UAVs can detect wildfires faster than satellite imaging, it would be “complementary” and best suited to high-risk regions, “such as near human settlements and national parks”.
IoT, part of the automation movement lauded by the UK Government as the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), refers to a network of physical objects embedded with technologies expressly for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data.
The need for aerial firefighting has never been greater. You can find out more about the forthcoming AirMed&Rescue firefighting roundtable, featuring experts from Erickson, Dauntless Air, and Intterra, on 20 July 2021.