Internet of trees: Now, AI can detect wildfires | Tech News

Internet of trees: Now, AI can detect wildfires

Wildfires destroy billions of dollars worth of property every year and tragically, cause numerous deaths too. Controlling wildfires, once they have spread, is almost impossible. However, AI can, presumably, help.

| Updated on: Aug 25 2023, 15:32 IST
AI sensors can now detect wildfires by smelling gases from fires even in early stages.
AI sensors can now detect wildfires by smelling gases from fires even in early stages. (Pexels)

In recent years, we have been bombarded with the devastating news of wildfires in various parts of the world. The impact that it brings is scary and affects tens of thousands of people, animals, vegetation and even our environment. They also destroy property worth billions of dollars. With global warming increasing, experts are concerned about increased heat waves, rising sea levels, ice melting, and more. We may not be experiencing the impact, yet but it's getting worse than ever.

In an effort to reduce the severity of wildfires, engineers have come up with new solutions and technology that will detect wildfires even before it take place. With the help of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), experts have found a way to deal with such situations specifically in high-alert places. Check what the new fire tech is capable of.

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Firetech: AI sensor to detect wildfire

According to a report by the Next Web, a Germany-based telecommunication company called Dryad Networks has developed a technology that will enable firefighters to take early actions before the wildfire spreads and turns it into a really adverse situation that cannot be controlled. The company aims to reduce the detection time from hours to just a few minutes.

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The technology which is being called the “Internet of Trees” is being installed in various forest locations which detect the early stage of wildfires. As per reports, the sensor does not work like satellites, cameras, or watchtowers which discover the fire after it has spread to a huge area.

The AI sensor is powered by a solar panel and is being installed in a 1 hector radius of the forest which are alert regions for wildfires. The AI sensor will scan the nearby atmosphere and smell gases such as hydrogen and carbon monoxide in microscopic quantities to identify the early phases of any possible wildfire. The sensor is also equipped to measure temperature, humidity, and air pressure.

The report also explains that the sensor is equipped with machine learning algorithms that enable the sensor to detect different kinds of smell and differentiate which among them is the source of wildfire.

How AI sensors send alerts

Now, in dense forests where there is no single means of communication, how does the technology send alerts? If the sensors catch a fire, they send signals to the network hub called the mesh gateway. This gateway acts like a router, which transfers the data from the sensor to a bigger gateway that is placed at the forest's edge. These gateways are set in places where the Internet can be accessed or have satellite access. Then these gateways communicate the collected details to the firefighters, who then study them on a cloud-based platform.

So far, the firetech startup has sold over 10,000 sensors and collected €‎14.5 million in funds to continue their work and employ more staff. Right now, the sensors are being tested at Eberswalde forest northeast of Berlin which is known as one of the most dangerous locations for wildfires.

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First Published Date: 25 Aug, 15:25 IST