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The main goal of this project is to develop an automatic UAV based system to support Prescribed Fires, and detection of Rekindles in the mop up of forest fires.

Prescribed fires are a prevention tool to manage the amount of fuels. Its importance is recognised in several parts of the world and in particularly in southern Europe. For both target missions the project will develop UAVs able to carry different cameras with different wavelengths, and/or an ignition gun to ignite fire. They should be operated manually, semi-autonomously, or totally autonomously. The mission control software to be developed will enable operators in choosing the different operating modes, delimit the area of operation, and configure and control the mission. For prescribed fires the system will support 3 main activities: 1) Area Coverage and Analysis – The UAV covers the prescribed fire area to remote analyse biomass levels, building a 3D map, and making a temperature and wind map of the area. For these tasks the UAV will use an on board multispectral camera, and temperature and anemometer sensors; 2) Ignition – A gun on board of the UAV will be used to ignite fire on precise spots following a burning plan suggested by an algorithm or created by the operator in the mission platform; 3) Fire Surveillance – The UAV will be used to survey the prescribed fire area identified in the mission plan to maintain situation awareness. It will provide information about the fire perimeter and temperature and wind registration to warn the operator about out of range conditions. For this task, the UAV will use an on board thermal camera and sensors to measure temperature and wind speed. The UAV together with the mission control software becomes a fundamental tool to help prescribed fire personnel to manage successfully the fire during its full life cycle.

In Rekindles the main mission is to identify spots that are over a certain temperature using the UAV on board sensors (e.g. thermal cameras). The operator uses the mission control software to identify the area that must be autonomously covered by the UAV using its internal path planning algorithms. The fundamental research challenges in this project are: 4) Choosing and adapting the UAV for these missions in harsh environments 5) Choosing the most adequate sensors 6) Remote sensing algorithms for the thermal and multispectral cameras, to identify biomass levels, open areas, fire perimeter, and hot spots 7) UAV Autonomy for operating in fire and mop up conditions 8) Mission Control Software