Avy’s fire fighting drone project enters second phase

Regular readers of this modest blog will remember the story we covered of Dutch drone maker Avy – known today for its delivery drone project in Botswana – venturing into environmental conservation, through a fire-fighting project in collaboration with the Veluwe Forest Fire Committee in the Netherlands.

Avy has just announced that the project will now be entering a second phase.

To recap, Avy and the VBC are jointly investigating the use of drones for the early detection of wildfires using artificial intelligence and real-time aerial imagery.

While the first phase was successful in demonstrating that a drone can detect a fire from a great distance, Avy says the aim of Phase 2 is to optimise the routes of its drone technology to automatically recognise and detect wildfires.

“Until now, manned planes have been used to monitor nature preserves against fires in The Netherlands,” Avy said in a statement. “This project investigates whether the use of drones can be an alternative in the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Due to climate change, wildfires are becoming more frequent, making monitoring increasingly more important.

It is expected that gains can be made with drones in terms of speed, size of the area monitored and real-time imagery shared with the control centre. Additionally, working with drones emits less carbon dioxide.”

The company added that it is working hard to improve its AI for wild fire recognition in preparation for the next phases of the project, which aims to see full integration sometime in the near future. In this regard, Avy is working Dutch software company LIVEOP, whose solutions the working group hopes will help early fire detection and therefore a reduction in wild fires spreading and causing damage.

“In this phase, Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights will be flown for the first time for the fire brigade in the Dutch public space,” said Arnoud Buiting, chairman of the Dutch National Network for Wildfires. “The drone is unique in terms of meeting safety requirements and we are working step by step towards an autonomous system with the drone docking station. The ultimate goal is national integration with the control centre.”

Patrique Zaman, CEO of Avy, is happy that the project is taking further steps into its development.

“The lower costs make it possible for Avy to be operational more often and the artificial intelligence allows drones to be independent of human eyes and any obstructions, such as clouds.,” Zaman said. “This makes the use of drones more reliable and makes earlier detection possible.

“A true win-win!”


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