Drone software for fire fighting

A South African security start-up has joined forces with a Danish software company to work on drone-based solutions to fight fires in the southern African country.

Cape Town-based Arcanum Africa provides security solutions for wildlife and environmental protection, as well as communications and monitoring solutions – and soon they will be debuting Robotto Fire, an AI and computer vision software that can be on-boarded onto a drone to process data in real-time.

Robotto Fire is developed by Robotto, a software company based in Aalborg, North Jutland in Denmark.

“Our product consists of a fully autonomous drone system that enables fire fighters to fight wildfires in real-time, allowing them to get actionable data on the size, location and direction of the fire,” Robotto says. “It keeps operators at a safe distance from the fire, where they can focus on fighting it swiftly, to reduce its effects on nature and our planet.

“We want to extend the potential of AWRA by onboarding it onto different platforms such as fixed-wing drones, which will allow for extensive flight time, range and endurance, covering large areas comparable to those of current reconnaissance planes.”

According to Arcanum Africa, over two million hectares were burned by wildfires across South Africa last year, destroying wildlife, killing livestock, and resulting in the loss of two firefighters. This has also resulted in job losses, destruction of livelihoods, food security for subsistence and emerging farmers, tribal lands, destruction of the environment and infrastructure.

Arcanum thinks getting ahead of the fires could help; saying the application of drone technology and related software during fire outbreaks can reduce burn sizes by up to 60 percent and reduce 50-70 percent of man-hours.

“We are delighted to be working with such an innovative company and feel that Robotto will make a significant difference to the way a number of emergency situations are handled in South Africa,” said Arcanum Africa founders Peter Stolwerk and Aarhon van Schaik. “Saving lives, as well as time and money, is a comprehensive solution to bring to the market.”

In addition to Robotto Fire, Arcanum Africa will also help first responders with Robotto’s new Search and Rescue software after the conclusion of beta testing. The software will help find people lost in mountains or woods, for example.

“Partnering with Arcanum Africa opens the doors to a unique market where parts of the emergency service industry are privately run, shortening the procurement process and getting our life-saving technology into the hands of first responders,” CEO and Co-Founder, Kenneth Richard Geipel said.

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