April 11, 2012
Building a Smarter Forest

Only you can prevent forest fires. Well, you and a dozen friendly robots.
That’s the argument made by computer scientists M.P. Sivaram Kumar and S. Rajasekaran in a recent article in the Journal of Computing entitled “Path Planning Algorithm for Extinguishing Forest Fires.” Their thesis is simple: the vast majority of forests are destroyed by wild forest fires, and current methods of sylvan vigilance — mainly those involved individual personnel on foot patrol — are grossly inefficient in identifying emerging threats. Their pre-defined route may be damaged or obscured, inclement weather affects visibility, and life on patrol is boring and “miserable,” leading to a lack of attention.  
Kumar and Rajasekaran argue that deploying robotic systems throughout wooded areas will increase firefighters’ ability not just to identify emerging threats, but also to more effectively plot the path of a wildfire, and then deploy the appropriate resources to the right places. The two imagine a grid-based system of automated drones, designed to detect abnormal changes in temperature and relay data back to a command center.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

Building a Smarter Forest

Only you can prevent forest fires. Well, you and a dozen friendly robots.

That’s the argument made by computer scientists M.P. Sivaram Kumar and S. Rajasekaran in a recent article in the Journal of Computing entitled “Path Planning Algorithm for Extinguishing Forest Fires.” Their thesis is simple: the vast majority of forests are destroyed by wild forest fires, and current methods of sylvan vigilance — mainly those involved individual personnel on foot patrol — are grossly inefficient in identifying emerging threats. Their pre-defined route may be damaged or obscured, inclement weather affects visibility, and life on patrol is boring and “miserable,” leading to a lack of attention.  

Kumar and Rajasekaran argue that deploying robotic systems throughout wooded areas will increase firefighters’ ability not just to identify emerging threats, but also to more effectively plot the path of a wildfire, and then deploy the appropriate resources to the right places. The two imagine a grid-based system of automated drones, designed to detect abnormal changes in temperature and relay data back to a command center.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

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    We don’t need robots to stop fires. We need controlled burns to keep forests healthy. Here’s another story about...
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