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Building a Smarter Forest


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Forest fire

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

B.S. Abdur Rahman University computer scientists M.P. Sivaram Kumar and S. Rajasekaran recently published a research paper that says the existing methods for preventing and extinguishing forest fires are inefficient.

The researchers argue that a robotic system deployed throughout wooded areas would increase firefighters' ability to identify emerging threats and would more effectively plot the path of a wildfire.

The researchers describe a grid-based system of automated drones, designed to detect abnormal changes in temperature and relay data back to a command center. "The automatic forest fire detection and extinguishing system consists of nodes deployed deterministically in a forest area and all the nodes know their location based on coordinate values of a matrix," the paper says.

The researchers also say that on-the-ground nodes are much better than existing satellite detection systems that detect fires relatively late. In addition, they note that U.S. federal agencies and wireless carriers are planning to deploy the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system, which will notify people of severe weather that poses imminent threats to their safety. When added to the WEA system, the researchers' robotic system could provide people with enough advance warning to protect them from natural disasters.

From The Atlantic 
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