Carnegie Mellon Developing Drones To Fight Wildfires Robotics & Automation News

(MENAFN- Robotics & automation News) The brown haze that settled over Pittsburgh and other US cities last summer was merely an irritant to most residents, but for researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute (RI), it was a reminder of why they are developing drones to help fight wildfires.

The smoke was generated by record-breaking wildfires in Canada. Over the course of the summer, the fires burned an area roughly the size of North Dakota and caused at least six deaths, including those of four firefighters.

Andrew Jong, who recently completed his master's degree in robotics in the School of Computer Science and is now pursuing his PhD, says autonomous drones promise to provide firefighters with situational awareness of these fires, which can range over thousands of acres and are subject to rapid, weather-related changes in direction and intensity.

Seeing through dense smoke is one of many challenges firefighters face and poses a hurdle to using drones.

“The situation on the ground can evolve in a matter of minutes,” Jong says. Better real-time information on wildfires could improve firefighting tactics, contribute to a deeper understanding of fire science, and save lives of firefighters and others caught in the fire's path, he adds.


Robotics & Automation News

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