Avy and Veluw’s Forest Fire Brigade Committee join forces in fight against wildfires
Today, the start signal for test phase 2 and 3 for detecting wildfires with long-range drone Avy Aera sounded. The Veluws Forest Fire Brigade Committee (VBC) and Avy are jointly investigating the use of drones in the early detection of wildfires. Finding such fires using artificial intelligence is new in the Netherlands. The provision of the camera images obtained in real time has also not been shown before. Test phase 1, which showed that the drone can distinguish a wildfire at a long distance, took place in February. The aim of this phase is to optimize the routes of the Avy drone for automatic recognition of novice wildfires.
Drones as an alternative
So far, aircraft are used to monitor nature reserves against fires in the Netherlands. 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 common, which makes monitoring increasingly important. With drones, profits are expected to be made in terms of speed, size of the area to be monitored and imaging in the monitoring room. In addition, when working with drones, less CO2 is emitted.
The analysis of the costs and benefits for the Dutch situation follows in the autumn during phase 4, while working on improving artificial intelligence for recognizing and finding fires, with which preparations are made directly for the integration into the control room (phase 5).
Working towards autonomous system
Arnoud Buiting, including chairman of the Landelijk Netwerk Natuurbranden, about the test days: “During this phase, for the first time, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) will be flown for the fire brigade in Dutch public space. The drone is unique when it comes to meeting the safety requirements and with the drone docking station we work in steps towards an autonomous system. The ultimate goal is national integration into the control room.”
Patrique Zaman, CEO of Avy, adds: “Due to the lower costs, Avy makes it possible to be operational more often and because of artificial intelligence drones are independent of human eyes and any obstructions, such as clouds. This makes the use more reliable and therefore also allows earlier detection. A true win-win!”
In order to detect fires faster, artificial intelligence is used for the first time in the Netherlands. For this purpose, Avy collaborates with the Dutch software company LIVEOP. Jan van de Poel, including chairman of the National Department of Geo, about LIVEOP: “This fire recognition software can determine in real time and with great accuracy whether there is a fire or smoke development on the images. A possible fire can therefore be detected at an earlier stage. This reduces the chance of expansion and the damage caused by this. In other words, the sooner we get there, the better.”
Avy is a pioneer in innovative technology with the transition to sustainable aviation in mind. The Dutch tech scale-up was founded in 2016 and is developing long-range drones for medical transport and the fire department. In the design of the self-flying Avy Aera, the refined principles of Dutch Design can be recognized. This aircraft drone can take off and land vertically, so that hard-to-reach places can be reached. Thanks to the wings, the drone is able to travel long distances at the same time and therefore about ten times more efficient than conventional drones. Avy’s drone network is completely electric, emission-free and operates with a low noise level. With this, the future of aviation has arrived. Avy is currently active in the European and African markets. See also avy.eu.
The Veluws Forest Fire Brigade Committee is the client of the investigation into the use of Avy in detecting forest fires. The foundation is funded by Veluwe municipalities in the scope of the North and East Gelderland Safety Region (VNOG) and Safety and Health Region Gelderland-Midden (VGGM). The Utrecht safety region also participates in the project.
(cover photo: Avy)