22 Sep 2023

New drone tech claims to be able to tell smoke from open flame in a wildfire - and recognize heat signatures


Robotto, a Danish start-up company formed at an Aalborg University technology incubator, combines the latest technology on drones and "artificial intelligence" algorithms to help fire crews make decisions early on in the development of a forest fire. 

Robotto’s co-founder and chief executive Kenneth Richard Giepel said to EuroNews in a recent article, that the aim is to help firefighters make informed decisions based on up-to-date data rather than information that can be 12, or even 24 hours out of date.

"... in the very early stages of a wildfire, those first moments are critical in making sure the wildfires are not running out of control... With our technology, they can get an instant overview of where the fire is, how large it is, where it's most intense, and then allocate their resources", Giepel says. 

He claims to have trained their drone to identify smoke or flame, and also look for heat signatures. By combining this data, it becomes easier to determine if there actually a fire or not. 

The technology is already in use by Catalonia’s GRAF elite wildfire-fighting unit, who helped test the tech.