The University of Westminster’s Applied DSP and VLSI Research Group (ADVRG) have developed an innovative firefighting technology to tackle forest fires.

A new digital system which can detect and monitor large scale fires will revolutionise how firefighters approach forest fires. It is set to drastically reduce environmental and property damage and protect human lives.

The University of Westminster is a partner in the Advanced Forest Fire Fighting (AF3) project involving twenty institutions from ten countries. The project aimed to improve the efficiency of current fire-fighting operations and the protection of human lives, the environment and property by developing innovative ground and aerial technologies to ensure the integration between new and existing systems.

The University of Westminster’s Applied DSP and VLSI Research Group have developed so called Low-Power Wireless Ground Sensor Nodes (LPWGSN) and accompanying drone technology which together can detect wild forest fires in their early stages and can monitor them in real time, enabling large scale fire-fighting services to target these fires with unprecedented precision, day and night. The innovative technology is the pinnacle of the European Commission funded multi-million-euro AF3 activity.

The complete system, developed during the AF3 project, allows firefighters to drop pellets – filled with water or fire-retardant mixtures contained in biodegradable plastic pouches – from the air quickly and with precision targeting the areas to most effectively extinguish the fire. This can ultimately protect human lives, the environment and property, taking fires under control and putting them out before they spread.

The project has already been tested in real-life fires in Greece, Spain, and Israel. These tests have proved their worth in being cost-effective and ground-breaking in making the different parts of the system function effectively, helping fire fighters get to the heart of the problem and address the fires quickly and more efficiently.

Professor Izzet Kale, who is the Director of the (ADVRG) at the University of Westminster and who led the project, said: “This is a step change in the way wild fires and other forms of urban fires will be detected and stopped in their tracks before they spread and cause irreversible damage to the environment, wildlife as well as loss of human life.

“In addition to early fire detection, and monitoring the sensors and their networks will be an invaluable asset and tool for long term environment monitoring of a wide range of parameters for research purposes.”

Alongside with Project leader Professor Izzet Kale, the University of Westminster’s ADVRG teams included Dr Adem Coskun, Sakib Abdullah, Sandor Bertalan, Stanislav Masar, Dr Sevket Cetinsel, Dr Marco Sosa Masar, Professor Dik Morling and Dr Artur Krukowski.

See the project in action in a video of the research.  

Find out more about the University of Westminster’s Applied DSP and VLSI Research Group.

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