AI, or artificial intelligence, has long been heralded as a solution to many of humanity’s most pressing issues, but now thanks to the work of a California teenager, AI wildfire detection is being put to work preventing fires in sensitive environments. The system, created by 14-year-old Ryan Honory, uses an array of interconnected fire detectors and mini meteorological stations to predict where a fire will happen and how it will spread. Each sensor device placed 100 to 150 feet apart communicates weather and heat data to each other and firefighters instantly, allowing the system to detect vulnerable conditions and record wildfires as they happen.
The company behind this, SensoRy AI, was founded by Honory after witnessing the destruction caused by California’s Camp Fire, which burned a record-breaking 153,336 acres in 2018. Since then, the technology has been improved and adapted by others working on the project thanks to a $2 million grant awarded by the Office of Naval Research under the Small Business Innovation Research Fund. Only 4 of 130 technical proposals were awarded funding under this program.
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With government funding and additional staff, SenorRy AI is already looking at other applications for its early detection technology. Two areas of future focus could be water pollution and gas leaks in oil refineries. These allow the SensoRy AI technology to help detect problems before they happen in a similar vein to their current project. Ultimately the growth of AI wildfire detection software should help to usher in a new era of technology-based environmental protection that can help firefighters better manage perennial blazes.