Forest Fire Detection and
Prevention with Unmanned Systems
Professor George Vachtsevanos
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0250
Abstract: This presentation addresses a significant problem facing
many countries in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere: fires during the summer
months are ravaging forests, resulting in loss of life and endangering the
balance of sensitive ecosystems. It is essential that forest fires be
detected as early as possible and their spread ascertained in order to
minimize their catastrophic impact.
Civil authorities are attempting to prevent the extent of forest fires via
observation ports, satellite data, citizen input and other available means.
Recent advances in unmanned system technologies, communications and
computing are promising to bring to the front such emerging technologies in
order to assist in the forest fire prevention challenge.
We introduce towards this goal an integrated architecture consisting of a
swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with infrared and optical
sensing devices, communications and computing to detect forest fire pressure
(smoke plumes, small fires), communicate the information to a control
command and control port, and even provide information about possible human
intruders initiating forest fires.
The command and control station employs all available information from
multiple sources to access the accuracy of the data and transmit pertinent
information to appropriate fire fighting personnel. We will discuss current
prototype programs in several countries that are exploring UAVs and related
technologies for forest fire prevention.
Brief Biography of the Speaker:
George Vachtsevanos is a Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer
Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was awarded a B.E.E.
degree from the City College of New York in 1962, a M.E.E. degree from New
York University in 1963 and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from
the City University of New York in 1970. He directs the Intelligent Control
Systems laboratory at Georgia Tech where faculty and students are conducting
research in intelligent control, neurotechnology and cardiotechnology, fault
diagnosis and prognosis of large-scale dynamical systems and control
technologies for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. His work is funded by government
agencies and industry. He has published over 240 technical papers and is a
senior member of IEEE. Dr. Vachtsevanos was awarded the IEEE Control Systems
Magazine Outstanding Paper Award for the years 2002-2003 (with L. Wills and
B. Heck). He was also awarded the 2002-2003 Georgia Tech School of
Electrical and Computer Engineering Distinguished Professor Award and the
2003-2004 Georgia Institute of Technology Outstanding Interdisciplinary