Unmanned Aerial Systems for Wildland and Forest Fires: Sensing, Perception, Cooperation and Assistance

Moulay A. Akhloufi, Nicolas A. Castro, Andy Couturier

Wildfires represent an important natural risk causing economic losses, human death and important environmental damage. In recent years, we witness an increase in fire intensity and frequency. Research has been conducted towards the development of dedicated solutions for wildland and forest fire assistance and fighting. Systems were proposed for the remote detection and tracking of fires. These systems have shown improvements in the area of efficient data collection and fire characterization within small scale environments. However, wildfires cover large areas making some of the proposed ground-based systems unsuitable for optimal coverage. To tackle this limitation, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) were proposed. UAS have proven to be useful due to their maneuverability, allowing for the implementation of remote sensing, allocation strategies and task planning. They can provide a low-cost alternative for the prevention, detection and real-time support of firefighting. In this paper we review previous work related to the use of UAS in wildfires. Onboard sensor instruments, fire perception algorithms and coordination strategies are considered. In addition, we present some of the recent frameworks proposing the use of both aerial vehicles and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UV) for a more efficient wildland firefighting strategy at a larger scale.

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