July 24, 2023
As of July 16, 2023 nearly 880 active fires have burned across Canada, scorching 10 million hectares of land and wildlife, marking one of Canada’s worse wildfire seasons. As a result, there has been a significant movement amongst the tech sector to develop artificial intelligence (AI) capable of detecting and preventing wildfires.
Tech companies throughout the US have led the charge of wildfire AI technology. For instance, Pano AI, a US tech company has partnered with Starlink, a prominent satellite company, to develop a 360-degree camera which is placed on the top of cell towers and programed to detect signs of smoke up to 24km away, as well as pinpoint how quickly the smoke is spreading.
As this innovative AI industry has begun to take off throughout the US, Canadian tech start-ups are close behind. SensaioTech, a tech startup based out of Toronto and Brazil, has begun developing AI devices that can predict where and when a wildfire has occurred. The CEO of SensaioTech discussed how the AI devices aim to do so, stating: “by leveraging machine learning and AI algorithms in the cloud, along with other data inputs, we can generate heat maps and a risk index. (…) These insights are then directly sent as alerts to firefighters, conservation teams, and our customers.” SensaioTech released its first version of the product in 2019, and is hoping for a successful first round of funding to help expand the scope of the company.
Similarly, OroraTech, a Vancouver based startup, has partnered with the satellite company Spire Global and the Canadian Space Agency in the hopes of developing a satellite that uses thermal infrared cameras and AI-Algorithms to detect and predict wildfires.