Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

Using high-altitude balloons to support decision-making during firefight operations

on 13-01-2020

... Recent national incidents during wildfire fight, revealed a need to improve the process of real-time fire monitoring and mapping. Not only the current available emergency communication system proves to be fallible, but there is also a real difficulty on mapping and predicting wildfire propagation fronts.

In project Eye in the Sky (EIS), a research team led by IDMEC, working in collaboration with researchers from ADAI and IT, aims to design and develop an aerial platform to support communications in emergency situations, while simultaneously providing high-altitude real-time imagery of the fire scenario to ground combat agents.

To this end, the EIS team proposes the development of a platform composed of: a high-altitude balloon (HAB), responsible for the rise in altitude of a desired payload; observation and communications payloads, responsible for image collection and communications relay; and a flying wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) carried by the HAB and released at high altitude, responsible for payloads controlled positioning after release when the balloon drifts from the region of interest.

The overall solution will be available as a launch kit, which should include a balloon launch tool as well as all the material needed to launch the platform and placing it at high altitude over the area to monitor.