Projects / AI Innovation Challenge

Applying Deep Learning to Detect Wildfires

Project completed!

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Brazilian startup Sintecsys hosted an eight weeks AI project to scale their wildfires detection solution. 47 Omdena collaborators built a deployable model to identify fires early to save lives and reduce infrastructure costs.

Leveraging AI to fight wildfires

Wildfires have cost thousands of lives and are responsible for one-third of global CO2 emissions! Deforestation and agriculture damages contribute 17 percent to climate change.

In Brazil, over 8,000 fires have been recorded in the Pantanal until 30 October, which is up 462 percent in the same period last year.

It’s the job of Sintecsys, a commercial agriculture technology company in Brazil, to monitor 8.7M acres of forest and agricultural land across four biomes, including the Amazon forest. Their system processes images from 360-degree cameras mounted on towers and alerts staff if there appears to be a fire. In 3 years, they’ve dramatically reduced fire detection time from an average of 40 minutes to under 5.

The solution: AI and deep learning to detect wildfires

For this eight-week machine learning project, Omdena pulled together a diverse team of 47 data scientists from 22 countries to join Sintecsys’ small internal AI group. Leonardo Sanchez, a data scientist in Brazil, was eager to join the Omdena challenge and address a problem of such significance for his country and the world. You can read about his perspective, and the image processing approaches behind the Omdena solution, in his article How to Stop Wildfires with Artificial Intelligence.

With a focus on daytime images, the system is accurate in identifying smoke and flames more than 95% of the time, dramatically reducing false positives and the time until firefighters are called onto the scene. Bambini is thrilled with the results of the two-month project: “Outstanding! The Omdena challenge provided the Sintecsys team an intense and accurate deep dive into AI with amazing results.” By early September 2020, the AI system will be fully deployed.

What’s next

Sintecsys and Omdena are exploring a second project which will tackle the detection of smoke and fire outbreak in nighttime images, using similar techniques. And we’ll get a more complete view of what’s happening on the ground by pulling in satellite images to supplement those from the cameras.

Speed, accuracy, and power sum up my perception of Omdena”, says Osmar Bambini, Sintecsys Head of Innovation. “For Sintecsys, from now on Omdena is the official AI partner.”

We are thanking all community collaborators for the amazing work done!

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