A multidisciplinary team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln is developing Unmanned Aerial System for Fire Fighting (UAS-FF). The team consists of experts in drone technology, fire ecology, conservation, and public policy. Drone researchers Carrick Detweiler and Sebastian Elbaum said it is possible for such drones to be used by hotshot firefighting teams in some wildfire-fighting situation. The idea is based on their concern on the increase number of wildfires in many places in the world in recent years.
“Unmanned aerial devices have the potential to carry out key resource management strategies and could help us deal with something as big as the international increase in severe wildfires,” said Twidwell, a team member and a range ecology expert, faculty expert and faculty member in the department of agronomy and horticulture.
How these drones work to fight the wildfire? The Drones will carry a cargo of pingpong-like balls, which are filled with potassium permangate powder and injected with a liquid glycol. The drones will drop the balls over the landscape and it will create a chemical-based flame after 10 to 45 seconds.
This firefighting drone can help to prevent the fires in many areas, like private lands or conservation areas, more safely and cheaply.