A company – Buzz Solutions – is using drones (to capture images) and machine learning algorithms (to efficiently analyse them) to detect faults in power lines and the growth of surrounding vegetation in order to prevent faulty power lines from sparking a fire that then spreads to adjoining vegetation leading to large forest fires.
Forest fires have been getting worse because of climate change impacts and improper forest management regimes. Human carelessness and equipment malfunction also sometimes contributes to forest fires. In the United States, power transmission lines often traverse through vegetation which are at risk of forest fires. Detecting faults in these power lines and assessing the growth of vegetation can help utility companies take pre-emptive actions, such as replacing faulty technology and trimming vegetation, which then helps prevent forest fires.
Such collaborations between existing actors (such as utility companies) and innovators can provide opportunities to lessen the vulnerabilities of important systems to the effects of climate change.