SSCI leads industry-university team to develop UAV technology to assist in wildfire monitoring and management

October 26, 2015 by  

An industry-university team, comprising Scientific Systems Company, Inc., MIT and Olin College, demonstrates autonomous aerial monitoring and tracking capability for forest fires using multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

For Immediate Release – September 25, 2015

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) announces it has performed initial flight tests and demonstration of autonomous, multi-UAV aerial monitoring and tracking technologies, designed for real-time, aerial fire perimeter surveillance. Wildfire monitoring and management is a high-stress activity in which appropriate and timely decisions need to be made by the fire commander. Besides wind intensity and direction, terrain and vegetation, the key information needed for successful wildfire management is the fire location, its extent and rate of spread. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have great potential to facilitate fire monitoring by providing that information to the fire commander in real time.

IMPACTSSCI is leading an industry-university team to develop IMPACT  – Integrated Mission Planning and Autonomous Control Technology – which provides real-time information to the fire commander in wildfire fighting scenarios using autonomous collaborating UAVs. Under a NASA Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, the SSCI Team, with partners Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) and Olin College (Needham, MA), has developed ground station planning and control software, as well as onboard autonomy software for fully-coordinated multiple UAVs. SSCI and MIT have developed exciting new technologies to make this possible including: machine learning for prediction of the fire spread rate and autonomous collaborative algorithms for multi-UAV coordination, search, geo-location, closed-loop surveillance, and real-time fire perimeter tracking under contingencies.  Together, these technologies enable a single user to coordinate multiple UAVs to survey and maintain knowledge of the ever changing fire perimeter.  Olin College is providing the flight testing environment to validate these concepts.

Dr. Raman Mehra, founder and CEO of SSCI notes “Our products provide the brains and nervous systems for unmanned vehicles to operate autonomously and accomplish their missions in difficult environments.” The IMPACT system is a prime example of SSCI’s focus on developing UAV autonomy technologies to support hazardous and challenging missions.

About Scientific Systems Company Inc.

Since 1976 Scientific Systems Company Inc. (SSCI) has engineered intelligent control systems for defense and commercial applications. SSCI is a leading innovator performing research and technology development for various NASA and US DoD agencies. SSCI is a provider of advanced mission planning software, mature image-based navigation systems for GPS-denied environments on a wide variety of platforms, and developer of mine detection systems for the U.S. Army. For more information, contact SSCI at (781) 933-5355 or


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