• NSW government is incorporating AI technology with satellite data to detect and prevent bushfire.
  • Also, the state government invested about AUD 80 million in Siemens Mobility to support Sydney’s rail network.

The NSW government is researching on ways that will help to combine artificial intelligence (AI) with data from regional sensor networks and satellites. A combination of AI and satellite and local network data will help detect and predict bushfire behavior.

The study will be the key share of the Bushfire Data Quest 2020, a one-week virtual sprint event. Various technology industries, universities, philanthropy, and research institutes across the globe will be part of this event.

“Being able to help predict future bushfire activity will help prevent a repeat of Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season last summer,” said John Barilaro, NSW Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery. “Predicting the behavior of bushfires is a hugely difficult problem, made more complicated by a myriad of factors such as fuel load, atmospheric conditions, soil moisture, and availability of water.”

Instead of depending on instincts and experience of fire-fighters, utilization of AI, and data from satellites will help to manage on the ground bushfire retort.

Barilaro added, “We are investigating further how we use the data from multiple satellites and local sensor networks to create algorithms that will help detect fires earlier, predict fire behavior, and help emergency services respond more effectively to protect homes, people and nature.”

The research is conducted in collaboration with the Minderoo Foundation wildlife and disaster resilience program. The major aim of the collaboration is to create a technology that will help not only Australia but the entire world to defeat, prevent, and mitigate bushfires.

Adrian Turner, the former CEO of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data61, is leading the project. He is planning to develop enhanced technology that will play a major role during the fire disaster. The novel technology would help to map the start and occurrence of fire.

“We’re looking at new satellite technology, we’re looking at spatial intelligence infrastructure, we’re looking at new classes of drones to be able to help with early detection,” Adrian Turner commented. “If we could make all that work, you could imagine a new type of infrastructure that could find and extinguish a fire within hours, and the threat of fire gets removed as a threat in urban and regional environments.”

Sydney’s rail network

Moreover, the state government invested about AUD 80 million in Siemens Mobility to support Sydney’s rail network. By 2023, Siemens is planning to present a novel traffic management system (TMS).

To respond immediately to any disruptions, TMS allows the schedule to be operated in real-time. The latest TMS will be applied to supervise train services and will be operated alongside the enhanced train running signal and control system, which is presently used by Sydney Trains to operate network processes.

Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said, “The TMS will help modernize train control systems.” Further, he added, “This is an important step in the process of upgrading our network with internationally proven technology that boosts safety, capacity, reliability, and enhances the customer experience.”

Swapping the current system with the TMS is part of the state government’s digital system program. Under this program, the government is planning to swap old-style signally equipment with “in cab” train control technology. Digital signal data will help train drivers. In addition, computerized train functions will help train drivers to manage the rail systems and lessen postponements.

The automatic train process will be used to manage train braking and acceleration, thus operating in combination with the TMS. Further, this will ensure that trains are traveling on time with the permitted speed. The digital systems program will originally be installed to two units of the T4 Line from Sutherland to Cronulla and from Bondi Junction to Redfern.

The state government said, “Plans to deploy the digital system to other parts of Sydney’s rail network is currently underway.”