Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Are Parallel Flight Technologies’ drones being used to start fires?

(Source: PFT)

February 4, 2021 — La Selva, CA

Yes, and here’s why:

Parallel Flight Technologies is currently running flight tests with our heavy-lift test drone, “The Big Mule,” and the IGNIS system from Drone Amplified. This work is being done as part of our grant from the USDA, which was given to support development of a large-scale unmanned prescribed fire solution for the US Forest Service.

Watch this video of a recent test flight:

What is IGNIS?

IGNIS is a complete system that integrates with drones and carries a payload of chemical spheres. In real-world applications, these balls are ignited on command, sparking prescribed fires in the exact area where the sphere is dropped. In the above flight test video, the balls were not ignited, but you can see them dropping directly below the drone. This is important because it validates that the ignited spheres will land in the intended location.

Why is Parallel Flight involved in this application?

The flight tests with IGNIS are being done as part of our grant work for the USDA. The goal is to partner with Drone Amplified to develop a large-scale prescribed fire solution for the US Forest Service. Prescribed fires, also called controlled burns or controlled ignition, are a key land management tool that help prevent wildland fires by eliminating fuels on the forest floor.

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