Drones: Fire-management technology delivery

The new IGNIS remotely controlled pyrotechnic system, designed by Drone Amplified (Lincoln, NE, US) specifically for transport on UAVs for the purpose of prescribed-fire management on public and private lands, was recognized on the US Department of Interior’s 2017 list of top made-in-America innovations.

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The new IGNIS remotely controlled pyrotechnic system, designed by Drone Amplified (Lincoln, NE, US) specifically for transport on UAVs for the purpose of prescribed-fire management on public and private lands, was recognized on the US Department of Interior’s 2017 list of top made-in-America innovations. 

Launched last year, the patent-pending technology carries aloft a payload of ping pong ball-sized chemical spheres, which, upon command via radio from the ground, are injected with glycol, starting a chemical reaction that, after the spheres are released to the ground at the desired location, burst into flame to target an intentional fire start. When used for back-fire ignition to halt an out-of-control wildfire, the system minimizes the need to put human fire fighters in hazardous situations. 

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James Higgins, Drone Amplified’s lead engineer and one of the founders of the company, says the IGNIS payload package can be provided already loaded on a UAV or can be integrated onto the UAV of the customer’s choosing. That package includes parts made from CNC-milled carbon fiber composite plate, 3D-printed components and milled aluminum parts. 

Higgins reports selling one of the first IGNIS drone systems to commercial UAV service provider 3FB Aerworx Pty. Ltd. (Ringwood, VIC, Australia), and also recently recorded a sale to the US Department of Interior. He says the company is in the process of securing new contracts with state and commercial agencies, with product deliveries expected this summer.

 

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