LA Wildfire Could be Prevented by Video Fire Detection

The Los Angeles wildfire these days has destroyed about 200 multi-million-dollar celebrities’ homes along with 600 mobile homes, and is continuously sweeping the area near the Los Angeles National Forest.

In such a wide open area, the traditional fire and smoke detector used in a building usually do not apply here because it requires the smoke particles reaching to the detector before an alarm, resulting a significant latency. It is also not practical to install huge amount of detectors in a large open space.

Thanks to the recent computer vision technology in video fire detection, it enables large area monitoring with instant alarming system, with the help of volumetric sensors (cameras) and intelligent video analytics software. Mostly importantly, existing video surveillance infrastructure (cameras and network) can be leveraged for this application. 

Envisioning the potential large market of video fire detection, many Fortune 500 companies, such as United Technologies Corporate (UTC), Honeywell, and General Electric (GE), have released or are developing such a system.

UTC Fire and Security recently released their video fire detection system, developed at United Technologies Research Center. Their algorithm is based on the fusion of multiple unique characteristics of fire for detection. According to a recent news on October, 2008,

At the heart of UTC Fire & Security’s VFD (Video Fire Detection) technology are highly complex algorithms capable of analyzing fire’s unique characteristics such as flicker, color and structure. …The key to high probability detection and low false alarm rates is to have as many different measures of what is flame and what is smoke and then combine them into one reliable system.

A company of Honeywell Fire Systems, Notifier, also released a similar video fire detection system. This system is licensed from a startup company, D-Tec. According to their release news this month,

VSD (Video Smoke Detection) uses sophisticated software algorithms to automatically identify the specific motion pattern of smoke and fire while ignoring other on-screen movement patterns from up to four cameras simultaneously. 

GE Security is trying to catch up. GE Security recently opens the Fire Detection Research Lab and Research Center. Considering GE’s video surveillance capabilities, I believe that GE will soon release their video fire detection solutions. 

With this emerging video fire detection system, can we expect that fire tragedy like what is happening in LA will be prevented or at least happen much less often in the future?

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment