PG&E tests AI-enhanced cameras to combat California wildfires
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is testing machine learning-enhanced high-definition (HD) cameras to monitor wildfires.
The company’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center (WSOC) has installed 138 new cameras as part of a network spanning high fire-threat districts.
Of those 138 cameras, 46 are included in the new AI testing program using technology developed by Alchera, a South Korean visual recognition firm.
The deployments are part of a pilot program that aims to determine the potential for using AI tools in reducing fire size.
“Even with the two significant rainstorms in October and November, we are still in a historic drought and California, along with other western states, continues to experience an increase in wildfire risk and a longer wildfire season,” said Sumeet Singh, chief risk officer at PG&E.
“We are using every new tool and technology at our disposal to improve situational awareness and intelligence to help mitigate and prevent wildfires, including this new AI capability.
“Every bit of data and intelligence that comes to us could potentially save a life.”
Fighting fire with AI
PG&E began installing HD cameras as part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program in 2018.
A year prior, a series of destructive wildfires blazed through Northern California, with 21 people losing their lives.
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