Artificial Intelligence: An AI Solution to Safeguard From Grid-Triggered Wildfires

July 27, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence, News

An AI platform spots power line faults to fix before a fire starts.

Buzz Solutions, based in Stanford, California, launched an AI solution for electricity utilities. It flags faults in the grid structure or power lines in time for repair. This avoids the risk of a wildfire that can cost human lives and millions of dollars in losses. (Forbes)

AI to the rescue from wildfires

Power line faults, vegetation encroaching on power lines, and snapping and falling wires can trigger off devastating wildfires.

Currently, utilities keep tabs on the conditions of their power lines through painstaking and time-consuming analysis of images stored in the cloud. These are images taken in collaboration with other organizations using drones, aircraft, or helicopters. The analysis of this database can take from six to eight months, and often mishaps occur before it is completed.

However, the Buzz AI platform uses AI and machine vision technology to scan these images through proprietary algorithms. These algos are trained to detect faults on all the major constituents of the utility’s T&D infrastructure.

The AI platform delivers its reports in a “fraction of the time compared to humans, hours to days not months to years.”

Besides, the analysis costs half that of the traditional procedure.

Another dividend from the AI platform is predictive modeling and analytics. These use the existing database to flag potential faults and high-risk zones for wildfires.

The enormous risk from wildfires

According to The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, PG&E’s (NYSE: PCG) transmission lines were responsible for the huge Kincade Fire in Sonoma, California last year.

Image: Kincade fire

The cost impact from a wildfire includes firefighting costs, direct losses caused by the fire, smoke and water, rehab, and other appurtenant costs.

“It is definitely time to move forward using AI to reduce the wildfire threat,” said Kaitlyn Albertoli, Co-founder and CEO of Buzz Solutions. “We believe the utility industry is ready to use a far better approach to keep their equipment in good working order and keep people and property safe.”

Related Story:  Satellites and AI Could Together Predict Wildfires Accurately  

Image credit of Kincade fire: Pierre Markuse/Flickr                                                

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