DHS picks Rockville-based company to develop sensor tech to combat wildfires - Technical.ly DC

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Feb. 12, 2020 1:50 pm

DHS picks Rockville-based company to develop sensor tech to combat wildfires

Over the next six months, four selected partners — including one from the DMV region — will work on prototype development for new technology to be used in the fight against wildfires that specifically impact urban areas.
Can tech help fight wildfires?

Can tech help fight wildfires?

(Photo by flickr user U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has picked four industry partners to work on studying sensor-based tech to combat wildfires as part of its Smart Cities Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Labs initiative.

This initiative focuses on using technology to enhance public safety across the U.S. and comes from the department’s research and development arm, Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). The new wildfire-focused sensor project comes after the SCITI Labs concluded a two-year project in November that focused on testing sensor-based tech for public safety.

Over the next six months, the four selected partners will work on prototype development and modification for new technology to be used in the fight against wildfires that specifically impact urban areas. Sensor tech created for this project will also be tested against DHS requirements, the department said in a press release.

The four industry partners selected include:

  • San Francisco-based Ai4 Technologies
  • Germany-based Breeze Technologies
  • New Hampshire-based Valor Fire Safety
  • Rockville, Maryland-based N5 Sensors

“The goal of this effort is to identify where technology solutions can be brought in line with other commercially-available products for home and property security,” said Jeff Booth, director of S&T’s Sensors and Platforms Technology Center, in a statement. “We want to identify a development roadmap that works hand-in-hand with a commercialization path that advances not only the science and engineering aspects of this technology, but also the availability of these capabilities to the broader homeland security enterprise.”

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The four companies will collaborate with potential users such as FEMA and local fire departments to gain feedback to bring their products to market. When evaluating the technology, DHS will also be looking at how the companies incorporate heat source detection, fire perimeter tracking, evaluation of fire characteristics and other capabilities.

Founded in 2012, N5 Sensors is a spinoff company out of University of Maryland, College Park that develops sensor tech and products. Along with creating wearable gas and chemical hazard sensor detectors, the 15-person company also develops sensors for industrial monitoring and for outdoor and indoor air quality along with other home safety monitoring needs.

Like the other companies selected, N5 Sensors had to apply to secure a spot on this project with DHS, Abhishek Motayed, the company’s CEO and founder, told Technical.ly.

“The DMV is constantly being recognized as a leader in technology and business growth from biosciences to cybersecurity and more. There are so many talented companies that are developing world-changing products, and we are thrilled to be a part of this community,” Motayed said. “To represent our community on the global stage in this way is both humbling and exciting.”

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