Autonomous Aerial Systems for Fire Management

Connecting UM to Industry

UM AASO and FireCenter are partnering with Montana Industry to develop a Drone Economy.

As part of the Montana REDI, we are leveraging technology, natural resource business, university research, and entrepreneurship into jobs.  

We are:

Partnering with AAS companies in Montana to push development of airframe and sensor technology.

Building AAS research platforms and data management software.

Developing workflows and algorithms to increase fire management effectiveness.

Training students, pilots, and researchers in application of drones.

Creating an open-access field laboratory for drone R&D.

Linking researchers to drone companies around natural resource management.

Did you know?

24 Montana companies are engaged in drone related research, engineering, and application? Montana companies design and manufacture aircraft and software, engineer miniature hyper-spectral cameras and infrared imaging systems, and use them to map and survey built and natural environments, make energy and transportation infrastructure safer, grow better crops, and shoot world-renowned cinematography.

UM has conducted $20 million in cutting-edge fire science research and application since 2001, focused on remote sensing, 3-D fuels modeling, and remote fire surveillance. Its FireCenter serves as a bridge among on-the-ground fire managers, fire science, and applied fire technology.

Together, we are tackling a major problem facing Montana –Wildfire– and providing a framework for addressing other problems such as drought, forest insect and disease outbreaks, timber and wildlife management.

We design and test instruments and techniques for providing measurements of forests and fuels before fires occur, and thus kick off the work that will ultimately lead to adoption of drones in fire management at large.

By investing in targeted private-public drone applications in fire and fuels management, Montana businesses will be poised to exploit more complex opportunities in operational fire management when airspace restrictions are inevitably resolved.