VIPEX system aims of enabling more efficient and safe management of fire extinction tasks by providing a global situational vision in real time.
Firefighting operations involve multiple human and technical resources, and the efficient and safe management of fire extinction tasks requires the availability of real time global information about the affected area as well as knowing the position of the personnel on the field. Therefore, the unique perspective and spatial coverage capacity offered by aircrafts is very valuable, and the continuous availability of adequate aerial data can be the key to assess the situation in the most appropriate way and thus minimize the area affected by a fire and avoid putting lives at risk (both firefighters and civilians).
Unfortunately, conventional aerial firefighting operations present some limitations that prevent them from offering continuous air coverage: low visibility, flights at night and obstructions.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) operations are not affected by the same limitations as there is no crew lives at risk, and they can be carried on at night or under poor visibility conditions.
SITEP has developed the VIPEX system with the aim of enabling more efficient and safe management of firefighting tasks by providing a global situational vision in real time. An in-house developed software manages all the information and finally plots vectorized temperature data on a map along with the location of the firefighters. This whole process from the capture of images to the representation of temperatures on the map takes a time of the order of a few seconds.

Resources needed

An unmanned aircraft equipped with RGB and thermal sensors, GNSS positioning system, an microcomputer and telecommunication system.

Evidence of success

The pilot tests carried out in collaboration with the Fire Department of Catalonia using controlled fires were very satisfactory. During the tests the prototype of the system was able to show correctly and with a high level of detail the temperature data of both the fire front and the extinguished perimeter, representing them in real time on a map and without presenting processing, transmission or visualization issues.

Difficulties encountered

- Finding of a robust and reliable UAV.
- Accurate georeferencing of data.
- Onboard processing.
- Stable data link for long distances and with minimum latencies.
- Designing of a stable and reliable software.
- Mechanical, electrical and informatic integration

Potential for learning or transfer

This project is considered of great interest to the fire departments or firefighting companies of any region or country since the benefits that its use offer for firefighting purposes is not dependant on the geographic location.
The transfer of this solution to other potential users could be done through the hiring of a permanent service or through the purchase of a complete system for its operation by the client himself. Obviously, in the latter case, a comprehensive training program would be required.

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Main institution
Sistemas de Información Territorial y Posicionamiento S.L. (SITEP S.L.)
Cataluña, Spain (España)
Start Date
May 2016
End Date
July 2019


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