|12 August 2016|

USA

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could help protect firefighters by providing vital data on temperature and gasses to guide them through the flames.

Developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), based in California, AUDREY: the Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and sYnthesis, can assist a team of firefighters with the life or death information they need to do their job more effectively.

“As a firefighter moves through an environment, AUDREY could send alerts through a mobile device or head-mounted display,” said Mark James of JPL, lead scientist for the AUDREY project.

AUDREY taps into the internet of things. For firefighters this could mean wearables in their clothing capable of detecting temperatures in other rooms and the level of dangerous chemicals in the air.

“When first responders are connected to all these sensors, the AUDREY agent becomes their guardian angel,” said Edward Chow, manager of JPL’s Civil Program Office and program manager for AUDREY. “Because of all this data the sensor sees, firefighters won’t run into the next room where the floor will collapse.”

He added: “Most AI projects are rule-based — if this, then that,” he said. “But what if you’re only getting part of the information? We use complex reasoning to simulate how humans think. That allows us to provide more useful info to firefighters than a traditional AI system.”