University of Essex supported by Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics solutions to fight forest fire risks in Uttarakhand

New Delhi: The University of Essex, a dedicated UK-based public research university that aims for overall development of its’ students, today announced that its engaged in a first of its kind project in India using AI and analytics to better fight the forest fires in Uttarakhand.

The landmark project is funded by the Uk Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and led by a team of multi-disciplinary experts at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Lucknow (IIIT-L) and the University of Essex.

Dr Haider Raza, from the School of Computer Science and Electronics Engineering, University of Essex, is leading the project with Dr. Vishal Krishna Singh, Dr. Niharika Anand (expert in Wireless Sensor Networks, 4G and 5G technologies & IoT) and Dr. Soumendu Chakraborty (expert in Image Processing, Computer Vision & Medical Image Analysis) from IIIT-L, actively supporting.

The team has completed a comprehensive analysis of underlying reasons for forest fires in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand and will deploy AI-enabled IoT kit to protect the forest from fires through wireless monitoring systems. In the long term it will explore the feasibility of combining IoT sensors and drone-based image capturing to predict forest fires, map species distribution and poaching routes.

Talking of the project, Dr. Haider Raza, Lecturer, School of Computer Science and Electronics Engineering, University of Essex, said, “The analysis of Wireless Sensor and IoT device outputs have given us a view of the reasons behind existing approaches being ineffective. We have developed an event intensity mathematical model to specifically discriminate multiple acoustic events in a forest region.

“We are also looking to develop an event detection algorithm that can accurately report multiple acoustic events and a data classification algorithm on top of it for accurate inference and decision making. The team at IIIT-L have been very helpful and brought numerous expert inputs to the project in every area which has been invaluable. Would like to thank GCRF for their unstinted support which has been instrumental in the project’s progress so far. We have recently disseminated a research manuscript to communicate the findings, which will be open access for better reach especially in the developing countries such as India. Our proposed solutions are addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 13, 15 and 17.”

Dr. Vishal Krishna Singh said: “The primary goal of our research group is to propose solutions for problems which affect the human and animal life. Forest fires are one such issue and we aim to develop a cost-effective and accurate solution for preventing it. The GCRF funding for this project has been a great help not only to explore this domain but also to disseminate the findings to the researchers. The funding helped us to hire research associates for working on the research problem. The funding from GCRF also supported a five-day workshop, where researchers from India and the UK shared their useful insights in Machine Learnin; Internet of Things and Wireless Sensor Networks. We look forward to working in future with GCRF support in addressing other socio-economic issues such as animal poaching, water quality among others.”

About University of Essex: Founded in 1964, the University of Essex is one of UK’s leading universities which has grown from 122 students in the first year to 17,000+ now. The university maintains three campuses at Colchester, Southend and Loughton. Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Science and Health, and Faculty of Social Sciences are the three faculties at the university that take care of teaching, and academic development. Recipient of gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2017, the University of Essex is truly dedicated towards the overall development of students. It has close to 1,000 active researchers and 17,000 students from over 140 countries with an alumni strength in excess of 1,00,000. It was named University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2018 and in the top 25 for research quality in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.