NRMA Insurance to cooperate in development of bushfire detection technology

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NRMA Insurance is cooperating with ad agency M&C Saatchi and data innovation firm CSIRO Data61 to create a prototype bushfire detection system that tracks smoke from bushfires, giving at-risk communities and local authorities ample warning in the event of a blaze.
The project, described as a “safety blanket” has been in development for almost two years with its innovation partner Tricky Jigsaw, a part of the M&C Saatchi Group. It uses a network of sensor nodes that “sniff” the air for smoke from fires. If smoke is detected, the nodes communicate with each other using a wireless sensor network to locate the source of the fire and aid firefighters and other emergency responders.
Jane Merrick, general manager of marketing and CX of NRMA Insurance, said: “NRMA Insurance has a long history of being there for customers before, during and after a disaster. With one in 10 Australians being impacted by bushfire at some point in their lives, we have developed the NRMA FireBlanket project to explore the role technology can play in helping us to detect and prevent bushfires.”
Ben Cooper, founder of M&C Saatchi, said: “This project has allowed us to collaborate on a prototype that has the potential to create on the ground ‘bush intelligence’ that gives always-on insight into bushfire conditions and threat. R&D continues with CSIRO’s Data 61 to move it closer to reality.”
NRMA Insurance will continue to work with its partners to take the next steps to improve the bushfire detection and management systems in Australia.

 Related stories:
Queensland faces ‘severe heatwave’, fire danger 
Extreme bushfires to become the “new normal”: climate change report 

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