Ghana Fire Service joins the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) to develop a Drone Controlled Firefighting
The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Tarkwa has taken the necessary steps to collaborate with the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to use drone technology to help in firefighting and rescue operations in the country. At a short ceremony to make a presentation about the technology to the Management and Officers of the Service, the leader of the student innovators, Mr Vondee Selasie explained that the technology which they named “TuyoChat” was designed with combined features of an A1 chatbot and autonomous drone control system which enables control of drones using natural language conversation, with the aid of a natural language Processing system.
He further said that the innovation seeks to control drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) with chats. TuyoChat therefore seeks to facilitate rescue operations including fire outbreaks as well as communicate signs of emerging disasters by flying drones to scenes to capture media coverage, gather information and feedback using natural language (English or any other local language). The drone camera feed will for instance provide Fire fighters with an aerial view; gather better information, including identifying victims of disaster. This will help to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of rescue operations to secure life and property.
Justifying the need for support for the project, Vondee indicated that the literature reviewed so far suggested that existing drone technologies are largely manually controlled. This tends to limit the capacity of drones to pick-up instructions, undertake assignments and feedback to instructors accordingly. TuyoChat is therefore to fill this gap by developing Artificial Intelligence which enables the drone to understand the instructions of its controller, undertake assigned tasks and feedback accordingly. At the end of the project, it is expected that a drone connected to this system will be able to initiate complex flight missions with just text commands, analyze conversation and give real-time feedbacks from data and requests made to the bot.
A Group Picture of the UMaT Team and the Staff of GNFS
The delegation from UMaT was led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma. The discussions centred on how best the two institutions could better develop the technology to help the Firemen and Women to advance their knowledge and operations in firefighting. Prof Kuma was hopeful that GNFS will give their support for the development of the technology and urged them to engage Government for the necessary discussions for financial support for the project.
The Chief Fire Officer, Mr Edwin Ekow Blankson was full of praise for the students for the initiative and the University for providing the platform for the student to exhibit their technological potential. He said the move would help the Ghana National Fire Service to take their operations to a higher level with this technology and promised that the service would give the needed support it deserves.
Also present at the ceremony from UMaT were Mr Eric Kavaarpuo, Senior Assistant Registrar of the Office of Research, Innovation and Consultancy, Mr Paul Yeboah, the University Relations Officer, Emmanuel Aseidu Brempong and Abdul Harisu Inusah both members of the team of student innovators.