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The world needs a new approach to handling wildfires. As we continue to battle these blazes with outdated methods, the question arises: can we do better?
Enter XPRIZE Wildfire, an ambitious global competition launched by XPRIZE, the world's leader in large-scale incentive competitions, aiming to revolutionize the way we detect and extinguish wildfires.
A grand challenge with a grand prize
Offering $11 million in prize funding, XPRIZE Wildfire is a 4-year competition that challenges teams worldwide to develop and demonstrate fully-autonomous capabilities to detect and extinguish wildfires. But why is this competition necessary?
Extreme Wildfire Events (EWEs)
EWEs are driving over 80% of fire-related damages globally and costing an approximately $350 billion in damages annually in the United States alone.
EWEs wreak havoc on ecosystems, cause long-term global economic burdens, and often result in devastating injuries and loss of life. Despite these high environmental and economic costs, fire management technologies have not evolved significantly in decades.
A call to action: The race to revolutionize wildfire response
With the support of federal agencies, sponsors, and partners, XPRIZE Wildfire encourages innovation in two complementary tracks designed to transform how fires are detected, managed, and fought:
- Space-Based Wildfire Detection & Intelligence: Teams have one minute to detect all fires across a landscape larger than entire states or countries, and 10 minutes to precisely characterize and report data with the least false positives to fire managers on the ground.
- Autonomous Wildfire Response: Teams must monitor at least 1,000 km2, and autonomously suppress a wildfire within 10 minutes of detection.
Additionally, the $1M Lockheed Martin Accurate Detection Intelligence Bonus Prize will be awarded for innovations in accurate and precise detection of wildfires.
Incentive-based competitions are a smart way to speed up innovation
Incentive-based competitions, such as the XPRIZE, have proven to be a smart and effective way to speed up innovation across various fields.
One of the primary reasons is that these competitions tap into the power of crowdsourcing, drawing together a diverse pool of talent from around the globe.
By providing a lucrative monetary reward and the prestige of winning a prestigious competition, these contests attract innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs who might not have otherwise pursued a particular challenge.
This influx of talent and ideas results in a rapid acceleration of research and development, as well as the emergence of creative and unconventional solutions.
Moreover, incentive-based competitions like the XPRIZE often focus on solving complex, real-world problems that require interdisciplinary collaboration. This encourages participants to form multidisciplinary teams, which promotes the exchange of knowledge and ideas between individuals with varying expertise.
This cross-pollination of skills and perspectives can lead to breakthroughs that may have been otherwise unattainable. Additionally, the competitive nature of these contests fosters a sense of urgency and drives teams to work more efficiently, further expediting the innovation process.
The race is on!
Here you can read more, and why not put together a team and join the competition?