SoCal Tech Bridge Wraps-up First Iteration of Project Vesta Experiment for Wildfire Response

Updated: Apr 13


Camp Roberts, CALIFORNIA (February 14-18, 2022) – NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge conducted its first experiment iteration for Project Vesta, during the Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Joint Interagency Field Experimentation (JIFX) 22-2 aboard Camp Roberts, CA. Under the direction of NPS student Captain Ben Cohen, USMC, and the Project Vesta leadership team of SoCal Tech Bridge, CANA LLC, and TESIAC, the industry partners Arcimoto, BEAM, DANNAR, HEN Nozzles, JuiceBar, Komodo, Eirene AI, and Parallel Flight Technologies participated in experiments designed to address the severe and growing threat of wildfires. The goal of Project Vest is the development of an autonomous fire mitigation “system of systems'' prototype that combines state-of-the-art technology and Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) equipment that will “predict” or identify fire risk, shorten response times, enable localized atmospherics and real time situational awareness, predict fire movement and speed, and reduce risk to firefighters and first responders.


The UN Environment Program (UNEP) and GRID-Arendal research, Spreading Like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires, released February 23, 2022, reveals an increased risk even in areas previously undisturbed by wildfires. Wildfires are likely to become increasingly frequent and intense as a result of climate change and land use change. These are "mutually worsening" conditions, with a global rise in extreme flames of up to 14 percent by 2030,30 percent by the end of 2050, and 50 percent by the end of the century.


According to newly revealed data, the emergency is "growing like wildfire." Even the Arctic, which was previously thought to be immune to wildfires, is now at risk. The global carbon cycle is influenced by wildfires, and wildfires in ecosystems such as peatlands and rainforests - which store significant amounts of irrecoverable terrestrial carbon - release massive volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere, aggravating global warming. Wildfires may thereby exacerbate the carbon cycle's positive feedback loop, making it more difficult to reverse increasing temperatures.


With the completion of this first week of integrated experimentation, a clear vision and path forward has been established. This JIFX 22-2 week consisted of four days of tests aimed at merging the technology and capabilities of COTS equipment, along with subject matter expert input from industry partners, professional firefighters, and interested stakeholders. The initial stage goal was to independently evaluate capabilities to predict, detect, locate, cue assets, suppress, and reduce controlled fire burns while utilizing electric mobility platforms and renewable energy.


The next iteration of the Project Vesta Experiment will take place in May with the interim time being spent incorporating lessons learned, conducting market analysis to identify other technology partners to incorporate into the eventual solution, and planning for another great week of trying to make the world a safer, cleaner place to live!



Visit www.socaltechbridge.org to stay informed on Project Vesta and our other programs and initiatives.


About SoCal Tech Bridge: The SoCal Tech Bridge leverages the Southern California convergence of Installations, Industry, and Research to unlock emerging technology through non-traditional partnerships. The SoCal Tech Bridge is built around the philosophy that collaborative markets can be established that enable mutually beneficial opportunities for Department of Defense (DoD) and Commercial Industry to partner. These collaborative efforts are the foundation for a better business model unlocking the future of DoD Research & Development requirements development, and prototyping. Our technical focus areas - Installation Protection, Resilience, Mobility, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and Autonomous Systems - are woven throughout our collaborative efforts and vision.

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