Startup commercializes unmanned forest fire-monitoring smart pole

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 3, 2023, 17:01 Updated : February 7, 2023, 09:01

[Courtesy of Telebit]

SEOUL -- A startup specializing in closed-circuit television camera solutions has developed an unmanned smart pole that can detect forest fires and humans nearby using thermal image sensors. The pole capable of standalone operation by solar power panels can also collect video evidence in cases of wildfires.  
Springtime is the period when South Korea is exposed to wildfires. Especially with strong winds blowing from the southwestern parts of the Korean Peninsula, mountainous areas filled with evergreen trees on the east coast are often caught up in large fires. The main cause of fires is fires lit by accident.
In March 2022, a forest fire suspected of being lit by an unextinguished cigarette erupted in the eastern seaside town of Uljin. The fire lasted for nine days, burning down an area of some 210 square kilometers (21,000 hectares), and forcing 6,482 residents to evacuate. According to the National Fire Agency, the damage caused by the Uljin mountain fire is estimated to be at least 168.9 billion won ($137.4 million).
Telebit, a surveillance system developer startup, said that the company commercialized a solar-powered standalone smart pole equipped with a high-resolution camera and thermal sensor, wireless communication module, and remote speaker notification system. The smart pole can remotely send out warnings in cases of disasters such as fire and count the number of nearby people who are on the move.
In cases of forest fire, the smart pole will send images of the fire and people who have recently traveled near the pole to the control tower. The smart pole can also be used for the monitoring of wildlife including wild boars and deer to prevent accidents. The battery will last up to 25 days.
"This smart pole can be used for various monitoring purposes including the monitoring of illegally parked cars, detecting accidents on bicycle roads, and managing women's safety late at night," a Telebit official said in a statement on February 3. 

Artificial intelligence-based smart poles hooked onto wireless internet networks are being adopted across South Korea. In March 2022, Seoul demonstrated smart poles equipped with drones to monitor traffic congestion and illegal parking. The southern city of Miryang demonstrated smart poles in April to use a digital signboard to inform drivers driving in a school zone when there's a pedestrian nearby. 
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