Winning project from the 4th Open Call funded by the AI4Copernicus Project

Companies: STAM S.r.l. / Gter S.r.l. / La SIA S.p.A
Country: Italy | Domain: Security

An interview with the winners – Davide Ottonello, representing the AI-RON MAN project

Q: What was your motivation for creating this proposal?

A: AI-RON MAN project arises from the need to protect our critical infrastructures, in particular those of the telecommunications sector, from the phenomenon of forest wildfires, recently exacerbated by the effects of climate change. This danger, although not yet so topical in Europe, has already created evident damage in the USA, especially in California. The main motivation of AI-RON MAN, indeed, was to endow stakeholders with proper tools to forecast risk of wildfires near TLC infrastructures and put in place prevention and response measures in time.

Q: Which is the most critical impact (societal or other) that your project could make (if you could name one)?

A: AI-RON MAN ambition is to dramatically improve temporal and spatial resolution of wildfire forecasts thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Earth Observation. Besides the technical challenge, such achievement would generate benefits for the whole society, i.e. it would increase preparation and protection against severe wildfires, safeguard TLC infrastructures and ensure the continuity of radio communication and mobile telephone network (which is even precious during emergency management).

Q: Considering the recent funding received through the AI4Copernicus Open Calls, do you have any plans for further development of your idea?

A: AI-RON MAN final output will be a digital tool capable to forecast and monitor wildfire risk in real-time for hundreds of TLC infrastructures located in remote places, such as cell towers and base-transceiver station. Such tool will also give a first estimation of the impact of the outage of the station in terms of service disruption and number of users affected. AI-RON MAN outcomes will be tested and validated on at least three real TLC infrastructures.

A few words about the project: The AI-RON MAN project aims to deliver a digital tool to dynamically predict wildfire risk in rural areas where TLC infrastructures are located, supporting first responders to preventively intervene and avoid disruption of communication service. Such tool is expected indeed to significantly improve fire risk prediction capabilities, as well as preparedness of first responders and resilience of critical infrastructures. For this purpose, forecasts will be produced for a time horizon sufficient for infrastructure managers to put in place (or at least prepare) proper countermeasures and at the same time suitable to consider predictions reliable, ideally the next 48 hours. AI-RON MAN tool will also assess the network outage due to damages caused by wildfire, estimating likelihood and impact in terms of coverage area and potential number of users affected.