Drone Amplified Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

EditorPress Release


Nebraska Department of Economic Development Matches Grant

Drone Amplified has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $224,999. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development has matched the grant to conduct research and development work on enabling intelligent drone-based aerial ignition for prescribed fires and backburns for wildfires.

 Drone Amplified’s drone-based system called IGNIS is reducing risk and cost to enable intelligent aerial ignition for prescribed fires and backburn ignitions on wildfires. Wildfires cause over $350 billion in damages and billions more are spent on prescribed and wildfires each year in the United States. As the size and number of wildfires increase, prescribed fires have emerged as one of the most cost-effective tools to reduce catastrophic damage by removing excess fuel for wildfires. Yet, most prescribed fires today are managed by people in close proximity to the fire or with the use of expensive manned helicopters, which are not always available when needed.

 “The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

 “What we’ve invented is the game changer – the technology to more safely, and efficiently, manage fires,” said Carrick Detweiler, CEO of Drone Amplified. “We can send drones into active fires in any kind of terrain. The SBIR grant will enable the development of additional intelligence to make IGNIS smarter and faster,” he added.


More on IGNIS and Drone Amplified

IGNIS is equipped with a hopper that carries a payload of standard ping-pong ball sized chemical spheres. It can be integrated with infrared and other types of cameras. The spheres are pre-loaded with potassium permanganate and later injected with antifreeze prior to being released.  The spheres ignite after hitting the ground, setting off back burns to create defensive lines for firefighters in rugged and sometimes unreachable terrain. IGNIS is easily controlled and automated with a custom App and allows drone operators to release the spheres with a high degree of accuracy in terrain that’s often difficult to detect with helicopters or airplanes. The drone’s dynamic ability to fly in densely smoky, high-altitude areas makes it extremely useful.