FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Learn more about the Silvanet forest fire detection system with answers to some frequently asked questions. If your question isn't answered here, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
How does Dryad’s Silvanet wildfire detection system work?
Dryad’s Silvanet detects wildfires during their smoldering phase using highly precise gas
sensors that can detect hydrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other gasses to a
parts-per-million (PPM) accuracy. Simply put, if ocular systems such as satellites, drones and
CCTV cameras can be said to ‘see’ fires, then Dryad’s Silvanet can be said to ‘smell’ them.
How many sensors/mesh gateways/border gateways are needed to cover a forest?
Different forests and terrains require different solutions. Fewer sensors are required in lower risk areas such as remote locations. Nearer to infrastructure and areas of human activity (such as roads, campsites and railways), a denser deployment of sensors, mesh gateways and border gateways will be required.
What sort of network does Dryad’s Silvanet use?
Our network is based on LoRaWAN, the leading standard for long-range IoT. The LoRa / LoRaWAN standard is a well-established industry standard for long-range communication specifically designed for IoT use-cases.
LoRaWAN’s radio communication and protocol is owned by Semtech (an early investor in Dryad) and a burgeoning ecosystem of chipset and module vendors has developed since its inception in 2012.
LoRaWAN is a great option for Dryad due to its ultra-low power needs, long range, license-free spectrum, high capacity and thriving ecosystem.
How long do Silvanet’s sensors last?
Our sensors have been designed and manufactured with longevity and sustainability in mind. They provide 10-15 years of maintenance-free operation (no need to change any batteries, for example). We use commercial grade, glass-covered solar panels which have a manufacturer-guaranteed 20-year lifespan.
Are these sensors weather-proof?
Yes. We use commercial grade, glass-covered solar panels which have a manufacturer-guaranteed 20-year lifespan. Furthermore, our solar panels are three times larger than initially necessary and will continue to operate even as the panel performance degrades slightly over time. Weather, hail, humidity have no impact – the electrical components are sealed in resin making each sensor very durable.
Where are these sensors installed within the forest?
Our sensors are fixed to the trees within the forest (with roughly around one sensor per hectare) at a height of around 3 meters to minimize the risks of human and animal interference.
Due to their small size, color and unobtrusive design, our sensors are hard to spot once installed. Even if they were to be interfered with in any way, our cloud-based analytics platform would soon alert the end-user that the network had been compromised.
How is Dryad's Silvanet system powered?
We use solar panels in each and every one of our products. The solar panels charge built-in supercapacitors during the day to have enough energy to operate throughout the night, ensuring 24/7 protection and wildfire detection.
Our use of supercapacitors instead of Lithium-Ion batteries means our Silvanet system can operate maintenance-free for 10-15 years and avoids some of the problems inherent with Lithium-Ion devices, such as their proneness to self-combustion and toxic materials that can leach out of them.
How do Silvanet’s sensors get power deep in the forest?
Our sensors have been extensively tested to ensure that their integrated solar panels can meet their energy needs, even in shaded forest locations. To maximize the energy efficiency of our Wildfire Sensors, we use a two-phase detection system which relies on ultra-low-power air quality sensing for the most part, triggering very accurate gas sensing when the air quality sensing mode suspects a fire. This way, Dryad combines the advantages of the air quality sensor (extremely low energy consumption) with the advantages of the gas sensor (minimizing alarms) while at the same time compensating for the disadvantages of both.
How can these sensors detect the fire? How can they know it’s a real fire but not just a burning cigarette?
The built-in artificial intelligence (AI) of the sensors is continually trained for the specific ‘smell’ of the target forest on fire. Our customers collect samples from the forest floor and send them to Germany so that we can train our AI in the lab. Over time, we will collect more and more samples from typical forests in the different parts of the world and will eventually no longer have to train the AI for new deployments as there is only a finite amount of forest types. We expect this to be the case within the first two years of operation.
Doing so allows our Silvanet system to be continuously evolving and improving and greatly minimizes any risks of false positives within the platform.
What if the sensors are burned by a fire?
Our sensors are very durable and hard-wearing, with all electronic components sealed with resin.
In the event of a fire, our sensors will detect it during its initial smoldering phase, meaning that several networked sensors will trigger alerts on the front-end platform, starting with the closest sensor to the fire’s outbreak. This gives highly accurate information about where the fire has started, allowing for its rapid and easy extinguishing.
During a recent prescribed burning in Guadalajara, Spain, one of our sensors took a beating from the fire but still managed to carry on transmitting data back to the cloud analytics platform.
How do you conduct maintenance if your products are distributed across the world?
Our sensors and gateways have been designed for 10-15 years of maintenance-free operation. Since our devices are run entirely on solar power, traditional maintenance - for example, having to change batteries - is not required. Both the gateways and the sensors support firmware-updates-over-the-air (FUOTA) which enables us to remotely update the embedded software and avoid any need to manually upgrade or update the devices.
Is Dryad involved solely in wildfire detection?
While our initial focus at Dryad is wildfire detection, the Bosch BME688 sensors used in Silvanet sensor devices also collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity and air pressure which is periodically sent to the Silvanet Cloud, allowing forest owners to better understand the microclimate of the forest and its influence and development of the forest heath over time.
Further planned use-cases involve sensors that can detect chainsaw noise to help prevent illegal logging.
It’s not just about forests either, our technology can also be applied to other ecosystems including lakes, rivers and oceans. At Dryad, we have ambitious plans to connect the natural world and protect our planet.
Are Dryad’s products sustainable?
Unlike most IoT devices, which rely on lithium-ion batteries, Silvanet sensors and gateways are fully solar-powered. To reduce our impact on the planet, our company uses strict green standards when choosing suppliers and reviewing processes. Products, procedures, supply networks, and overall operations are promised to be optimized from a sustainability standpoint. To know more about Dryad’s sustainable principles, visit our “Sustainability” section from our website.