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  • Ben Jones

Dryad Networks and PG&E Collaboration Showcased at Incubatenergy Labs Demo Day 2022

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

We were delighted to be given the opportunity to demonstrate our Silvanet wildfire detection technology at last week's Incubatenergy® Labs Demo Day in Minneapolis.

Incubatenergy Labs is a summit and demonstration program in one: built for startups to engage with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and electric power utilities companies. It introduces innovative startups with utilities companies from around the world so that they can collaboratively lead the advancement of electrification, decarbonization and grid modernization.

Our Co-founder and SVP Worldwide Sales, Ben Banerjee, showcased our game-changing forest fire detection system as part of the 2022 cohort. Ben gave more details on Dryad's ongoing work with Pacific Gas & Electric to demonstrate its Silvanet large scale IoT network solution for early wildfire detection in Northern California. The Silvanet system includes asset-mounted sensors, a mesh network utilizing LoRaWAN for communications and a cloud-based data analysis dashboard for precision analytics.

"Detection speed is the key to avoiding wildfires and having communications in remote locations has been a long-running industry challenge.
[Dryad's collaboration with PG&E] involves ultra low-cost smoke-sensing technology combined with low bandwidth communications to enable the detection of wildfires in areas where we've traditionally run into significant communications challenges."

Douglas Dorr

Technical Executive of Distribution and Distribution Assets


Why are PG&E working with Dryad?

Wildfires are a significant environmental, societal and economic problem and like other utilities companies, PG&E must protect their infrastructure, assets and mitigate their liabilities caused by wildfires. Dryad's ultra-early wildfire detection technology allows them to do this.

The embedded artificial intelligence and machine learning within our detection technology was another key element that attracted PG&E who were seeking a solution to effectively 'smell' fires from their wooden power line poles. We have extensively trained our AI at Dryad to be able to detect different types of fire from all over the world and have therefore been able to also train it to accurately and reliably detect early-stage fires from PG&E's poles.

"[Dryad's technology] uses more of a smell-type sensor which can be very beneficial as you can detect smell for longer distances.
This technology has potential in our rural areas where we have limited communications and can give us a very granular approach in addition to the wildfire detection cameras we have in place.
After three months of pilot testing in our labs, we feel pretty confident that the technology is reliable for us to move over to the next pilot where we will better learn and understand how these devices work in rural areas, how the solar panels behave in charging these devices, and give us really good early detection for any wildfire risk."

Gavin Fong

Principal, Wildfire Risk Management

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

The fact that Dryad's sensors can updated over-the-air was also a key feature that attracted PG&E to the collaboration. Once deployed, our sensors can be enhanced remotely with patches and software updates, that is: over-the-air (OTA). For example, once our AI learns a new smell or use-case, we can quickly redeploy these updates across our large-scale mesh gateway, ensuring the most up-to-date and reliable wildfire sensing possible.

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