Robots could help manage forests

Jared Keller on the new science of forestry robotics: "The vast majority of forests are destroyed by wild forest fires, and current methods of sylvan vigilance -- mainly those involved individual personnel on foot patrol -- are grossly inefficient in identifying emerging threats.


  1. Kill ALL The Humans

    (the most efficient way to ‘manage’ things is to recognize the forests don’t need managing)

  2. The vast majority of forests are destroyed by wild forest fires…

    When you try to put out every naturally-occurring fire before it’s allowed to run its course, fuel just continues to accumulate until you eventually get a monster-sized fire that no amount of human effort can subdue and that burns hot enough to badly damage the forest’s ability to recover.

    Better to keep a hands-off approach for the naturally occurring ones, they’re an important part of the natural ecosystem anyway.

  3. As a computer scientist,  I must say there are path planning algorithms much better than the one in the linked paper. Even the Wikipedia page lists several that are substantially better.

    I must also say that they tackled the easy bit (high-level path planning) and completely ignored all the difficult bits, like making a robot that can move from one square to the next without snagging on a branch, getting stuck on a root, damaging the flora and fauna, or being a danger to any human passing by. The actual fire-fighting might also need more details than just a laconic “start extinguish fire”.

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