NASA’s New Self-Learning AI Could Save First Responders


Image: Pixebay/MOTHERBOARD
Image: Pixabay/MOTHERBOARD
NASA scientists are engineering a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that they hope will help firefighters and other first responders escape dangerous situations. Set to launch next year, the system will help first responders through unpredictable fires and chemical leaks by giving them advice based on machine learning of past emergencies.

By Brad Bergan | MOTHERBOARD

The new system—called AUDREY—the Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction and sYnthesis—is designed to be distributed to individual firefighters so it can collect a precise network of data directly from the field, and learn from that data for next time. No emergency is the same, which means first responders have to rely on extensive training and experience to stay safe in dangerous conditions that can change rapidly. The AUDREY system hopes to use distributed data collection and machine learning to better inform first responders about the situation at hand.

The AI system is under joint development by the Department of Homeland Security, which funded the project, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It can analyze data and respond to human queries on demand, said Mark James, a supervisor and scientist at the lab. And it will communicate with those assigned to other first responders on the scene, creating a mesh network of AIs comprised of the police, firefighters and EMT.

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