Singaporean government equips firefighters with AI glasses

September 14, 2023

Fire service AI

Singapore is equipping firefighters with 5G-enabled AI-integrated smart glasses. 

The two-year pilot program will leverage 5G, AI, and augmented reality (AR) technologies to offer firefighters real-time remote assistance in the field. 

The initiative is a collaborative effort involving multiple public sector agencies, such as the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), in addition to local telecommunications company StarHub and IBM.

IBM’s Maximo Visual Inspection, an AI-powered computer vision (CV) application, is the brain of the project. 

The project will be implemented at the SCDF’s cutting-edge fire station in Punggol and integrated with the fire service’s new fleet of emergency vehicles.

Many emergency services teams use video cameras to beam feeds to central headquarters so experts can advise them on the fly, but this takes things one step further by directly integrating real-time information into firefighters’ fields of vision.

Firefighters will use voice-activated commands and access dynamic content displayed on their 5G-connected smart glasses for equipment inspection and inventory monitoring. 

AI assistance in the field

The pilot program will also provide firefighters with AR-enabled remote assistance.

For example, the glasses will deliver video feeds to fire investigation experts for real-time scene analysis. 

Google’s AR glasses project, Google Glass, was also trialed for emergency workers before production was withdrawn in 2015.

Google then revived the project for enterprises to terminate it a second time shortly after.

Ling Young Ern, SCDF’s deputy commissioner for future technology and public safety, remarked, “SCDF has been piloting smart technologies to reshape the way frontliners are trained and operations are executed. The 5G-enabled fire engine makes secure, real-time transmission of high-quality videos and images achievable.”

Singapore’s state-of-the-art 5G infrastructure supports the deployment of smart wireless technologies, including fleets of IoT sensors that measure real-time citywide data for everything from pollution and traffic control to waste management.

AI has a long history of assisting emergency workers, including predicting ‘flashovers,’ which occur when fires quickly escalate or become explosive.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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