Announcing the XPRIZE Wildfire Space-Based Qualified Teams

Apr 17 2024

XPRIZE Wildfire’s independent judging panel has selected 20 Qualified Teams from around the world to advance to the next round of the XPRIZE Wildfire Space-Based Detection & Intelligence track.

The XPRIZE Wildfire Judging Panel is composed of external experts who possess the subject matter experience to evaluate, verify, and validate the teams' solutions. It includes professionals in fire science and management, geophysics, engineering, and more. 

Judges reviewed each team’s Qualifying Technical Submission, a written proposal detailing the teams’ solutions to the competition challenge and the proposed plan for how to meet the competition goals. The judges independently assessed and rated these submissions before collectively reviewing them to determine which teams had the strongest and most viable solutions. 

This cohort of interdisciplinary, innovative teams will equally share a milestone prize purse of $750,000.


Akula Tech | Melbourne, Australia – Akula Tech is developing a cutting-edge cloud-based platform for wildfire detection, integrating earth observation satellite data from Akula Tech's advanced satellites featuring real-time continuous machine learning for autonomous monitoring. The cloud-based data processing pipeline will be trained using a comprehensive dataset of imagery collected over historical wildfire events across the globe, sourced from existing Earth observation satellites, ensuring accuracy in the deployment phase. The team, led by Akula Tech, includes the University of South Australia, Swinburne University of Technology, & AIILA.  

Be The Change Analytics | South Lake Tahoe, CA, United States – Given that destructive wildfires behave dynamically, Be The Change Analytics is focused on creating an environmentally conscious, multi-pronged inverse solution that performs dynamically. This approach is intended to support global firefighters with innovative tech and insightful analytics that enable safe decisions and effective policies while delivering prompt, accurate and continuous monitoring of global wildfires. Be The Change Analytics is composed of Air Force pilots, aerospace engineers, optical engineers, systems engineers, orbital analysts, mathematicians, data scientists, USFS hotshots, and safety analysts.

BlacksharkAI | Graz, Austria – proposes a solution focusing on data processing, detection, analysis, and reporting to decision-makers. It leverages AI models and diverse datasets. Image acquisition itself is out of scope. The system relies on multispectral and SAR imagery updated regularly and augmented with additional datasets. Synthetic data generation for training, alongside ensemble AI models, enable the required accuracy. Pre-fire imagery will be used as additional context for AI models to detect wildfires. specializes in GeoINT using AI. Using their ORCA platform and leveraging their team of AI, cloud, and software engineers, they're advancing state-of-the-art high frequency mapping.

Chooch | San Mateo, CA, United States – Chooch's satellite analysis platform harnesses Nvidia compute power which can be flexibly deployed in a public or private cloud, self-hosted, or in edge configurations. Satellite imagery will be obtained from multiple partners with various capabilities including Maxar, Planet, Capella, Sentinel, etc. Images are tiled and fed to customized wildfire AI models. Results can be disseminated via Chooch Smart Analytics dashboard which can be accessed by operators anywhere.

DeepFire | Baton Rouge, LA, United States – DeepFire’s system is a combination of an AI-based wildfire prediction system and an AI-based wildfire detection system that interact synergistically. The detection system uses predictive risk maps to increase or decrease confidence in detections it is unsure of. The detector can forward information on current fires to a predictive model to predict future behavior, such as danger level, speed, direction of spread, etc. Supratik Mukhopadhyay, Professor of AI at LSU, leads the team. Previously, he led a team to the semifinal of the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. Other team members include Dr. Robert Dibiano, Richard Barbalace, Dylan Wichman, and Matt Braun.

Ember Guard – a Wildfire Watch Group | Palo Alto, CA, United States – Ember Guard’s approach fuses low- to high-resolution satellite data with atmospheric conditions and social media. Using deep learning along with LLM and AI techniques to detect wildfires, a scalable cloud-based high-resolution wildfire model forecasts the likely propagation and intensity of a given wildfire so that firefighters can prioritize their limited resources. Ember Guard is a cross-disciplinary team led by a high school sophomore along with materials scientists, entrepreneurs, wildfire-focused atmospheric modeling experts, mathematicians, and senior research scientists.

Fire Eye | Hillsboro, OR, United States – Fire Eye employs multiply-sourced hyperspectral image analysis within existing infrastructure for cloud computation and ground control stations. The system uses ensemble models to predict fires and their behavior. Multiple communication channels for effective information dispersal. Team Fire Eye is a veteran in first responder-based research and development with extensive expertise in computational vision algorithm development, aerospace sciences, and communication protocols.

Generative Intelligence | Mijas, Spain –  Generative Intelligence leverages a cascading AI system to  first identify high-probability fire zones by integrating satellite imagery and historical, climatic, and terrain data. High-risk areas undergo detailed analysis using cutting-edge AI to pinpoint fires, monitor spread, and evaluate impact, enabling swift emergency response. This scalable and adaptable solution can incorporate new data sources and expand to new areas. Generative Intelligence joins forces with top satellite companies to revolutionize firefighting. With cutting-edge AI and a personal stake in fire-prone Andalusia, Generative Intelligence is driven to save lives and land.

Loft Orbital | Toulouse, France—Loft Orbital has a strong environmental protection mindset and is running a global, employee-led, minimal-impact initiative. With about 200 employees, $200M of capital raised, multiple satellites in space, and a global roster of customers including NASA, ESA, the US DOD, Eutelsat, Honeywell, and Microsoft, Loft is looking to deploy a constellation focused on environmental monitoring.

Muon Space | Mountain View, CA, United States – Muon Space is leading the development of a Wildfire constellation in collaboration with partners. This multi-satellite constellation is purpose designed for the wildfire mission. A multispectral infrared instrument has been designed by Muon for fire detection, monitoring and analysis. The protoflight for this constellation will be in orbit and able to support the wildfire challenge demonstration. Muon Space is an end-to-end space systems provider that designs, builds, and operates LEO satellite constellations delivering mission-critical data for a safer and more resilient world.

MyRadar | Orlando, FL, United States – MyRadar specializes in building AI technology and robust data pipelines to deliver data, visualizations, and environmental alerts. Their patented miniaturized satellite technology uses spectral imagers and onboard AI optimizations to enable rapid alerting for environmental hazards, such as wildfires. The team’s mission is to democratize real-time information that allows better, more risk-informed decisions, and a constellation of satellites will provide data and alerting toward this goal. MyRadar is a technology company that builds situational awareness products trusted by millions of customers. The satellite team consists of several dedicated engineers and subject matter experts.

Orbital Sidekick | San Francisco, CA, United States – Orbital Sidekick will use a combination of hyperspectral and multispectral satellite images which allow speciation of vegetative materials and detection of combustion. Orbital Sidekick’s GHOSt constellation currently consists of six satellites, five of which are already in orbit and acquiring data, with seven in development. Orbital Sidekick is building the most advanced constellation of hyperspectral satellites with unmatched global monitoring capacity through its spatial and spectral resolution. Orbital Sidekick’s XPRIZE team consists of hyperspectral imaging and data scientists as well as payload engineers, technical leaders, product managers, and UI/UX designers. 

OroraTech | Munich, Germany – OroraTech’s software fuses data from more than 25 public satellites and fills data gaps with a proprietary constellation of satellites specialized in wildfire detection and analytics. OroraTech’s satellites are equipped with a high-resolution thermal-infrared camera optimized for fire-front analytics and land surface temperature measurement. Through on-orbit processing, fires are detected on the satellite and the information gets relayed instantly via an inter-satellite link. OroraTech was founded in 2018 as a spin-off from TU Munich. The team has grown to more than 95 international employees, 15 investors and several advisors from the wildfire and space sector.

Redback Fire Team | Melbourne, Australia – Redback Fire Team proposes a two-phase, integrated and robust solution to wildfire surveillance and characterization. Phase 1 aims to detect wildfires within one minute using a constellation of EO sensors. The algorithm is tailored to accommodate geographical, seasonal, and diurnal variations. This module is currently operational in Australia, delivering hotspot notifications within 20-45 seconds. Phase 2 accurately characterizes fire detections and behavior using a hybrid-model approach within 10 minutes. Redback Fire Team is composed of members from RMIT University & Covey Associates PTY LTD, bringing together expertise in wildfire detection and attribution, and fire behavior & modeling.

SIRIUS Wildfire Alliance | London, United Kingdom – SIRIUS Wildfire Alliance will deliver high-resolution wildfire nowcasting and forecasting by integrating Earth Observations, AI, GIS, a cutting-edge wildfire spread model and a unique combination of ground and space-edge computing. By leveraging onboard computations and efficient telemetry, SIRIUS can employ advanced but typically time-consuming techniques for granular spread and false positive detection, provide early information for emergency response, and recommend efficient firefighting resource allocations. SIRIUS brings together young engineers, established academics, researchers in top universities, ambitious startups from the UK and Australia, and wildfire management professionals.

Snuffed | Flagstaff, AZ, United States – Snuffed  proposes a “string of pearls” constellation of 90 micro-satellites or CubeSats in low Earth orbit (LEO). The orbital period in LEO is 90 minutes, so one unit in Snuffed’s constellation passes over a given ground location once per minute. The team’s rapid detection strategy, when fully implemented, has the potential to reduce these costs and damages enormously. This is a game-changing advance in humanity’s approach to combating wildfires. The Snuffed XPRIZE Wildfire Team currently has 25 engineers, scientists, firefighting and fire management experts, students, and private sector industry professionals.

SpectraCan | Vancouver, BC, Canada – SpectraCan proposes real-time fire detection using existing satellites for continuous coverage in high-risk areas with geostationary and orbital satellites. An algorithm will track coverage for available satellites and pull data for specific regions of interest as it becomes available. Sub–60-second detection will be achieved through the team’s unique capability to apply deep learning to spectral data in real-time. This allows detection even with coarse spatial resolutions, and accommodates slow downlink speeds. SpectraCan currently consists of 15 members from the AI spectral analysis company Metaspectral. This is across deep learning research, chemometrics, hardware, software, and product.

Team FUEGO | Santa Fe, NM, United States – The Team FUEGO platform will provide persistent surveillance for early wildfire detection and continuous chronicling of fire behavior over vast geographical areas. The team’s intel products will include active wildfire characterization, reporting of fire location, intensity and spread, wildfire behavior prediction, and post-fire severity/damage assessment. Team FUEGO’s host satellites will have the spatial resolution, the rapid cadence, and low data latency necessary to detect new fires of less than 0.5 MW. Team FUEGO includes engineers, scientists, and business stakeholders, from select international organizations, developing an integrated wildfire intelligence system for world-wide deployment. 

Mayday (Guardian Space) | Darmstadt, Germany – Mayday’s solution combines real-time global wildfire detection and monitoring with early warning access for all, providing community-centric solutions. Mayday boasts seasoned specialists in wildfire surveillance, disaster management, and cutting-edge remote sensing technologies

Woolpert DI Cloud Geo Team | Dayton, OH, United States – The Woolpert DI solution is based on the orchestration of several models and satellite sources through different phases: early risk assessment, rapid fire detection, fire characterization, and operational delivery. Forecasting models, computer vision, deep learning, and first-principles models will be deployed alongside a variety of public and commercial satellite sources. The overall workflow will be automated into a platform designed to send operational insights and alerts to relevant stakeholders. Woolpert DI is a team of remote sensing scientists, cloud engineers, AI/ML experts, and environmental scientists that build scalable models and analytical platforms based on Earth Observations and AI.