University of Maryland Team Enters XPRIZE Competition to End Wildfires

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A multidisciplinary research collaboration led by the Department of Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) is working on new ways to detect, localize and suppress wildfires through its participation in the XPRIZE Wildfire international competition.  

The University of Maryland’s team “Crossfire,” led by FPE Chair Arnaud Trouvé, aims to improve wildfire mitigation tools via rapid and autonomous technologies as part of the competition’s $5M autonomous wildfire response track. 

The challenge is to develop a system that locates and suppresses a wildfire in an area spanning a thousand square kilometers with challenging wind and terrain conditions in just under 10 minutes. Targets were announced last April, and the competition is expected to carry over the next two years.

“This is a highly-visible and ambitious project for anyone interested in wildland fires and/or detection, suppression and UAS technologies,” said Trouvé.

The multidisciplinary team brings together researchers from FPE, including a group of 9 undergraduate students advised by Professor Stanislav Stoliarov and Assistant Professor Fernando Raffan-Montoya, as well as researchers from UMD’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Geographical Sciences, the UAS Research and Operations Center, the Maryland Autonomous Technologies Research Innovation and eXploration Lab, and managers from the new xFoundry@UMD team part of the E. A. Fernandez IDEA Factory. “Crossfire” will also collaborate with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

“The UMD team has unique expertise in drone and fire suppression technologies, and we think that we can design innovative solutions to meet the XPRIZE Wildfire challenge. If successful, these solutions will have applications to many fire safety problems,” said Trouvé. 

With more than 15 faculty members and 12 students—nine of whom are enrolled in the FPE major, alumni and friends are also welcomed to join or advise the team. Experience with wildland firefighting, detection or suppression technologies is particularly welcome. Please contact Chair Arnaud Trouvé ( to learn more. 

Published March 12, 2024