With fire season approaching, Governor Gavin Newsom is looking for new ideas and technologies to stop the growing scourge of wildfires. And those ideas — if they work — could be worth millions of dollars thanks to a new X Prize.
Governor Newsom joined X Prize founder and chairman Peter Diamandis at the Near Future conference in San Diego yesterday to announce a contest looking for innovative technologies to detect and put out fires before they get too big. The contest will be sponsored by the X Prize Foundation, best known for awarding multi-million dollar prizes to new private space exploration technologies — like the Moonshot award for a lunar orbit.
Like the other X Prize contests, this firefighting award will be funded entirely through private money, said Newsom. The winner could get anywhere from $5 to $20 million, depending on the eventual rules of the contest. Whatever technology comes out of it, though, will only be adopted by the state if it works.
"Government, taxpayers don't pay a penny unless they come forward with a solution," he said.