News Flash

September 04, 2015, Friday
  • Maynilad announces water supply interruptions in some of its service areas on Thursday & Friday next week. 6 hours ago |
  • 1 of 2 men who fell off Magallanes flyover while on board a motorcycle declared dead on arrival at Pasay City Gen. Hospital. 6 hours ago |
  • PNP HPG asks LGUs in areas along EDSA to deploy 1 cop & 1 investigator at ‘choke points’ in case accidents happen. 6 hours ago |
  • Bike lanes along EDSA being installed. 6 hours ago |
  • White Plains shooting suspect Jose Maria Abaya identified by new complainants in a 3rd shooting spree in Caloocan City. 6 hours ago |
  • PNP HPG increases the number of its members to man traffic at EDSA on Monday from 90 to 150. 6 hours ago |
  • Sen. Drilon to ask LP to immediately convene and approve its vice presidential candidate for 2016. 6 hours ago |
  • Sen. Franklin Drilon believes Sen. Grace Poe will run for president in 2016. 6 hours ago |
  • Mother of death convict Maryjane Veloso claims Consul General Roberto Manalo is causing a rift between her & her daughter. 6 hours ago |
  • Celia Veloso says her daughter Maryjane who is in Indonesia’s death row is angry with her for criticizing PH gov’t. 7 hours ago |
  • Suspect in fatal shooting of a man in Quiapo, Manila nabbed. 7 hours ago |
  • Suspect in the slay of DepEd official’s wife & maid in Sta. Ana, Manila denies involvement in the crime. 7 hours ago |
  • Suspect in a double murder case in Sta. Ana, Manila to undergo inquest proceeding. 7 hours ago |
  • 3 vendors killed in a shooting incident in Marawi City. 7 hours ago |
  • 50 more lawmakers to face charges in connection to PDAF scam. 7 hours ago |
  • Firearms of retired and suspended policemen to be subjected to inventory. 7 hours ago |
  • QCPD Station Commanders ordered to go on weekend duty. 7 hours ago |
  • PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez asks mall owners to give PNP prior notice on mall sale. 7 hours ago |
  • 2 victims rushed to hospital after the motorcycle they were riding fell off Magallanes flyover in Makati City. 7 hours ago |
  • Bayan says gov’t to pay P7.5B in penalty charge to consortium operating LRT 1 due to unfulfilled contract obligations. 7 hours ago |
  • Passengers observe MRT 3 trains’ aircon & engine are frequently turned off at some stations which cause more travel delays. 7 hours ago |
  • LRT 2 commuters stand in long lines at train stations to pay for single-journey tickets each time they take rides. 7 hours ago |
  • Lack of beep cards with stored value still plagues LRT 2 operations weeks after magnetic cards were phased out. 7 hours ago |
  • Coloma says President Aquino still trusts Customs Commissioner Bert Lina. 12 hours ago |
  • 2 rebels arrested following an encounter between soldiers & NPAs in Camarines Sur. 12 hours ago |
  • DOTC says drivers in Metro Manila should refrain from committing traffic violations such as swerving & counter-flowing. 12 hours ago |
  • DOTC attributes heavy traffic congestion in Metro Manila to motorists' lack of discipline. 12 hours ago |
  • Complainant Gerry Dionisio says Jose Maria Abaya had fired upon his Kia pick-up along TPLEX in June this year. 12 hours ago |
  • Another previous victim of White Plains shooting suspect Jose Maria Abaya surfaces. 12 hours ago |
  • DPWH to reclaim 1.5 meter of sidewalk along Edsa currently being occupied by illegal vendors. 12 hours ago |
  • DPWH to set up yellow delineators from Edsa-Munoz to Edsa-Roxas Blvd. to separate lanes for public & private vehicles. 12 hours ago |
  • Death toll in accident on Wednesday involving a 10-wheeler truck in Barangka, Marikina rises to 3. 12 hours ago |
  • Customs Chief Bert Lina says sorry for the inspection of balikbayan boxes. 21 hours ago |

Peaceful role for drones explored at conference

By AFP | Jun. 14, 2013 at 12:02am
Unmanned drones, instead of being harbingers of death, should become a vital technological tool in the conservation fight and in delivering vital goods to remote areas, the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh heard Wednesday.

Biologist and science-fiction fan Lian Pin Koh told the conference about his fleet of environmental drones which have been used to monitor the Orangutan population in the remote Indonesian forest of northern Sumatra.

The aircraft have a two-meter wingspan, weigh less than two kilograms and cost just $4,000.

Equipped with a mini-computer, a GPS, a compass and an altimeter, they can be easily programed using Google Maps and are able to fly autonomously for between 40 and 60 minutes, travelling up to 50 kilometers.

Their high resolution cameras can “establish a map of the forest”, generate 3D images of the site and “monitor illegal activities harmful to nature,” explained the speaker.

Since January, 200 vehicles have been built and are being used by environmental protection groups in Switzerland, Indonesia, Madagascar, Congo, the United States and Greenland.

“We believe that the drones have a huge potential not only to fight crimes against nature but also for studying biodiversity and animal life,” said Lian Pin Koh.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences that presents speakers with an 18-minute window to promote their “ideas worth spreading”.

Greek businessman, Andreas Raptopoulos, now settled in Silicon Valley, saw another role for drones in delivering essential goods such as drugs and vaccines to otherwise inaccessible areas.

He hopes a network of drones will help the “one billion people” who are completely cut off for part of the year due to impassable roads and conducted a test mission into a Haitian refugee camp in 2012.

But Raptopoulos also envisages drones having “a significant impact” in bottle-necked “megacities”, saying they could deliver packages across town for as little as 24 US cents.

But drones today are seen almost exclusively as a weapon of war, a theme explored by science fiction author Daniel Suarez.

“I’m not here to talk about fiction but real robot-killers,” he said, citing robot-snipers located on the border of the two Koreas which are able to “automatically identify a human target and shoot him from over a mile away.

“Currently, there are still men in the loop but they are not required technically, it is a choice,” he explained, adding that 70 nations are currently on the path to developing similar weapons.

He called for the establishment of an international treaty and a “ban the manufacture of robots-killers.”

“There are tons of great uses for unmanned drones but we need a framework for robotic weapons as it puts too much power into too few hands,” he said.

Suarez also warned that amount of footage currently being produced by surveillance drones was “outstripping the human ability to review it all”.

Previous TED speakers include U2 singer Bono, Microsoft mastermind Bill Gates and former US president Bill Clinton.
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