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August 01, 2015, Saturday
  • Sen. Poe says those who compare her to an unripe fruit must know this is what consumers prefer since it lasts longer. 2 hours ago |
  • Rep. Erice says Roxas intends to resign from DILG following his announcement of his presidential bid. 2 hours ago |
  • Caloocan Rep. Erice says LP still wants Sen. Grace Poe to run as Roxas’ vice presidential candidate. 2 hours ago |
  • Duterte on Roxas’ presidential bid: “I hope he makes it.” 2 hours ago |
  • Duterte says he is happy for Roxas after he got Pres. Aquino’s endorsement. 2 hours ago |
  • Stricter security measures to be enforced at NBP’s Building 14 where ‘Bilibid 19’ inmates are now detained. 2 hours ago |
  • High-profile NBP inmates ‘Bilibid 19’ returned to Muntinlupa after 7 months of detention at NBI. 2 hours ago |
  • Tropical storm ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR moving west at 20 kph. 2 hours ago |
  • Storm ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR has max. sustained winds of 65 kph & gustiness of up to 85 kph. 2 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says tropical storm ‘Soudelor’ won’t make landfall when it enters PAR on Wednesday. 2 hours ago |
  • Tropical storm with international name ‘Soudelor’ expected to enter PAR on Wednesday. 2 hours ago |
  • Binay & Fmr. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim among those who sent flowers to Cory Aquino’s tomb. 2 hours ago |
  • Sixth death anniversary of Fmr. Pres. Cory Aquino being remembered today. 2 hours ago |
  • Passenger’s disruptive behavior in Cebupac plane from Dubai forced the crew to make an emergency landing in India. 22 hours ago |
  • Crew of PH-bound Cebu Pacific plane made a Filipino passenger alight from the aircraft after causing commotion & bomb scare. 22 hours ago |
  • Enrile attends Sandiganbayan hearing on pork barrel scam. 22 hours ago |
  • DFA to file third diplomatic protest against Canada over trash. 22 hours ago |
  • Magnitude 3.4 quake jolts Sultan Kudarat. 22 hours ago |
  • DPWH to conduct road reblocking in parts of Quezon City & Pasig at 10 pm Friday. 22 hours ago |
  • UNA admits Pres. Aquino’s endorsement of Roxas has weight. 22 hours ago |
  • Binay visits communities in Cavite. 22 hours ago |
  • Binay says Roxas had been dilly-dallying on his presidential candidacy prior to Aquino’s endorsement. 22 hours ago |
  • Sen. Grace Poe hopes the 2016 election campaign will be about discussions on reforms. 22 hours ago |
  • Sen. Grace Poe congratulates Mar Roxas for getting Pres. Aquino’s endorsement. 22 hours ago |
  • Sen. Grace Poe thanks Pres. Aquino for considering her as among those who can continue his administration’s programs. 22 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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