Infrastructure & Services


Flights delayed as drones fly near East Midlands airport

The Guardian

Detectives have launched an investigation after three drones disrupted flights at an airport during a nearby music festival. Leicestershire police said a pilot of one of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) had been interviewed by officers after it was reported to police at 9.30am on Saturday near the Download festival at Donington Park. Two further drones were reported inside the restricted airspace at East Midlands airport at midnight and on Sunday at 1.30pm. Flights were delayed at the airport as a result of the drones. Police said they had carried out inquiries in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority and East Midlands airport.


Crosswalk lights use AI to anticipate potential accidents - Springwise

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Spotted: Vienna has installed around 200 pedestrian crossing lights that can recognise when a person wants to cross the road. The system was commissioned by Municipal Department 33 of the City of Vienna and developed by a team at the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision at TU Graz University. It is intended to replace the push-button system, and can adapt to give large groups and people with disabilities more time to cross. The system uses cameras mounted on the traffic light that have a large visual field. The research team used global movement models and recorded data to develop learning algorithms, which recognise when a pedestrian wants to cross the street.


Extinction Rebellion considers using drones to shut London's Heathrow Airport

The Japan Times

LONDON - Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion have drawn up plans to use drones to shut London's Heathrow Airport this summer in a campaign to stop the construction of a third runway at Europe's busiest airport, the group said. The internal proposal, seen by Reuters, emerged against a backdrop of renewed campaigning by environmental groups who argue that expanding Heathrow would be incompatible with Britain's targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions. "On June 18, we plan to carry out nonviolent direct action to ensure Heathrow Authorities close the airport for the day, to create a'pause' in recognition of the genocidal impact of high carbon activities, such as flying, upon the natural world," Extinction Rebellion said in a statement late on Thursday. "This is not about targeting the public, but holding the Government to their duty to take leadership on the climate and ecological emergency," the group said. Heathrow Airport said the use of drones would be a "reckless action."


Transformation of airport hubs using delay forecasting tools

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Similar to the growth in the number of vehicles in an urban area, the number of aircraft and the passengers they ferry, are in a phase of constant growth. Globally, the number of aircraft is expected to double from the base year of 2015 up to 2035. Since there are only limited number of airports and limited amount of space in each airport, this implies that each aircraft movement on the ground needs to be efficiently handled for faster turnaround. Faced with the pressure of managing multiple cost heads, airlines are now outsourcing their airport ground handling and cargo management services to specialist companies, and focusing on their core competence. While growth trends in passenger volumes tend to follow macroeconomic fundamentals, the growth in aircraft turnarounds are more immune to such highs and lows.


Testing the ability of unmanned aerial systems and machine learning to map weeds at subfield scales: a test with the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (Huds) - Lambert - - Pest Management Science - Wiley Online Library

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The core objective of plant population ecology is to understand changes in numbers of individuals/organisms across time and space.1 Achieving this depends on methods that permit plants to be mapped and monitored at informative scales.2-4 Surveys of plant populations have been undertaken using a variety of different methods such as transect sampling, quadrat sampling and with unmanned aerial systems (UAS).5-7 Each of these methods has an inherent trade‐off between the area that can be surveyed and the intensity at which the subjects in that area can be studied.8 Transect and quadrat sampling can be used for either small area, high‐intensity studies or large area, low‐intensity studies, but typically not both.9 UAS present a unique opportunity for ecological monitoring because, potentially, they can yield data across both large spatial areas and at high survey intensity.


High-Resolution Road Vehicle Collision Prediction for the City of Montreal

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Road accidents are an important issue of our modern societies, responsible for millions of deaths and injuries every year in the world. In Quebec only, road accidents are responsible for hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries. In this paper, we show how one can leverage open datasets of a city like Montreal, Canada, to create high-resolution accident prediction models, using state-of-the-art big data analytics. Compared to other studies in road accident prediction, we have a much higher prediction resolution, i.e., our models predict the occurrence of an accident within an hour, on road segments defined by intersections. Such models could be used in the context of road accident prevention, but also to identify key factors that can lead to a road accident, and consequently, help elaborate new policies. We tested various machine learning methods to deal with the severe class imbalance inherent to accident prediction problems. In particular, we implemented the Balanced Random Forest algorithm, a variant of the Random Forest machine learning algorithm in Apache Spark. Experimental results show that 85% of road vehicle collisions are detected by our model with a false positive rate of 13%. The examples identified as positive are likely to correspond to high-risk situations. In addition, we identify the most important predictors of vehicle collisions for the area of Montreal: the count of accidents on the same road segment during previous years, the temperature, the day of the year, the hour and the visibility.


Alphabet-owned Wing will begin making drone deliveries in Finland next month

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Wing, an offshoot of Google's parent company, Alphabet, will launch drone deliveries to one of Finland's most populous areas next month according to a recent blog post from the company. Pilot deliveries will be rolled out in the Vousari district of Finland's capital, Helsinki, and will deliver products from gourmet supermarket Herkku foods and Cafe Monami. As noted by Wing, deliveries will include'fresh Finnish pastries, meatballs for two, and a range of other meals and snacks' that can be delivered in minutes. Wing will launch deliveries for customers in Finland starting next month. Wing, the first commercial drone company approved by the FAA in the U.S. will start delivering in Virginia.


Bomb-laden drones of Yemen's Houthi rebels seen threatening Arabian Peninsula

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.


On Cycling Risk and Discomfort: Urban Safety Mapping and Bike Route Recommendations

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Bike usage in Smart Cities becomes paramount for sustainable urban development. Cycling provides tremendous opportunities for a more healthy lifestyle, lower energy consumption and carbon emissions as well as reduction of traffic jams. While the number of cyclists increase along with the expansion of bike sharing initiatives and infrastructures, the number of bike accidents rises drastically threatening to jeopardize the bike urban movement. This paper studies cycling risk and discomfort using a diverse spectrum of data sources about geolocated bike accidents and their severity. Empirical continuous spatial risk estimations are calculated via kernel density contours that map safety in a case study of Zurich city. The role of weather, time, accident type and severity are illustrated. Given the predominance of self-caused accidents, an open-source software artifact for personalized route recommendations is introduced. The software is also used to collect open baseline route data that are compared with alternative ones that minimize risk or discomfort. These contributions can provide invaluable insights for urban planners to improve infrastructure. They can also improve the risk awareness of existing cyclists' as well as support new cyclists, such as tourists, to safely explore a new urban environment by bike.


FAA to Debut Remote ID Rule in July – UAS VISION

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The FAA plans to release its remote identification ruling for UAS in July, UAS Integration Office Executive Director Jay Merkle said in front of Congress last week. The remote ID rules -- often compared to license plates for drones -- would allow the FAA, police officers and other public officials to look up a UAS by a broadcast unique identifier and find out information about the operator. This would go hand-in-hand with registration rules to prevent uncooperative flights around airports or other illegal uses from going unpunished. "We are working currently to ensure that we keep the policy component along with standards and remote id infrastructure all developed and harmonized," Merkle said during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing about integrating new entrants into the National Airspace System. Remote ID has its detractors, who say it exposes too much private information of operators, but the FAA determined that it is necessary since, unlike with a car, the operator is not present, and there needs to be some accountability attached to that anonymity.