Rail travellers could pay for train journey by finger print or iris scan under new plans

The Independent

The rail industry has come up with a plan that may as well be out of a science-fiction movie to cope with growing demand and overcrowding: charging rail passengers for journeys by fingerprint or iris scan. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the organisation representing train operators and Network Rail, claims biometric technology would enable fares to be automatically charged marking the start of an era that could radically accelerate commute times. The technology represents the next step from travellers being able to us smartphones' Bluetooth signals to open station barriers. That will be trialled on Chiltern Railways' route between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway over the coming months. The use of digital signalling technology will also allow trains to operate closer together, cutting delay, according to the RDG.


Propagation of Delays in the National Airspace System

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The National Airspace System (NAS) is a large and complex system with thousands of interrelated components: administration, control centers, airports, airlines, aircraft, passengers, etc. The complexity of the NAS creates many difficulties in management and control. One of the most pressing problems is flight delay. Delay creates high cost to airlines, complaints from passengers, and difficulties for airport operations. As demand on the system increases, the delay problem becomes more and more prominent. For this reason, it is essential for the Federal Aviation Administration to understand the causes of delay and to find ways to reduce delay. Major contributing factors to delay are congestion at the origin airport, weather, increasing demand, and air traffic management (ATM) decisions such as the Ground Delay Programs (GDP). Delay is an inherently stochastic phenomenon. Even if all known causal factors could be accounted for, macro-level national airspace system (NAS) delays could not be predicted with certainty from micro-level aircraft information. This paper presents a stochastic model that uses Bayesian Networks (BNs) to model the relationships among different components of aircraft delay and the causal factors that affect delays. A case study on delays of departure flights from Chicago O'Hare international airport (ORD) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) reveals how local and system level environmental and human-caused factors combine to affect components of delay, and how these components contribute to the final arrival delay at the destination airport.


World's first passenger drone cleared for testing in Nevada

The Guardian

The world's first passenger drone capable of autonomously carrying a person in the air for 23 minutes has been given clearance for testing in Nevada. Chinese firm Ehang, which unveiled the electric Ehang 184 passenger drone at CES in Las Vegas in January, has partnered with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the Governor's Office of Economic Development (Goed) to put the drone through testing and regulatory approval. Tom Wilczek, Goed's aerospace and defence specialist said: "The State of Nevada, through NIAS, will help guide Ehang through the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) regulatory process with the ultimate goal of achieving safe flight." The founder and chief executive of Ehang, Huazhi Hu, said the move would lay the foundation for the 184's commercialisation and kickstart the autonomous aerial transportation industry. Ehang hopes to begin testing later this year and will have to prove airworthiness to the FAA, with guidance from NIAS, before being able to operate in a wider capacity.


An Overview of Recent Application Trends at the AAMAS Conference: Security, Sustainability and Safety

AI Magazine

A key feature of the AAMAS conference is its emphasis on ties to real-world applications. The focus of this article is to provide a broad overview of application-focused papers published at the AAMAS 2010 and 2011 conferences. More specifically, recent applications at AAMAS could be broadly categorized as belonging to research areas of security, sustainability and safety. We outline the domains of applications, key research thrusts underlying each such application area, and emerging trends.


IBM delivers a piece of its brain-inspired supercomputer to Livermore national lab

#artificialintelligence

IBM is about to deliver the foundation of a brain-inspired supercomputer to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the federal government's top research institutions. The delivery is one small "blade" within a server rack with 16 chips, dubbed TrueNorth, and is modeled after the way the human brain functions. Silicon Valley is awash in optimism about artificial intelligence, largely based on the progress that deep learning neural networks are making in solving big problems. Companies from Google to Nvidia are hoping they'll provide the AI smarts for self-driving cars and other tough problems. It is within this environment that IBM has been pursuing solutions in brain-inspired supercomputers.