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'Largest drone war in the world': How airpower saved Tripoli

Al Jazeera

Air power has played an increasingly important role in the Libyan conflict. The relatively flat featureless desert terrain of the north and coast means that ground units are easily spotted, with few places to hide. The air forces of both the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) use French and Soviet-era fighter jets, antiquated and poorly maintained. While manned fighter aircraft have been used, for the most part the air war has been fought by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. With nearly 1,000 air strikes conducted by UAVs, UN Special Representative to Libya Ghassan Salame called the conflict "the largest drone war in the world".


Is this the end of the control tower? This is what smart airports look like

#artificialintelligence

The transport sector expects a great deal from the air. Air transport has remained more or less stable over the last decades. However, technological innovations emerging in various areas, are threatening to change this scenario. This is illustrated, for example, with the steps taken towards making flying taxis a reality. Airports are aware of this situation.


Robots equipped with infrared cameras could patrol holiday destinations under new EU plans

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Robots and drones equipped with infrared cameras could patrol holiday destinations and enforce social distancing rules under new EU plans to save the summer break. European Commission tourism proposals imaging'artificial intelligence and robotics [to] underpin public health measures', alongside infection tracing mobile apps. Automatons could appear in places like airports, beaches, resorts and restaurants to make sure that people keep at least 5 feet (1.5 metres) away from each other. On-board infrared cameras could allow the robots to measure people's temperatures from a distance and identify people with a fever that need to self-isolate. The plans come after Singapore employed a Boston Dynamics Spot robot to roam parks, broadcasting a message reminding pedestrians to keep their distance.


Libya's GNA launches counterattack after deadly rocket barrage

Al Jazeera

Libya's UN-supported government launched a counterattack on Sunday against a strategic military base used by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar to pound the capital Tripoli with rocket fire. The response came after a missile barrage damaged Tripoli's main airport and set fuel tanks and several aircraft ablaze, with at least six civilians killed in surrounding residential areas in the attacks on Saturday. Meanwhile, Turkey - the Government of National Accord's (GNA) main ally defending Tripoli against Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) - threatened to step up its attacks against the eastern-based LNA, which has attempted to seize the capital for more than a year. "The forces of war criminal [Haftar] fired more than a hundred rockets and missiles at residential areas in the centre of the capital," the GNA said in a statement on Facebook. The airport was badly damaged and came under renewed rocket fire on Sunday morning, it said.


Robotics developers are cleaning up during COVID-19

ZDNet

The pandemic has pushed automation to the forefront in many industries. Not surprisingly, cleaning and disinfecting robots in particular are seeing a big bump in usage. One anecdotal example of this comes from Brain Corp, a company that makes an OS that powers autonomous mobile robots designed for cleaning and disinfecting. BrainOS-powered machines in retail locations in the U.S. saw usage spike 13.6% in March 2020 compared to the same month last year. By the same token, the types of businesses where these robots are being used are expanding.


Airport to use autonomous robots to blast floors with UVC light

Mashable

With coronavirus keeping travelers at home, one airport is taking spring cleaning to the next level with a pair of robots. Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), working with Carnegie Robotics, will use autonomous machines equipped with UVC light to kill microbes. Then they will emit ultraviolet rays to sanitize them even further. While no studies have proven UVC light kills coronavirus, experts assume that it does, since it's been used to break down other viruses like the one that causes SARS. It's similar to the cleaning method the New York subway system is using to disinfect a few trains, but PIT has two robots to help with the task.


How well can algorithms recognize your masked face?

#artificialintelligence

Facial-recognition algorithms from Los Angeles startup TrueFace are good enough that the US Air Force uses them to speed security checks at base entrances. But CEO Shaun Moore says he's facing a new question: How good is TrueFace's technology when people are wearing face masks? "It's something we don't know yet because it's not been deployed in that environment," Moore says. His engineers are testing their technology on masked faces and are hurriedly gathering images of masked faces to tune their machine-learning algorithms for pandemic times. Facial recognition has become more widespread and accurate in recent years, as an artificial intelligence technology called deep learning made computers much better at interpreting images.


Travel Industry Automates Pandemic Response With New Digital Tools

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

"We've set it to alert us if someone has a fever over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit," Brett Smith, chief information officer of the airport's operator, Propeller Airports, said about the repurposed device. The camera screens passengers as they line up for standard security checks by the Transportation Security Administration. Passengers with high fevers are screened a second time, and ultimately the airline determines if they pose a danger to others on board, Mr. Smith said. The airport began operations in March 2019 and serves as a northwestern hub for Alaska Airlines and United Airlines. Developed in 2018, in the wake of a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Athena's gun-detecting camera operates by combining object detection, computer vision and machine-learning to identify weapons and automatically alert on-site workers and police.


How Well Can Algorithms Recognize Your Masked Face?

WIRED

Facial-recognition algorithms from Los Angeles startup TrueFace are good enough that the US Air Force uses them to speed security checks at base entrances. But CEO Shaun Moore says he's facing a new question: How good is TrueFace's technology when people are wearing face masks? "It's something we don't know yet because it's not been deployed in that environment," Moore says. His engineers are testing their technology on masked faces and are hurriedly gathering images of masked faces to tune their machine-learning algorithms for pandemic times. Facial recognition has become more widespread and accurate in recent years, as an artificial intelligence technology called deep learning made computers much better at interpreting images.


Top innovations in the fight against coronavirus

Al Jazeera

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a severe toll on industries, health systems and lives since the outbreak began with doctors, scientists and ordinary people racing to find ways to tackle the contagion. From robots to a virus-killing snood and a portable isolation capsule, these new prototypes demonstrate what humans are capable of in the face of adversity. Here are some of the innovations developed to combat the current outbreak that has killed more than 217,000 people and infected 3.1 million. COVID-19 attacks people's lungs making it hard for them to deliver oxygen to the blood. Ventilators, which feed oxygen into the lungs, are a crucial tool to keep people with the virus alive.