Collaborating Authors


Satellites are mapping out every tree on earth using AI technology


Scientists have mapped 1.8 billion individual tree canopies across millions of kilometres of the Sahel and Sahara regions of West Africa. It is the first time ever that trees have been mapped in detail over such a large area. So how was it possible? They employed neural networks which are able to recognise objects, like trees, based on their shapes and colours. To train it, the AI system was shown satellite images where trees had been manually traced.

This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through October 10)


GPT-3 Bot Spends a Week Replying on Reddit, Starts Talking About the Illuminati Rhett Jones Gizmodo "..the length of the replies was especially unusual in that they were sometimes coming within a minute of the question first being asked. After an impressive run, the user was revealed to be a bot using OpenAI's remarkable language model GPT-3. The Quantum Internet Will Blow Your Mind. Here's What It Will Look Like Dan Hurley Discover "Fifty or so miles east of New York City, on the campus of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Eden Figueroa is one of the world's pioneering gardeners planting the seeds of a quantum internet. Capable of sending enormous amounts of data over vast distances, it would work not just faster than the current internet but faster than the speed of light--instantaneously, in fact, like the teleportation of Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk in Star Trek." This Robot Fry Chef on Rails Can Be Yours for $30,000 James Vincent The Verge "Like Flippy before it, Flippy ROAR is designed to automate simple food prep, specifically anything involving fryers and grills.

National Guard To Augment Fire-Spotting Drones With AI


As fires get larger and more dangerous, various government and private agencies have turned to AI to detect, and potentially predict wildfires. The National Guard has been carrying out reconnaissance flights in California during the late summer and fall for the pew years, but now the drones used to carry out these flights have received upgrades with AI algorithms intended to automatically generate maps of fires within a particular region. Creating fire maps is an incredibly difficult process that requires data analysis to map constantly changing fires as they move over rugged terrain. Both air and ground observations are used to make fire maps, and fire maps are typically only updated once every day or so. Large fires can move as far as 15 miles during a single day, as witnessed by some of the fires this fire season.

Optus and ANU to throw satellites, drones, and robotics at Australian bushfires


A new study shows that anthropogenic climate change made things worse. The Australian National University (ANU) and Optus announced on Thursday the pair would attempt to develop a national system to detect and extinguish fires using a mixture of satellites, drones, and robotics. The first step of the program, which is due to run until 2024, will be to create an "autonomous ground-based and aerial fire detection system". It will begin with the trial of long-range infra-red sensor cameras placed on towers in fire-prone areas in the ACT, which will allow the ACT Rural Fire Service (RFS) to monitor and identify bushfires. The long-term goal, though, is to put out fires using drones.

ESA's Φ-Week: Digital Twin Earth, Quantum Computing and AI Take Center Stage


Digital Twin Earth will help visualize, monitor, and forecast natural and human activity on the planet. The model will be able to monitor the health of the planet, perform simulations of Earth's interconnected system with human behavior, and support the field of sustainable development, therefore, reinforcing Europe's efforts for a better environment in order to respond to the urgent challenges and targets addressed by the Green Deal. ESA's 2020 Φ-week event kicked off this morning with a series of stimulating speeches on Digital Twin Earth, updates on Φ-sat-1, which was successfully launched into orbit earlier this month, and an exciting new initiative involving quantum computing. The third edition of the Φ-week event, which is entirely virtual, focuses on how Earth observation can contribute to the concept of Digital Twin Earth – a dynamic, digital replica of our planet which accurately mimics Earth's behavior. Constantly fed with Earth observation data, combined with in situ measurements and artificial intelligence, the Digital Twin Earth provides an accurate representation of the past, present, and future changes of our world.

Two UK-built shoebox-sized supercomputer satellites set for lift-off

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Two shoebox-sized supercomputer satellites, built in Scotland to monitor shipping movements from low-Earth orbit, are due for launch this afternoon. Each nanosatellite has an onboard supercomputer with machine learning algorithms that can provide'hyper-accurate predictions' of the locations of boats. The the so-called'Spire' satellites will calculate their arrival times at ports to help businesses and authorities manage busy docks, the UK Space Agency said. They will join a fleet of more than 100 objects in low Earth orbit that work together to track the whereabouts of ships and predict global ocean traffic. Two of the satellites will launch at lunchtime today and another couple will launch on an Indian PSLV rocket on November 1.

Dark skies and bright satellites


Most ground-based observatories require a dark night sky to uncover answers to some of the most fundamental questions about the nature of our Universe. However, a number of companies and governments are in various stages of planning or deploying bright satellites in low-Earth orbit (or LEOsats) in greater numbers than ever before. These “megaconstellations” will fundamentally change astronomical observing at visible wavelengths. Nighttime images will be contaminated by streaks caused by the passage of Sun-illuminated satellites. If proposals calling for 100,000 or more LEOsats are realized, no combination of mitigations will be able to fully avoid the negative impact on astronomy. This threat comes at a time when new technology offers unprecedented scientific opportunities, all requiring access to dark skies. One example is the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, which is nearing completion. Its Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) will soon offer a dramatic new view of the changing sky. Rubin Observatory will employ the 8.4-m Simonyi Survey Telescope and the 3200-megapixel LSST Camera to capture about 1000 images of the sky, every night, for 10 years. A single 30-s exposure will reveal distant objects that are about 40 million times fainter than those visible with the unaided eye. The observatory's combination of a large light-collecting area and field of view is unparalleled in the history of astronomy, which is why the project was the top ground-based priority for U.S. astronomers in the 2010 National Academies Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics. LSST six-color images will contain data for about 20 billion ultrafaint galaxies and a similar number of stars, and will be used for investigations ranging from cosmological studies of the Universe to searches for potentially hazardous Earth-impacting asteroids. However, the discoveries anticipated from Rubin and other observatories could be substantially degraded by the deployment of multiple LEOsat constellations. The most exciting science to come out of current and planned astronomical facilities may be the discovery of types of objects and phenomena not yet observed or predicted. Such profound surprises have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of every field from exobiology to cosmology. Rubin Observatory's LSST, for example, opens the prospect of observing how ultrafaint objects change over time. It is precisely this kind of astronomy that is most at risk from image artifacts arising from LEOsat megaconstellations. These satellites scatter sunlight for several hours after sunset or before sunrise, are relatively close and bright, and thus can affect ground-based telescopes observing at visible wavelengths. Constellations in orbits well above 600 km will be illuminated by the Sun all night long. Astronomers worldwide are seeking ways to diminish the satellites' most damaging effects—the focus of a recent virtual workshop[*][1] sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation—and are collaborating with SpaceX (in particular, the Rubin Observatory), the first operator to launch a substantial constellation of LEOsats. SpaceX has shown that satellite operators can reduce reflected sunlight through satellite orientation, Sun shielding, and surface darkening. A joint effort to obtain higher-accuracy public data on the predicted location of individual satellites could help astronomers point their instruments to avoid some of the interference. Although all of these measures are helpful, there are no guarantees, and the research community is left to hope for good corporate citizenship. Future constellations owned and operated by foreign governments pose a different sort of challenge. Although there are international regulations covering radio-frequency interference, there are no such regulations in place for visible-frequency light pollution from space. Earth orbit is a natural resource without environmental protections, and we are now witnessing its industrialization. Currently there are about a thousand bright LEOsats, but that may be just the beginning. Proposals to expand telecommunications and data relay to serve new technologies like self-driving cars could lead to a 100-fold increase in the number of LEOsats in the next decade. The American Astronomical Society is working with astronomy stakeholders, commercial satellite operators, and international organizations to begin to forge policy on light pollution from space. It is unclear how long this will take and how effective it can be. What is clear is that without productive industry-observatory collaboration, voluntary operator compliance with best practices for mitigation, and subsequent regulatory action, we are slated to lose a clear view of the Universe and its secrets. [1]: #fn-1

How to use Deep Learning for Time Series Forecasting


For a long time, I heard that the problem of time series could only be approached by statistical methods (AR[1], AM[2], ARMA[3], ARIMA[4]). These techniques are generally used by mathematicians who try to improve them continuously to constrain stationary and non-stationary time series. A friend of mine (mathematician, professor of statistics, and specialist in non-stationary time series) offered me several months ago to work on the validation and improvement of techniques to reconstruct the lightcurve of stars. Indeed, the Kepler satellite[11], like many other satellites, could not continuously measure the intensity of the luminous flux of nearby stars. The Kepler satellite was dedicated between 2009 and 2016 to search for planets outside our Solar System called extrasolar planets or exoplanets. As you have understood, we are going to travel a little further than our planet Earth and deep dive into a galactic journey whose machine learning will be our vessel.

Irish start-up's AI tech heads for space on ESA Earth observation satellite


Dublin start-up Ubotica has brought its AI technology into orbit aboard a next-gen ESA satellite. Dublin-based Ubotica Technologies has announced that its AI tech has gone into orbit aboard the Earth observation satellite PhiSat-1, which was launched along with 52 other satellites on a European Space Agency (ESA) Vega rocket yesterday (3 September). The satellite is part of a programme funded by ESA and supported by Enterprise Ireland, in which deep-learning technology for the in-orbit processing of Earth observation data is being deployed on a European satellite for the first time. Ubotica's CVAI technology, built on the Intel Movidius Myriad 2 vision processing unit, will allow the satellite to make its own decisions rather than relying on humans down on the planet's surface, resulting in faster, more efficient applications being deployed on the satellite. In this instance, Ubotica's AI tech is being tasked with automatic cloud detection on images captured by the satellite's advanced hyperspectral sensor.

£1million funding to tackle space debris which could destroy the ISS

Daily Mail - Science & tech

To tackle this issue, the Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced £1million in funding, via the UK Space Agency (UKSA), for seven space-cleaning programmes. Astronomers are concerned that high-value craft in low-Earth orbit, such as the International Space Station (ISS), could be destroyed by a rogue piece of debris. Currently, there is no way of accurately monitoring and tracking small pieces of debris which could be hurtling towards a multi-million pound satellite. This infographic reveals which countries owns the most space debris. Working on photonic technologies to spot items in orbit and tell if they are junk or satellite.