Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in China, and is all about reuniting with family. For some 1,300 Chinese prisoners, they can finally be home this year.
The lucky ones have been granted parole to spend up to five days of the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts Feb. 15, with their families, according to Chinese media reports (link in Chinese). The decision covers more than 300 prisons in over two dozen Chinese regions including Sichuan, Beijing, and Shanghai.
According to Chinese laws, inmates with good behavior can be paroled for a short period to see their family members. But the reward system had largely been suspended for years due to safety concerns—until the Chinese justice ministry recently vowed (link in Chinese) to revive the program, in an attempt to help prisoners make the transition back into society after release.
Intrusive technology is helping in this case. According to the local prison authority, ten paroled prisoners in Shanghai are required to wear electronic bracelets (link in Chinese) that track their locations during their five-day stays with their families. If they break or take off the tracking devices, prison officers will be immediately notified.
In 2016, the southern city of Guangzhou rolled out a tracking system for some 3,900 criminal offenders under community supervision, local media reported (link in Chinese) at the time.
In the US, more than 125,000 accused and convicted criminal offenders were monitored with ankle bracelets and other electronic tracking devices in 2015, according to Pew research.
South Korea will build its own global positioning system (GPS) by combining seven GPS satellites. The Korean Ministry of Science is finalizing the third space development promotion plan, which includes the construction of the ‘Korean Positioning System’ (KPS) at a Space Committee meeting scheduled to be held on February 5.
As per the Ministry of Science, the Korean Positioning System (KPS) is slated to be launched in 2034 after the development of a ground test site in 2021 and the development of core satellite navigation technology in 2022. A total of seven navigation satellites including three geostationary ones will be launched and operated for the construction of the KPS.
According to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and industry source, minimum four satellites must be in the orbit to use GPS services. Furthermore, the GPS needs at least 24 satellites to cover the entire globe.
South Korea doesn’t have any GPS satellites of its own, so the country is totally dependent on GPS satellites of countries like the US. But, in the case of a looming crisis such as a conflict, signals can be blocked by countries with GPSs such as the US and Russia to prevent their enemy forces from using them. This possibility necessitated the development of Korean GPS.
“As the GPS becomes a necessity in everyday life, broken signals for any reason can set off a nationwide chaos,” said an official for satellite navigation at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
Building the KPS also has the added advantage of increasing the accuracy of the GPS. In 2034, when the KPS comprising of seven satellites will be completed, the error range of the GPS in Korea which is about 10 meters now will be reduced to less than one meter.
Security concerns have been raised after a fitness tracking firm showed the exercise routes of military personnel in bases around the world, report BBC.Online fitness tracker Strava has published a “heatmap” showing the paths its users log as they run or cycle.
It appears to show the structure of foreign military bases in countries including Syria and Afghanistan as soldiers move around them.The US military was examining the heatmap, a spokesman said.
San Francisco-based Strava provides an app that uses a mobile phone’s GPS to track a subscriber’s exercise activity.It uses the collected data, as well as that from fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, to enable people to check their own performances and compare them with others.It says it has 27 million users around the world.The latest version of the heatmap was released by Strava in November last year. It is a data visualisation showing all of the activity of all of its users around the world.
Strava says the newest version has been built from one billion activities – some three trillion points of data, covering 27 billion km (17bn miles) of distance run, jogged or swum.But it is not a live map. The data aggregates the activities recorded between 2015 and September 2017.
That is thanks to Nathan Ruser, a 20-year-old Australian university student who is studying international security at the Australian National University and also works with the Institute for United Conflict Analysts.He said he came across the map while browsing a cartography blog last week.It occurred to him that a large number of military personnel on active service had been publicly sharing their location data and realised that the highlighting of such exercises as regular jogging routes could be dangerous.
“I just looked at it and thought, ‘oh hell, this should not be here – this is not good,'” he told the BBC.
“I thought the best way to deal with it is to make the vulnerabilities known so they can be fixed. Someone would have noticed it at some point. I just happened to be the person who made the connection.”
Although the location of military bases is generally well-known and satellite imagery can show the outline of buildings, the heatmap can reveal which of them are most used, or the routes taken by soldiers.
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42853072
China-based ComNav Technology Ltd. announced this week that it has successfully been tracking and analyzing the BD-3 satellite signals to bring better high-precision positioning services in the near future.
Very accurate rubidium atomic clocks onboard two BeiDou-3 satellites launched into space on November 5 have greatly improved the accuracy of the system. China launched two BeiDou-3 satellites into space via a single carrier rocket to support its global navigation and positioning network in November. The satellites were aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket which took off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
The latest launch marks the first two BeiDou-3 satellites launched by China, as its self-developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System officially began to expand into a global network. China plans to build BeiDou into a global positioning and navigation system by around 2020.
As the world’s fourth navigation satellite system, the construction of BeiDou consists of three steps: experimental period from 2000 to 2003, regional coverage by 2012 and global reach by 2020. With the successful November launch of two third-generation BeiDou satellites, China has begun to upgrade BeiDou with global-coverage capabilities according to the China Satellite Navigation Office. The new-generation satellites feature better accuracy, stability and signal clarity thanks to improvements in laser communication devices, intersatellite links and atomic clocks. Additionally, 18 third-generation BeiDou satellites will be launched by the end of 2018 to cover all nations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. By the end of 2020, worldwide high-precision GNSS users are able to benefit from global reach of the third-generation BeiDou system.
Read more: http://www.insidegnss.com/node/5742
Driverless cars may be our future, but that doesn’t mean automakers have turned their backs on flesh-and-blood motorists. Now Nissan has come up with a technology designed to make driving more fun for the folks behind the wheel: a “brain decoding” system that gives automobiles the ability to anticipate a driver’s action — hit the brakes or gas or make a turn — and then initiate the action before he or she does.
Dubbed “Brain To Vehicle,” or “B2V,” the system uses an electrode-studded skullcap to capture the driver’s brain activity and artificial intelligence to interpret it.
B2V detects brain signals that will trigger the movement of the driver’s hands or feet a moment before the movement begins. Thus, reaction times are cut by as much as half a second, the company said in a written statement. The driver turns the wheel and pushes the pedals as usual — but with an enhanced sense of nimbleness and control.
“When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines,” Daniele Schillaci, an executive vice president at Nissan, said in the statement, adding that “B2V technology does the opposite.”
When the car is in self-driving mode, the same system can monitor the driver for signs of discomfort and take corrective action. If he or she is too hot, for instance, the system could crank up the air conditioner and change the position of the air vents.
Consumers will get a chance to see for themselves whether the system works as claimed. Nissan plans to use a driving simulator to demonstrate B2V at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Border enforcement officials are looking at using electronic supervision tools such as the use of GPS electronic monitoring that can track geographical location as an alternative to jailing those who breach Canada’s immigration law. This system will be piloted in the Greater Toronto Area, said the Canada Border Services Agency, and could come as early as April.
“The CBSA’s ability to monitor, track and locate individuals is critical to the success of the immigration enforcement program,” the agency said in its tender issued.
The use of GPS equipment will be leveraged through an agreement with Correctional Service Canada and the technology is expected to cost roughly $38 a day per person, including the acquisition of the tools and staffing resources.
In 2016, 6,251 adults and 162 minors were detained by the border agency, and about a third of the adults were held in provincial jails. The average length of detention was about 20 days. It costs Ottawa $239 per day per detainee.
Toyota wants you to be perfectly comfortable, though, so the Japanese company has come up with a shape-changing seat to suit everyone who sits in it.Toyota is calling its clever seat the Vody. The shape changing is made possible by replacing the solid back of the seat with 300 elastomer blocks, each of which has an actuator allowing it to move. In its current form, Toyota needs to ask the height of a passenger and visually check their body shape. That information is entered into a computer controlling the Vody and the adjustments are made.
In future, the body and height assessment will need to be an automatic system if it is going to work in a vehicle. Height and body shape could be determined by a camera as a person approaches the car, although assessing people as they sit down would be the best solution. Toyota is currently aiming to transfer the body check to a smartphone app and then linking the app to your car. That way each seat can quickly adjust after identifying your preferences via the phone in your pocket and your location in the vehicle.
Toyota is also hoping that Vody can not only be comfortable, but also an aid to relaxation. As you are sitting in a Vody seat, “finger pressure” is applied to the different areas of your back. This is meant to relax your body as well as providing relief from fatigue. Hopefully it doesn’t relax you so much as to promote sleep.
One area not catered for in Vody is the lower half of you body. The shape changing only occurs for your back, not your backside and upper legs. Hopefully this is something that gets added to the next iteration of the seat.
Arity, the technology company founded by The Allstate Corporation to make mobility safer, smarter, and more useful, today introduced a suite of three new data products designed to help reduce the number of collisions and fatalities on the road.
Called Risk Data Stream, Drive Shield Routing and Drive Shield Alerts, these new offerings from Arity help enable automotive OEMs, telematics service providers (TSPs), insurance providers and other vendors to predict risk of accidents – and boost safety. Users can harness these prediction tools to help improve accuracy and safety within their solutions, whether navigation and telematics applications, semi-autonomous vehicles, active safety systems, or fleet management and infrastructure planning.
By closely analyzing millions of vehicle collision insurance claims and understanding the environmental conditions present in those collisions, Arity’s data scientists are offering an unparalleled real-time model of the probability and severity of vehicle collisions. The new model, called the Arity Risk Data Stream, is the brain behind these new solutions. It provides insight into where, when and how these collisions occur.
Now consumers and the transportation industry can quantify the real-time risk of any road and, if necessary, choose a safer route.
“These are truly innovative, life-saving products. We’ve done something very unique here by quantifying the real-time risk of any road. We’re arming drivers and transportation players with valuable information so they can make smarter, safer decisions on the road,” said Gary Hallgren, president of Arity. “We believe this can and will reduce the number of accidents and fatalities, which today stands at an alarming 6+ million accidents, over 2 million injuries and nearly 40,000 fatalities a year. We look forward to seeing what our partners and customers do with this data, whether it’s baking it into active safety systems in vehicles today to fully autonomous vehicles in the future.”
The United States and China have negotiated compatible signal characteristics that will both protect and enhance service for users of the U.S. GPS and Chinese BeiDou constellations.
The achievement resulted from several years of discussions between U.S. and Chinese GNSS experts. The consensus to make the systems compatible and interoperable at the user level will mean better service for users of both systems worldwide.
The U.S.Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Office of Space and Advanced Technology represents the United States in the ongoing U.S.-China GNSS Cooperation Dialogue, which began in May 2014 and covers various topics.
Compatibility of the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) with GPS has been a core focus of the discussions. The U.S.-China Joint Statement on signal compatibility and interoperability is below.