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The Philippines’ DOST launches new AI programmes

The Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched nine new research projects on artificial intelligence (AI) that are intended to aid various sectors in the country, from agriculture to the education sector.

In a virtual launch, the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) unveiled the AI projects to be undertaken by the DOST-Advanced Technology Science Institute (ASTI), along with various universities in the country.

First is the Autonomous Societally Inspired Mission Oriented Vehicles (ASIMOV) Programme, composed of two-component projects, to be handle by ASTI and a university based in Mindanao. It will take on the challenge of developing AI-enhanced, mission-driven robots working autonomously or with humans to help address society’s needs. In its initial phase, it will focus on laying the groundwork by developing and innovating these key functional modules of intelligent mobile robots: sensing, actuation, control, navigation, and communications.

They will also handle the Harmonised Aerial Watch and Knowledge-based Survey (HAWKS) Project, the aerial component of the ASIMOV Programme and will primarily conduct R&D towards the development of core technologies necessary for autonomous drone deployment.

Moreover, the Mindanao-based university will also spearhead the Philippine Sky Artificial Intelligence Programme (SkAI-Pinas). Its main research component is the Automated Labelling Machine – Large-Scale Initiative (ALaM-LSI), which will be conducted in partnership with the DOST-ASTI once again. SkAI-Pinas aims to bridge the gap between the availability of massive remote sensing data in the country. It is comprised of an AI knowledge base, including experts, protocol, and an AI repository for models and labelled images to accelerate the workflows of remote sensing applications and fill the gaps in past and present remote sensing projects.

Also, to help protect the environment and reduce marine pollution, the same team will also develop a simple, cost-effective technology to monitor and quantify the marine litter in shallow coastal areas. The developers will base their technology on an existing towed optical camera array system for deep-sea monitoring that has undergone sea trials. They will redesign and improve this by adding sensors and cameras to be efficiently used in shallow coastal water surveys.

DOST-ASTI, on other hand, will work on the Robot for Optimised and Autonomous Mission-Enhancement Response (ROAMER) Project. It will develop prototypes of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) that will help increase the productivity of different industries in the country, especially agriculture. Techs under Project ROAMER are envisioned to monitor, survey, and map agricultural farms for better decision-making and management.

Meanwhile, another university intends to develop a low-cost, wireless structural health monitoring system with visualisation through the Intelligent Structural Health Monitoring via Mesh of Tremor Sensors (meSHM) Project. The system will be made up of less than 50 sensors, that will utilise internet of things (IoT) technology and mesh networks, and can be installed in buildings, bridges, or metro rail systems.

Another project from them is the Development of Multi-lingual Chatbot for Health Monitoring of Public-School Children Project. They will create a system that can interpret audio input and can converse with students using two major Philippine languages, Filipino and Bisaya. The information gathered by the healthcare chatbot will be extracted to update the health database of the students stored in the cloud.

On the other hand, a university based in Luzon is set to develop an automated software that accepts values from a standard Impedance Spectrometer and uses a machine-learning algorithm to identify electrical, mass, and temperature parameters. It also involves properly fitting a spectrum with sufficient parameters that minimise common errors in existing numerical fittings. Industries involving electronics, semiconductors, food, medicine, and agriculture, are targeted to benefit from this project.

Lastly, using an IoT sensor network and deep learning, another Mindanao-based university will design and develop an intelligent traffic control and management system. It will monitor traffic in a selected area by using various devices that can measure several physical traffic parameters like flow, density, volume, as well as pollution. The base station will be established and equipped with intelligent behaviour and direct policy search capabilities using reinforcement learning to manage traffic automatically and efficiently and to avoid congestion. They will also develop and test a prototype of intelligent mobile traffic lights and will design web-based or mobile-based applications that enable easy access to traffic conditions.

The DOST- PCIEERD said that AI is one of their priority areas as it can boost the country towards the fourth industrial revolution. The agency also said that AI can disrupt traditional processes and provide solutions and opportunities that Filipinos can maximise.

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