The Australian government is holding a public consultation on safety regulation of drones and a discussion paper has been issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for comment. There are five key issues being examined: drone registration; training and education of drone operators; geo-fencing; counter drone technology; and future approaches to drone aviation safety regulation.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said that the Federal Government was keen to support growth and innovation of this fast-moving industry whilst maintaining a high safety standard.
“Given the wide interest in drones I am encouraging as many people as possible to have their say on the development of future safety regulations for drones,” Mr. Chester said.
Nearly 1000 people and organisations have already submitted feedback. The discussion paper, which can be accessed here, on drone safety regulation is open for comment until September 22.
Questions asked in the discussion paper
Should all RPA be registered? – Subject to certain exceptions, all aircraft in Australia are required to be registered and to display the registration number issued on the aircraft itself. The requirements do not apply to model aircraft and RPA with a gross weight of less than 150 kg. The introduction of any kind of registration and/or marking scheme would involve costs for owners and operators of covered RPA.
Should all RPA users be required to meet specified training, experience, knowledge and/or assessment requirements? – Commercial RPA operators and operators of large RPA (> 150 kg) are required to hold a RePL and/or a ReOC when operating RPA in Australia by successfully completing a specified training course and passing an examination. There are no plans to change that. The focus here is on those RPA users who are not currently required to undertake any training or study, or to successfully pass any examinations.
Should the introduction of geo-fencing be mandated? – Geo-fencing is a form of electronic containment/exclusion that uses GPS or other radio frequencies to create a virtual boundary in two or three dimensions around and between certain areas. Geo-fencing could be used to contain RPA within a fixed or dynamic area, to exclude them from designated areas and/or to prevent them from exceeding certain altitudes. The paper also considers what should happen if a RPA encounters a geo-fencing boundary, whether it should return (safely) to the operator, or fall to the ground or be diverted or directed to some other location.
What should be done about ‘counter-drone’ technology? – RPAs can interfere with the enjoyment of one’s property or the conduct of lawful activities on private premises. RPAs have also been linked to linked to the delivery of contraband to prisons and other controlled premises, interfering with fire-fighting operations and encroaching unsafely (and unlawfully) on aerodrome take-off and departure paths. In response, technologies are being developed, and some basic, conventional methods are being used, to thwart the use of RPA. Here, a balance would need to be struck between responsible development and controlled deployment of effective counter-drone technologies and potentially dangerous and unlawful activity in the process of disabling or destroying a drone.
Finally, the paper asks "Are we doing enough of the right things?". It notes that any workable regulatory approach to the rational management of RPA in the aviation system must be flexible, responsive and, in so far as possible, predictive of constantly evolving safety-related considerations.
Developments in Australian drone regulation till date
Australia was one of the first countries in the world to introduce legislation governing the operation of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), or drones through the introduction of Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) in 2002. Since then, there has been significant rise in use of RPAs, driven by technological advances and declining costs fuelling commercial and recreational consumer demand.
As of July 24, 2017 there were 5,870 remotely piloted aircraft licence (RePL) holders and 1,106 remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders in Australia. The vast majority of RPA owners and operators are recreational users who require neither a RePL nor a ReOC. It is estimated that there are at least 50,000 drones being operated in Australia today, mostly for sport and recreational purposes.
The discussion paper highlights the challenges faced globally by aviation safety regulators, how to maintain high levels of safety without unnecessarily impeding progress or unduly constraining commercial opportunities to use a technology capable of a multitude of beneficial humanitarian, economic and recreational applications.
Responding to these challenges, CASA introduced amendments to the regulations that took effect in September 2016. While reducing the regulatory burden on some commercial uses of RPA, the regulations continue to require all drone operators to comply with the basic safety requirements set out in the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the regulations. The Notice of Final Rule Making for these amendments is expected to be released shortly.
In May 2017, CASA released a free drone app called ‘Can I fly there?’, targeting recreational and very small commercial RPA users. The app shows no-fly zones and fly with caution zones for drones operated in the under two kilogram commercial category. By 24 July 2017, this app had over 72,000 downloads of/unique visitors to its mobile device and web browser versions.
The Makati City government is urging its residents, investors, workers, students, and visitors to download the Makatizen app to gain instant access to emergency hotlines and report crimes promptly to the authorities.
According to a press release, the app, available on Android and IOS, was created to bring information and public services, including emergency assistance and response, closer to the people who live, work, do business, or spend their leisure time in the country’s premier financial centre.
It aims to empower Makatizens to use their mobile phones to keep up with the latest developments at City Hall and to actively participate in the governance of the city. More importantly, it enables them to promptly contact the proper authorities during emergencies that require urgent government assistance and intervention.
The Makatizen app is one of the country’s technology-driven innovations focusing on mobility, resilience, and sustainability. It was presented by the mayor at the Smart City Expo World Congress held last month in Barcelona, Spain. Makati, the sole Philippine finalist in the 2019 World Smart Cities Awards, earned a top spot in the Innovative Idea category.
Since the app’s launch in 2017, the city’s central command centre at City Hall has recorded a significant increase in incident reports from 150 to 400 incidents per day, subsequently improving response time to emergencies.
As OpenGov reported earlier, local government units (LGUs) have been called up to embrace the switch to digital technologies to vastly improve their delivery of frontline services and generate more revenues under the New Economy in the post-pandemic era.
Last month, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III urged local executives start working with the national government in preparing for the seamless transfer of the additional devolved functions, services, and facilities that they would have to assume (beginning from 2022) with the implementation of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the far higher revenue allotment (IRA) share of LGUs.
Under the high court’s Mandanas doctrine, the IRA share of LGUs should come from all national taxes, as mandated under the 1991 Local Government Code, and not from just the taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) within the respective jurisdictions of LGUs.
This expanded revenue coverage means the IRA share of LGUs should also include other taxes such as those collected by the Bureau of Customs (BOC). This sizable IRA increase for LGUs will let them pump-prime their respective local economies in the New Economy.
Technologies adopted should include the processing of business registrations and the collection of local taxes. Investments in information technology will not only make for more responsive governance but will also improve the revenue generation of LGUs.
The national economy, after all, is the sum of all local economies. LGUs are at the frontline of serving vulnerable communities; they are also catalysts for building a new economy while the nation does what it can to address the global health emergency.
A tech incubatee under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that it has launched a new solution which is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The robot was designed with a self-navigation ability in a 100,000 sqft indoor area and has an open SDK for building any additional functions. Third-party hardware – including sensors, sanitizers, UV lamp, RFID readers and various IoT products – can be added to the robot to provide mobile functions to devices/apparatus that would not be able to move usually.
The solution was designed to be applied across several areas including City Management, Commerce and Industry, Development, Finance, Health, Housing, Recreation and Culture, Social Welfare as well as Transport.
The solution employs the latest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Technologies, Natural Language Processing and Robotic Process Automation.
The robot can connect to BMS of various buildings to get the alert, warnings, and other notification and directly send alarming signals physically to a residence. It can guide users to their destination, with which functionality can help buildings to offload their concierge services.
The solution can also locate its position and correlated the position information to the corresponding BIM system inside the building. Infra-red, thermal or other sensors can be added for water leakage detection.
AI image diagnosis can be done through the 13-megapixel camera for various detections, such as intrusion, falling of elderly or prohibited objects (suitcase/baby stroller on an escalator). Indoor air quality (IAQ) sensors can be added to build a heat map of readings throughout the building.
Moreover, sanitizing devices can be added to the robot, and when it moves around, enabling the device to be effective in multiple locations on the entire floor.
Robots in high demand
According to a recent report, the automated guided vehicles market is expected to reach US$4.6 billion by 2027 witnessing market growth at a rate of 13.47% in the forecast period of 2020 to 2027.
Market research by another firm showed that the global smart cleaning and hygiene market was valued at US$2.63 billion in 2019, and it is expected to reach USD 5.91 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 15.7% from 2019 through 2025.
The increasing demand for domestic consumer robots and growing investment in R&D of personal service robots for assistance in various household applications are some of the major factors driving the growth of the smart home cleaning and hygiene market over the forecast period, the report noted.
About the Smart Government Innovation Lab
In 2018, the Government established the Smart Government Innovation Lab to explore hi-tech products such as AI and relevant technologies, including machine learning, big data analytics, cognitive systems and intelligent agent, as well as blockchain and robotics from firms, especially local start-ups.
The Lab is always on the lookout for innovation and technology (I&T) solutions that are conducive to enhancing public services or their operational effectiveness. I&T suppliers are encouraged to regularly visit the Lab’s website to check on the current business and operational needs in public service delivery and propose innovative solutions or product suggestions to address them.
The virtual court for traffic and the e-Challan (official receipt) projects, which were launched earlier this month, will replace current manual challans with electronically-generated digital ones.
The e-Challan initiative was created by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), and the software was developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The virtual court is a project under the e-Committee of the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice. It is an online court managed by a virtual Judge, which is not a person but an algorithm, whose jurisdiction can be extended to the entire state and will work round-the-clock.
According to a press release, in a virtual court trial, neither a litigant nor a Judge will have to be physically present in the court for a case. Communication will only be electronic, and the sentencing and payment of the fine or compensation will also be online. Only a single process is allowed. It may be proactive admission of guilt by the accused or proactive compliance of the cause by the defendant on receipt of the summons in electronic form.
Citizens will not have to wait in lines in courts to pay fines or interact face-to-face with the traffic police. The government hopes it will increase the productivity of citizens as well as judicial officers and promote greater accountability and less corruption in the Traffic Police Department.
Currently, the country has nine functioning virtual courts- two courts in Delhi, Haryana (Faridabad), Maharashtra (Pune), Madras, Karnataka (Bengaluru), Maharashtra (Nagpur), Kerala (Kochi), and Assam (Gauhati). Over 3 million cases have been handled by seven virtual courts.
OpenGov Asia reported earlier on a similar project – India’s e-invoice initiative. It is expected to revolutionise the way businesses interact with each other. The e-invoice system, a game-changer for the GST system, was launched in October for businesses with an aggregated turnover of more than IN 5 billion (approximately US$ 67 million) in a financial year.
The government claims it is another milestone in India’s efforts to enhance ease-of-doing-business in the country. The data captured by the invoice registration portal (IRN) will flow seamlessly to the GSTR1 return of the tax-payer on the GST Common Portal, reducing the compliance burden.
Over 49.5 million e-invoices have been generated on the NIC portal by 27,400 tax-payers within the first month of the introduction of the e-Invoice system. Further, an additional 64 million e-way bills were generated during October. Starting with 8.4 million e-invoices after it was launched, the usage gradually picked up. The last day of October saw a generation of as many as 3.5 million e-invoices in a single day. It recorded the generation of 64.1 million e-way bills during October.
Considering the needs of smaller tax-payers, who need to prepare 5-10 B2B invoices in a day, NIC is in the process of developing an offline Excel-based IRN preparation and IRN printing tool. This will allow the group to enter invoice details, prepare files to upload on the NIC IRN portal, download the IRN with QR code, and print the e-invoice with a QR code.
The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) co-hosted SciTech Challenge 2020 on 19 November 2020 to allow promising innovators to develop market-ready solutions to cater to industry demands, and propel the construction sector into the digital era.
Node THL, an incubatee of HKSTP, was crowned champion of the Open Group for the active noise cancelling sensory technology at a construction site while HeightSecure Technologies won at the Student Group for the sensor to detect micro-vibrations of bamboo scaffolding in the competition.
Under the theme of “Sensory Technology for Construction”, SciTech Challenge 2020 brought together start-ups and students with potential users in the construction sector the first time to pitch their products and solutions. In view of accelerating digital transformation in various industries, the construction sector recognises the need to modernise operations to raise efficiency, productivity, quality and safety.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the Park is committed to unearthing the best innovation and technology talent to propel Hong Kong’s business and society forward with their innovations. SciTech Challenge 2020 has provided prominent young entrepreneurs with the ideal platform to learn and collaborate with construction leaders, develop their ideas into ready-to-deploy solutions and support the industry for wider technology adoption in the future.
The Chairman of CIC said that one of the most important missions of CIC is to drive Hong Kong’s construction industry to embrace innovative thinking and culture, after establishing Construction innovation and Technology Application Centre (CITAC), CIC continues to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies by different approaches, SciTech Challenge provides a great opportunity to inspire the construction participants for Construction digitalization.
The Chairperson of CITAC Board pointed out in the ceremony that Sensory technology is often considered as the first step for digitalising the physical environment, which forms the foundation for other technology development such as robotics as well as smart cities. That is the very reason why sensory technology for construction was chosen to be the theme of SciTech Challenge 2020.
This year’s competition attracted over 60 group applications from educational institutions and corporates. The contestants gained unique access and collaboration opportunities with leading industry players through a series of training workshops and webinars.
After rounds of screening, the eight finalists were selected to present their innovative ideas at the final presentation on 19 November 2020. This final challenge tested the level of enthusiasm and commitment of the contestants, as they competed for cash prizes and the chance to enjoy fast track to HKSTP’s Science and Technology Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) and win membership of Robotics Catalysing Centre.
More recently, “The 1st Greater Bay Area 5G Application and Innovation Challenge 2020” (AIC 2020) was jointly organised by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), The Greater Bay Area (GBA) 5G Industry Alliance (The Alliance), Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) and a leading Chinese telecom concluded with an award ceremony at Hong Kong Science Park on 20 November 2020.
Centred on the theme of “Unleash the power of 5G – Build a Better Life”, AIC 2020 attracted 55 participating teams from Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong. These teams including students, start-ups and innovators were encouraged to harness the power of 5G and offer innovative solutions in seven areas, to nurture talent and driving industry adoption for Smart City development in the GBA region.
The seven targeted areas are education, entertainment, finance, property management, logistics and transportation, healthcare, and industrial manufacturing.
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) on Friday launched a mobile application that can identify and block scam messages and phone calls.
The National Crime Prevention Council’s Year-End Crime Prevention Campaign was held virtually on 20 November 2020 whereby the NCPC unveiled the new mobile application – ScamShield. ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.
The app uses artificial intelligence to identify keywords in messages from unknown contacts, these messages will be moved into a junk folder created on your phone by the app, just like what email inboxes do.
ScamShield has been jointly developed with the National Crime Prevention Council and Government Technology Agency, is available only on iOS devices and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for free.
The app blocks calls from a database of blocked numbers, managed centrally by the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Police Force (SPF). Users can report scam messages and calls through the app, which will be added to the database and shared with the police. The council added that ScamShield does not have access to the user’s contact list, location or personal data. The app does not require users to register with their mobile numbers either.
Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, was a special guest at the virtual event on Friday and said that the number of scam cases has been on the rise and asked people to be vigilant when giving personal information to anyone.
ScamShield is easy to deploy in 3 simple steps and has many security features.
Download from App Store
Search for Scamshield on the App Store or click on this link. Do not download applications that are not from the official Apple Store.
Block known scam callers
ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.
- Open Settings
- Tap Phone
- Tap Call Blocking & Identification
- Enable Scamshield
Filter Scam SMSes
When you receive an SMS from an unknown contact, ScamShield will determine if the SMS is a scam using an on-device algorithm, and filter the messages to a junk SMS folder. Scam SMSes will be sent to NCPC and SPF for collation. This keeps the app updated and will help protect others from such scam calls and messages. To Enable auto spam SMS filter:
- Open Settings
- Tap Messages
- Tap Unknown & Spam
- Enable Scamshield
Report Scam Messages
You can also report scam messages from other chat apps such as WhatsApp, Wechat, IMO, Viber, etc. You can forward the messages via ScamShield’s in-app reporting function. The Council have also said that the app will be available soon for Android users once some issues have been resolved.
Photo Credit: www.scamshield.sg
A “magic” spray for turning objects into agile millirobots to deliver drugs precisely inside a living body has been developed in joint research led by a scientist from City University of Hong Kong (CityU).
This pioneering approach to creating millirobots hinges on the M-spray, a composited glue-like magnetic spray. A magnetic force can move an object around different surfaces after it has been sprayed with the M-spray. This technology has great potential for biomedical applications, including catheter navigation and precise drug delivery.
The research team is led by Dr Shen Yajing, Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at CityU, and is supported by the National Science Foundation of China and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.
The research findings have been published in Science Robotics titled “An agglutinate magnetic spray transforms inanimate objects into millirobots for biomedical applications”.
Composed of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), gluten and iron particles, M-spray can adhere to the surfaces of one (1D), two (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) objects instantly, steadily and firmly. The film formed on the surface is about 0.1mm to 0.25mm thick, which is thin enough to preserve the original size, form and structure of the objects. The magnetic coating is biocompatible and can be disintegrated into powder when needed.
The team’s M-spray can stick on the targeted object and ‘activate’ the object when driven by a magnetic field, explained Dr Shen. Under the control of a magnetic field, the millirobots can change between different locomotion modes, such as crawling, flipping, walking, and rolling, on surfaces such as glass, skin, wood and sand.
What makes this approach special is the team can reprogramme the millirobot’s locomotion mode on demand.
A PhD student in BME and the co-first author on this paper explained that by fully wetting the solidified M-spray coating to make it stick like glue and then by applying a strong magnetic field, the distribution and alignment direction of the magnetic particles of the M-spray coating can be changed.
This reprogrammable actuation feature is helpful for navigation towards targets. The team demonstrated that the M-spray coated catheter can perform sharp or smooth turns. The impact of blood/liquid flow on the motion ability and stability of the M-spray coated catheter was limited, too, the results showed.
Task-based reprogramming offers promising potential for catheter manipulation in complex areas such as the oesophagus, blood vessels and urethra where navigation is always required.
Another important feature of this technology is that the M-spray coating can be disintegrated into powder on-demand with the manipulation of a magnetic field. All the raw materials of M-spray, namely PVA, gluten and iron particles, are biocompatible. The disintegrated coating can be absorbed or excreted by the human body.
In an in vivo test with rabbits for drug delivery, the team has demonstrated that the M-spray- enabled millirobot can reach the targeted region in the stomach precisely. Researchers disintegrated the coating by applying an oscillating magnetic field.
The controllable disintegration property of M-spray enables the drug to be released in a targeted location rather than scattering in the organ. The hope is that this construction strategy can contribute to the development and application of millirobots in different fields such as active transportation, moveable sensors and devices, particularly for tasks in limited areas of space.
Dr Shen and Dr Wu Xinyu from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) in the Chinese Academy of Sciences are the corresponding authors of the paper. The other co-authors are Dr Shang Wanfeng from SIAT, and Dr Lu Haojian, Dr Liu Yanting, Yang Liu and Tan Rong, new graduates and PhD students from Dr Shen’s team.
To accelerate the country’s national digital transformation programme, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) organised the Vietnam Open Summit, last week.
The summit gathered 200 participants, including senior officials of ministries and agencies, as well as IT experts from large high-tech corporations. MIC Minister Nguyen Manh Hung noted that IT and digital technology are penetrating every corner of social life. Digital technology needs to be cheap and the key to this is open technology – open architecture, open standards, and open culture.
A press release explained that a lot of countries have announced they plan to only buy open technologies, especially technologies used to build national infrastructure platforms. Vietnam is also following this trend. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, apps like Bluezone and CoMeet were open-source or developed with open-source software.
MIC has also launched the national open data portal, which has registered over 10,000 data sets. Vietnam’s 5G network will also use the open standard Open RAN. Vietnam has chosen to develop open technology, open-source software, and open data for individuals and businesses to join the creation of new values.
Hung called on agencies, businesses, and training establishments to work together to build policies and strategies and develop open platforms and communities.
Open technology strategy
Nearly 3 million organisations and businesses from 70 countries have joined the open-source community. 35 out of 50 top companies in the world sent their teams to participate in the open-source projects in the forum. Vietnam ranks third in Southeast Asia and is among the top 20 in the world in open-source applications, after Singapore (17), and Malaysia (18).
Vietnam began approaching the open technology trend early in the 2000s, but it is still behind some countries, which is attributed to the closed culture, the localisation of data, and lack of interest from large corporations.
Nguyen Trong Duong, the deputy director of the Authority for IT Application, under MIC, said that developing open source projects is a technology trend around the globe. Vietnam should aim to be listed in the top 10 in the rankings on the growth of open-source software.
Talking about the development orientation for the time to come, he noted that Vietnam should develop open technology with a focus on three pillars – developing a Make-in-Vietnam open ecosystem, promoting open culture, and developing an open community.
“In addition to promoting education, training, research, and community development, we also need to develop an open technology ecosystem, accelerate the implementation of policies, and prioritise [the] use of digital products that use open standards,” Duong said.
In the field of training and research, there should be large projects and topics on open-source software. The assessment of the quality of research works will be made based on the contributions of the works to the international community. Regarding the development of the open technology ecosystem, technology firms, especially large ones, need to prioritise the allocation of research and development budgets for open-source projects, the release stated.