Sep 2012 | No Comment


It pretty much flies itself!

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Robust Robotics Group has developed a plane that can navigate itself without GPS. For decades, researchers have been working on creating helicopters that can pilot themselves without human guidance. But MIT’s team has now come up a fixedwing plane that can travel at high speeds while dodging obstacles and manoeuvring through tight spaces. Using only onboard sensors, a laser, and a basic Intel Atom processor, the aircraft is able to power itself.

BeiDou navigation system to have test network

China will build a testing and certification network for its Beidou satellite navigation system over the next three years to sharpen the system’s global competitiveness, according to a statement from the Certification and Accreditation Administration. An authoritative testing and certification system with uniform standards and legal support will secure the Beidou system’s safe operation and accelerate its industrialization, said the statement.

TSB priority to use agricultural GPS equipment

The head of Britain’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has said that they are working hard to ensure that GPS technology is further integrated into the national farming industry. Iain Gray said that GPS positioning and machine control technology has been in use in British agriculture for more than 15 years now, but there are still many farming operations in the UK that are not taking full advantage of it. Only 10 per cent of the operations in the National Farm Research Unit database, however, “could be called innovative based on criteria including business approach”,according to Gray. The total farming and food sector in the UK is worth around £85 billion, providing a total of around 3.5 million jobs.

North Korean jamming of GPS shows system’s weakness

U.S. and South Korean military commanders will be on the lookout for North Korean efforts to jam GPS signals as they take part in exercises on the divided peninsula soon. North Korea repeatedly has jammed GPS signals in South Korea, which has “very serious implications” because U.S. and South Korean military system rely on the navigation system, said Bruce Bennett, a North Korea scholar for the California think tank Rand Corp. North Koreans have used Russianmade, truck-mounted jamming gear near the border to disrupt low-power GPS signals in large swaths of South Korea.

GPS technology fi nding its way into court

The rapid spread of cellphones with GPS technology has allowed police to track suspects with unprecedented precision even as they commit crimes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit stirred the debate recently when it supported police use of a drug runner’s cellphone signals to locate him — and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana at a Texas rest stop. The court decided that the suspect “did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy” over location data from his cellphone and that police were free to collect it over several days, even without a search warrant.

The decision riled civil libertarians, who warned that it opened the door to an extensive new form of government surveillance destined to be abused as sophisticated tracking technology becomes more widely available.

Many legal experts expect the issue eventually to find its way to the Supreme Court, which touched on it in an earlier ruling that police violated the rights of an alleged D.C. drug dealer by placing a tracking device on the underside of his car. Cellphones always have been trackable to some degree, as users moved among towers that carried the signals necessary to make the devices work, creating an electronic record in the process. But GPS technology is far more sophisticated, narrowing locations typically to within a few feet. The Washington Post

Tragic Loss for International Hydrographic Community

On 31 August, the survey ship Level A collided with a Belgianpropelled barge on the Rhine at Basel, Switzerland, and capsized. The four crew members fell overboard. Although Professor Dr Volker Böder, director of the project and professor of geodesy and hydrography at the HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU), was rescued, he sadly died in hospital the following day as a result of his injuries.
Professor Dr Volker Böder made an enormous contribution to encouraging young professionals to join the hydrographic industry. He was one of the driving forces behind the international hydrographic exchange programmes that were established between higher educational institutes throughout Europe. He realised that the hydrographers of the future would be operating in a global industry and that it was therefore important for students to gain international experience at an early stage – an initiative which deserves to be remembered. http://

Israeli European GNSS Info Centre Launched

MATIMOP, the Israeli Industry Centre for R&D launched the Israeli European GNSS (ISEG) Information Centre, a new initiative aimed at increasing the visibility of EU Satellite Navigation Programmes and activities in Israel. The centre is operated by MATIMOP with the support of the European Union.

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