A local company has unveiled Taiwan’s first indigenous unmanned vehicle for aerial photography, hoping to break into a market that so far has been monopolized by imported products. The AI Rider, a system based on a six-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle weighing about 1,450 grams, is highly competitive because of its price and after-sales service, including training that is more easily available to domestic customers, said Clark Lin, vice president of Gang Yu Corp.
The remote-controlled aerial photography vehicle is said to be entirely developed in Taiwan and made with domestic components. It can carry a payload, such as a video camera, of up to 400 grams, and can climb to an altitude of 550 meters.
It can withstand a sustained wind speed of up to 10 meters per second, or an instantaneous wind speed of no more than 15 meters per second.
With a fully-charged battery, the drone can fly up to 13 minutes with a 250-gram payload, and can reach a 750-meter radius from its handler.
The company said the AI Rider is more competitive price-wise than imported products with similar specifications. Its price of US$25,000 is one-seventh of the asking price for foreign imports.
The AI Rider has already been used by Taiwan’s military and academic institutions for surveillance and geographic surveying. Now, it can also be used for news gathering, search and rescue, or recreation.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the latest remote sensing satellite Resourcesat-2 along with two nano satellites, Youthsat and X-Sat, announced K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO.
According to ISRO officials, Resourcesat-2 would help in catering to the national and global data needs to address multiple aspects of resource inventory and monitoring in specific areas of applications including agriculture, water resources, rural development, bio-resources and geological exploration.
Resourcesat-2 weighs 1,206 kg. Its space life is five years. It has replaced Resourcesat-1 which was launched in 2003. The latest remote sensing satellite will provide data with enhanced multispectral and spatial coverage on natural resources. About the launch of two other satellites, Radhakrishnan said the launch of two foreign satellites showed that the PSLV’s reliability had been recognized internationally.
Youthsat, weighing 92 kg, is a joint Indo-Russian nanosatellite for stellar and atmospheric studies. 106-kg X-Sat is an image applications spacecraft built by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This is the first time ISRO is launching a Singapore-built satellite.
Iran to build remote sensing satellite with APSCO
Iran has said it will build a new remote sensing satellite in cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation (APSCO) of which it is an active member. The country’s space agency chief Hamid Fazeli said that Iran plans to have larger share in building the satellite in partnership with APSCO.
Iran had also launched its first indigenous satellite, Omid, into orbit successfully in 2009.
Satellites images can help track human rights abuses
US researcher Lars Bromley proved its effectiveness when he watched the final days of the Sri Lankan conflict unfold with the help of satellites. Bromley observed the digital satellite photos as part of the Science and Human Rights Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This has been reported by Christian Science Monitor.
Bromley, a geographer, wanted to determine if the Sri Lankan Army was attacking a civilian safety zone during the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009. Since the photos were not sufficiently fine-grain to reveal corpses, Bromley and his team focused on other damage like shattered buildings and mortar craters in places where refugees had previously gathered. The rectangular grids of Tamil Tiger cemeteries grew every day in the new photos, revealing dozens of new graves. The Sri Lankan government denied targeting civilian areas.
AAAS has also documented home demolitions by Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe’s regime in its first satellite project in 2005. Burning of hundreds of villages in Darfur was revealed in a 2007 project. Others have probed abuses in Myanmar, Gaza, North Korea, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Vietnam to launch first RS satellite in 2014
Vietnam will launch its first remote sensing (RS) satellite in 2014. The satellite, called VNREDSat-1, will be designed and assembled using French technology in 2013, according to Associate Professor Doan Minh Chung, Head of the Space Technology Institute of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.
The 130kg satellite will be capable of capturing earth images from almost 700km into space, to monitor and study the effects of climate change, monitor natural disasters and manage natural resources and the environment.
RS technology for Malaysian fisherman
The Sarawak State Government in Malaysia has introduced the Remote Sensing Technology (RST) to the Seine river net fishermen in Sarawak. It aims to turn around low supply of fish in the state. Yahya Mohamad, Head of Quality Improvement and Product Commercialisation in the Fisheries Department, said RST was an effort between Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry to solve the problem of low catches. He said the studies of RST were introduced in 2007 in four states in Peninsular Malaysia – Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor. The studies showed that the new method would not only save time and cost but also increase catch volumes, thus increasing the Seine net operators’ income.
Free satellite imagery for Taiwan Buddhist groups
The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation signed an agreement with Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO). The foundation is known as an active participant in overseas disaster relief works. The agreement will allow it to use NSPO satellite images free of cost. Tzu Chi officials said it is often difficult to get a clear understanding from ground level of the way an area has been hit by a natural disaster, which makes the overviews available from satellite imagery vital in coordinating and executing relief operations.
Dr Vinay Kumar Dadhwal, Outstanding Scientist has taken over as Director, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Hyderabad since May, 2011. His area of specializations have been Crop modeling, Remote Sensing Applications in Agriculture, Terrestrial Carbon Cycle and Land Cover Land Use Change Modeling, Land Surface Processes. He had held various positions in his long career such as Head, Crop Inventory & Modelling Division,Space Applications Centre (Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO), Ahmedabad; Dean, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun; Director-in-Charge of UN Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia Pacific (CSSTE-AP), Dehradun; Associate Director, NRSC. He has around 140 publications to his credits.