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Seen & Heard: Drones and robots fight coronavirus

March 5, 2020  - By
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“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry.


Drone with megaphone. (Screenshot: Xinhuanet video)

Drone with megaphone. (Screenshot: Xinhuanet video)

Drones and robots fight Coronavirus

China’s efforts to contain the coronavirus include drones and robots, according to news reports. Drones are being used to spray disinfectant and enforce instructions to wear face masks. Some reports say drones with thermal imaging are detecting people with fevers from the air. On the streets, hazmat workers are using tank robots to disinfect 50,000 square meters per hour. Other robots are feeding quarantined air passengers at a hotel and disinfecting rooms.


Jakarta toll road. (Photo: GeorginaCaptures/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Jakarta toll road. (Photo: GeorginaCaptures/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Hungary helps Indonesia with road tolling

Indonesia and Hungary are in talks to build a multi-lane free flow (MLFF) e-toll system that allows payments without gates while cars are moving. The technology is estimated to cost US$90 million. The GNSS e-toll system is already installed in several eastern European countries, including Hungary. Using GNSS, motorists are charged tolls through sensors installed inside vehicles that identify their locations.


Photo: Anne Webberi/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Photo: Anne Webberi/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Albatross on patrol

The albatross, which has a wingspan as long as 11 feet, is helping catch illegal fishing vessels. Henri Weimerskirch of the French National Center for Scientific Research has outfitted nearly 200 albatrosses with GPS trackers that detect radar from ships that lack an automatic identification system. This allows the birds to transmit the locations of fishers in the midst of illicit acts. Fishers who trawl without a license, exceed quotas or underreport their hauls imperil fragile ecosystems and cost the global economy up to $30 billion a year.


A black bear in Shenandoah National Park. (Photo: USNPS/Neal Lewis)

A black bear in Shenandoah National Park. (Photo: USNPS/Neal Lewis)

How fare the bears?

When problem bears are relocated outside the Great Smoky Mountains, 74 percent are never seen again. Do they thrive after being moved at least 40 miles from their home range? Upcoming GPS research may figure out what happens to them. “There is a mindset where everybody thinks we can just go catch a bear and move it somewhere else, and everything is okay. And it’s not,” said wildlife biologist Bill Stiver. The U.S. National Park Service has approved a three-year grant for a GPS research project beginning in 2021 to track bears relocated from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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