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Cicadas: Miniature drones can spy on enemy troops

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Image Courtesy: Discovery News

By NewsGram Staff Writer

US military scientists have designed a miniature drone, Cicada, which can be used on civil missions and in wars. Cicada stands for Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft.

“The “micro air vehicle” is named after the insect that inspired its invention, the Cicada, which spends years underground before appearing in great swarms, reproducing and then dropping to the ground dead,” according to Discovery News.

AFP reported that it is designed to be smaller, cheaper and simpler than any other robotic aircraft but is still able to carry out a mission in a remote battlefield.

Aaron Kahn, a flight controls engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, told the news agency, “The idea was why we can’t make UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that have the same sort of profile.”

“We will put so many out there, it will be impossible for the enemy to pick them all up,” he added.

The prototype model has cost just a thousand dollars, and Kahn also stated that the cost could come down to as low as $250 a piece.

Despite of its small size, the Cicada drone can fly at about 46 miles (74 kilometers) per hour and is fairly silent, as it has no engine or propulsion system.

Daniel Edwards, an aerospace engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, said, “It looks like a bird flying down,” adding that the drone is “very difficult to see”.

The researchers have said that these miniscule-drones can be used for a multitude of missions, from weather forecasting or monitoring traffic on a remote road, beyond the enemy lines to eavesdropping on enemy troops.

Kahn said, “You equip these with a microphone or a seismic detector, drop them on that road, and it will tell you ‘I heard a truck or a car travel along that road.’ You know how fast and which direction they’re traveling.”

“They are robotic carrier pigeons. You tell them where to go, and they will go there,” Edwards told AFP.

Edwards added that despite their toy-like appearance, the Cicada drones are surprisingly robust.

“They’ve flown through trees. They’ve hit asphalt runways. They have tumbled in gravel. They’ve had sand in them. They only thing that we found that killed them was desert shrubbery,” he said.

The news agency reported that academics and almost every branch of government have expressed an interest in the Cicada program, including some intelligence agencies.

“Everyone is interested. Everyone,” Edwards concluded.

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E-commerce will be able to do deliveries using drones

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E-commerce will be able to do deliveries using drones (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi, November 2, 2017: E-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart will be able to make airborne delivery of products to customers in India using drones enabled by technology being developed by the country’s aviation sector, a minister announced on Thursday.

“E-commerce deliveries using drones are certainly going to be possible in India. Companies like Amamzon and Flipkart can deliver products with the tecnological developments we are seeing in the aviation eco system,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said at the Aero Expo 2017 here organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday invited public comments on the draft rules on use of drones, including for commercial purposes, which the aviation regulator hopes to finalise by the year-end. Drones have been classified under five categories based on their weight.

“Aviation is at the cutting edge of technology be it in avionics, software..throwing open the drone industry to experimentation and innovation will really benefit India,” Sinha said.

Noting the various uses of drone technology in areas like oil and gas prospecting, agriculture and in taking pictures, Sinha said use of drones as “air rickshaws” for travelling around a 100-km radius could be a viable proposition.

A few years ago, a drone had been used to deliver a packet to a location at a multi-storeyed building Mumbai. The local police, however, described it as an unauthorised flight in violation of rules.

Noting that this government had brought in the National Civil Aviation Policy, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the sector had notched up 20 crore passenger trips this year, which exceeded the Railways’ 13 crore passengers in their upper class coaches.

“Our journey, however, has only begun because only 3 per cent of Indians actually fly. With our efforts to increase connectivity, we are aiming at 30-40 per cent,” the minister added.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu was among the chief guests at the event and released a knowledge paper on the sector.(IANS)

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Consuming Insects such as Crickets and Mealworms may help cut Harmful Emissions: Study

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Mealworms, Wikimedia

London, May 5, 2017: Consuming insects such as crickets and mealworms, instead of beef could help tackle climate change by reducing harmful emissions linked to livestock production, new research suggests.

The study, published in the journal Global Food Security, showed that replacing half of the meat eaten worldwide with crickets and mealworms would cut farmland use by a third, substantially reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

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“A mix of small changes in consumer behaviour, such as replacing beef with chicken, reducing food waste and potentially introducing insects more commonly into diets, would help achieve land savings and a more sustainable food system,” said lead author Peter Alexander from the University of Edinburgh in Britain.

Further, consuming insects and imitation meat — such as soybean-based foods like tofu — are the most sustainable as they require the least land and energy to produce. Beef is by far the least sustainable, Alexander said.

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Lab-grown meat was also found to be no more sustainable than chicken or eggs, requiring an equivalent area of land but using more energy in production.

For the study, the team used data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and compared the environmental impacts of conventional meat production with those of alternative sources of food.

In addition, halving global consumption of animal products by eating more insects or imitation meat would free up 1,680 million hectares of land, the researchers said. (IANS)

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First batch of 1,138 pilgrims leaves Jammu for annual Amarnath Yatra

Spike in terrorist activities have posed a serious threat to the security arrangements

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Amarnath Yatra. Image source: www.thetathaastu.com
  • The first batch of pilgrims for Amarnath Yatra left Jammu today
  • Rajnath Singh will take a stalk of security measures in his two day visit to the state
  • CRPF will be inducting drones for aerial security and crowd management

JAMMU, JULY 1: Amid tight security, the first batch of 1,138 pilgrims left Jammu today, for the annual Amarnath yatra, which begins from Saturday, July 2.

The 48-day long yatra that will proceed to Amarnath shrine situated in South Kashmir Himalayas from Pahalgam and Balta, which has begun under the concern of increased incidents of terrorist attacks in the state.

Reportedly, there are 900 males, 225 females and 13 children in the first batch. They have left Jammu in 13 buses, 24 mini-buses and other modes of public and private transport in a group guarded by the security forces.

Flanked by junior minister Priya Sethi and Lok Sabha member Jugal Kishore State Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh flagged off the batch of pilgrims from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu at 5 am today.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Image source: abplive.com

According to the Indian Express, Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh will also take a stock of the security measures in his two day visit to the valley.He along with Governor N N Vohra will also be present for the pratham (first) darshan of ‘baba barfani’ (ice lingam at the shrine).

Nirmal Singh said, “With adequate number of security forces sent to the state by Central government, all security arrangements for smooth conduct of yatra have been put in place.”

Singh added that that special enquiry centres have been set up by police and other agencies for all information, particularly the weather conditions.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior police officer said, “With up gradation in technology, many new electronic surveillance systems have been inducted in the security set up.”

He further told that CRPF will be inducting drones for aerial security and crowd management and added, “This will be in addition to the manual security in and around the base camp.”

The state is currently struggling with increased terrorist activities and attacks on security forces, which has posed a serious threat to the security arrangements made for the peaceful termination of the yatra.

-This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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