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Indian scientist: Bird strike can be reduced

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New Delhi: Birds dying due to aircraft have been an issue for long. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (India’s aviation safety regulator), from 378 bird strikes recorded in 2010, incidents of collisions between birds and planes increased to 719 in 2015.

What can one do to identify the vulnerable species, save it and ensure safe air travel at the same time? Zooming in on unique genetic labels through DNA barcoding could be the key, say Indian researchers.

“Identification of bird species helps in understanding the behavior of birds in terms of its habitat, diet and the like. This data helps in the management of birds for air safety management and could lower bird strikes,” Yogesh Shouche, a senior scientist at Microbial Culture Collection (MCC), National Center for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune said.

Just as shopkeepers scan the similar-yet-different zebra stripes (barcodes) on products to keep track of what they sell and what is in stock, examining certain ubiquitous genetic sequences can differentiate one species from another with high accuracy.

“A database of DNA barcodes is generated using authenticated, well identified bird samples. This helps in easy and quick identification of remnants obtained after a bird strike. These are in the form of feathers, bloodstains and the like and accurate identification using this is not possible otherwise.

“Currently we do not have any such database in India, but there are global databases which may not have entries of bird species endemic to India,” he added.

Bird strikes not only result in financial losses, they also lower mission capability of the crew, loss of flying hours, permanent damage to the aircraft and, importantly, are always associated with the risk of mortality, the researcher stressed.

“We identified 16 different species and barn owl and red wattled lapwing were the most common species found, probably because they nest on buildings and due to grassy land near airstrips, food availability is better,” he explained.

The procedure also helped the researchers in detecting non-bird species: they found three bat species in the bird strike samples.

“Identification of birds involved in strikes was not a regular practice in India. It was done at some airports like Mumbai and Bangalore (Bengaluru) by people with expertise in bird identification using morphological means (from form and structure).

“However, such identification is difficult if the body of the bird is not found. Feathers give limited identification and if there are only bloodstains, no identification is possible. Hence barcoding has advantage,” added Shouche. The research was published in a recent Current Science article.(IANS)(image: businessinsider.com.au)

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Improvements in Road and Driving Tech Keep Truckers Safe

Investing in technology can reduce crash rates. Picking the right technology is important, as is adequate testing and education about each technological advance

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This article is about 'Improvements in Road and Driving Tech Keep Truckers Safe'.

When people imagine technology keeping the roads safer, they probably think of automated vehicles or improved safety devices in cars. Fewer people understand that there are critical and massive safety breakthroughs in development for the roads themselves, as well as for larger commercial trucks. Technology can make driving safer, faster, and more efficient. Those who drive for a living, particularly commercial truckers, will likely benefit from the increased use of road technology and better trucking technology as well.

Smart Roads Will Reduce Crashes and Traffic Jams

Smart roads seem like they belong in The Jetsons. This system integrates a series of sensors into the road. These sensors can potentially provide information both to drivers and nearby emergency responders.

For example, smart roads could alert people approaching them that there is a large amount of traffic that is moving slowly. That could help drivers of trucks to avoid traffic jams. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck on a gridlocked highway when you have a deadline rapidly approaching.

Of course, smart roads can also help with safety as well. They can detect accidents and other serious issues, allowing for a faster response from medical and law enforcement professionals. The summer of 2018 saw limited testing of smart roads in Colorado. When they become a reality, they could reduce collisions and potentially save lives with faster medical treatment.

Commercial Truck Tech Reduces Liability and Risk 

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There are kinds of truck technology that can actually help keep truckers safe, including GPS systems. Image; Wikimedia commons

Technology can help keep trucks safer as well. Some commercial drivers are opposed to new truck tech, likely thinking of the hassle and headache that resulted from the upgrades to electronic logging devices in April of 2018. However, many kinds of truck technology can actually help keep truckers safe, including GPS systems which can track when a truck is missing, stolen, or hijacked. Other tech can help make driving safer.

Forward-looking truck cameras, for example, can provide critical information to law enforcement and insurance agencies in the wake of a collision. They could help establish the fact that other drivers were unsafe and exonerate a trucker accused of causing a crash. There are also systems which help with collision mitigation, including sensors in the vehicles and alerting truckers of the need to take steps to avoid a potential collision.

Investing in technology can reduce crash rates. Picking the right technology is important, as is adequate testing and education about each technological advance. However, there may soon be new options for inside trucks, as well as smart roads, helping to keep everyone safe.

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