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Moths may Help Drones Navigate Unfamiliar Environments: Researchers

Here's how moths can help drones navigate complex environments

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Researchers said that by using real data from animal flight paths, they can programme bio-inspired drones that will be able to navigate autonomously in cluttered space. Pixabay

The flight navigation strategy of moths can help drones to navigate unfamiliar and complex environments, say researchers who used real insect flight trajectories to develop decision-making programme for autonomous vehicles.

The researchers from University of Washington in Seattle and Boston University said that by using real data from animal flight paths, they can programme bio-inspired drones that will be able to navigate autonomously in cluttered space.

To understand how real moths plan their route, the researchers mounted 8 hawk moths on metal rods connected to a torque meter.

In front of each moth, they projected a moving forest scene created from beams of light for the moth to navigate.

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The flight navigation strategy of moths can help drones to navigate unfamiliar and complex environments. Pixabay

They captured data from the moth flight and built a mathematical model to describe the moth trajectory through the virtual forest.

The flight data were translated into a decision-making programme that could be used to control a drone, said Loannis Paschalidis from Boston University and Thomas Daniel at University of Washington in the open-access journal PLOS Computational Biology.

They compared how the drone and the moth performed in simulations of the same forest layout, as well as new configurations with different densities of trees.

The researchers found that hawk moths mainly rely on the pattern created by the apparent motion of objects caused by their flight.

However, the flight programmes optimized for drones performed 60 per cent better in the simulated forest “because they also incorporated information about the exact location of objects in their surroundings into their navigational decisions”.

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Although the researchers were able to optimize the strategy used by moths to improve performance in certain environments, the moths’ strategy was more adaptable, performing well in a variety of different forest layouts.

“The moth model performed best in dense forests, suggesting that hawk moths have evolved a flight strategy adapted to the thick forests they often encounter,” the authors wrote. (IANS)

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India Becomes the Second Largest Smartphone Market After China: Report

India surpasses US to become 2nd largest smartphone market

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The Indian smartphone market surpassed the US for the first time on an annual level. Pixabay

New Delhi: Riding on Chinese brands, the India smartphone market surpassed the US for the first time on an annual level and this is the latest science and technology news, becoming the second-largest smartphone market after China globally — reaching 158 million shipments in the calender year 2019 with 7 per cent (YoY) growth, a report from Counterpoint Research said on Friday.

While Xiaomi continued to be the top player with 28 per cent market share in the calendar year 2019, Samsung was second with 21 per cent and Vivo at 16 per cent market share, said Counterpoint’s ‘Market Monitor’ service.

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India has now become the second-largest smartphone market after China globally. Pixabay

“Although the rate of growth for smartphone market hit single digit for the first time ever on an annual basis, India is underpenetrated relative to many other markets with 4G penetration in terms of subscribers being around 55 per cent,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint.

“Chinese brands share hit a record 72 per cent for the year 2019 as compared to 60 per cent share a year ago.

“This year, we have seen all major Chinese players expanding their footprint in offline and online channels to gain market share. For instance, Xiaomi, realme, and OnePlus have increased their offline points of sale while brands like Vivo have expanded their online reach with Z and U series,” said Anshika Jain, Research Analyst at Counterpoint.

Over the past four years, Xiaomi, Vivo, and OnePlus have grown 15 times, 24 times and 18 per cent, respectively.

“This highlights that OEMs are mature enough to capture next wave of growth and expand their operations in India,” Jain added.

Smartphone
Although the rate of growth for smartphone market hit single digit for the first time ever on an annual basis, India is underpenetrated relative to many other markets with 4G penetration in terms of subscribers being around 55 per cent. Pixabay

Samsung shipments remained almost flat (YoY) while it has shown a 5 per cent (YoY) decline in 2019.

“This is for the first time Samsung transitioned to a completely new portfolio targeting different channels (offline with A series and online with M series). However, it needs to double down its efforts to keep the momentum going,” the report noted.

While the smartphone market registered YoY growth, the feature phone market witnessed a steep decline of nearly 42 per cent YoY in 2019 and 38 per cent (YoY) in Q4 2019.

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“This is due to slowdown in the new shipments from Reliance Jio. However, the players such as itel, Lava, Nokia and Micromax registered positive annual
growth despite the overall segment declined showing the untapped potential of the market,” said the report.

In fact, itel emerged as the number one feature phone brand in Q4 2019, followed by Samsung and Lava. (IANS)