25 August 2006Thirteen of the world’s leading elephant scientists have advised the government to establish a major multi-disciplinary research programme on managing South Africa’s elephant population.The Elephant Science Round Table met for a second time in Cape Town on Tuesday at the invitation of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.At their first meeting in January, the scientists agreed that there was no compelling evidence to suggest the need for immediate, large-scale reduction of elephant numbers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.However, they said that elephant density, distribution and population structure might need to be managed in some of the country’s protected areas, including the Kruger National Park, to meet biodiversity and other objectives.They also said that, although a large body of scientific knowledge already exists, further research should inform any interventions to manage the country’s elephant population.Research programmeOn Tuesday, the scientists proposed the establishment of a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research advisory platform to oversee a 20-year elephant research programme in the country.“The state of knowledge regarding some important aspects of elephant management requires further research,” the panel said.This research programme should use an “adaptive management (learning by doing) approach” to ensure that the consequences of any elephant management interventions were carefully monitored, they added.Draft norms and standardsVan Schalkwyk told the scientists that the concept of adaptive management would form a key pillar of the draft norms and standards that would be published for public comment within the next few months.“This will be a broad philosophical framework that provides guidance on the implementation of the National Environmental Management Act and the Biodiversity Act as they apply to elephants,” the minister said. “It will spell out a range of options for managing population densities where this is necessary.”He said every proposed intervention would have to be motivated by local managers in a management plan subjected to a process of local public consultation.Van Schalkwyk also invited the scientists to develop a comprehensive elephant research proposal, and suggested that the initiative be driven by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi).The members of the panel agreed that the “research platform” should consist of six programmes, including studies of the relationship between elephant density and a range of ecological consequences in various ecosystems, and the consequences of various elephant management options.Sanbi director Professor Brian Huntely, who facilitated Tuesday’s discussion, said the panel would prepare a draft proposal for circulation within two to three months to the “elephant fraternity”, including scientists, managers of parks, institutions and non-governmental bodies.Agents of changeThe panel said on Tuesday that African elephants were an important component of South Africa’s biological diversity, both as a species in their own right and as agents of change in the ecosystem.“Elephants in confined populations can, in the absence of interventions, cause changes to the composition, structure and functioning of ecosystems in which they occur,” the scientists said.They added that – excluding extinctions – elephant-induced changes to an ecosystem were potentially reversible.The scientists also noted that any management of elephant influence on an ecosystem took place within the context of human society and its objectives.Decisions on managing elephants were dependent on land use and other objectives, and the techniques by which this could be practically achieved were situation-specific.Source: BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
27 February 2008Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation has announced that it will resume selling its range of cars on the South African market from June, after an absence of four years, and has established a subsidiary company, Suzuki Auto South Africa, to act as its importer and distributor.While an agreement to distribute Suzuki vehicles through General Motors’ dealer network came to an end in 2004, the company says feasibility studies indicated that an expanded range of vehicles being sold by a dedicated dealership network would be well received in South Africa.In a statement earlier this month, Suzuki said the projected growth in the South African economy, and particularly automotive sales, had also prompted it to establish a subsidiary company in the country.“Suzuki Auto South Africa has been jointly established between Suzuki Motor Corporation, who owns 85% of the equity in the newly formed company, and Suzuki South Africa, the authorised importer and distributor of Suzuki motorcycles and outboard motors,” the statement reads.Kazuyuki Yamashita, who has been involved in sales and marketing in several international positions with Suzuki Motor Corporation, has been appointed MD for Suzuki Auto South Africa.“We are confident that the Suzuki automotive brand will do very well in the South African market and are looking forward to introducing the exciting Suzuki Swift hatchback, SX4 Crossover Vehicle, Jimny and Grand Vitara range of Sport Utility Vehicles to this market during 2008,” Yamashita said.“We intend to expand the model line-up during 2009 through importing strategic models from international assembly plants.”He added that dealerships would be established in most of South Africa’s major centres by mid-year, and that the buying public could expect to see the first Suzuki vehicles on the showroom floors by June.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
He is open to the idea of discussing Sri Lanka’s transitional issues with their coach Nic Pothas, but India skipper Virat Kohli will only do it once he is done with the ongoing limited overs series.Kohli was asked about Pothas’ comment that the Sri Lankan management with its Indian counterparts to overcome the transition period difficulties their team is facing currently.”We haven’t had any discussions yet. Those things may happen after the competitive zone is over and done with the series. I think that will happen after September 6 if it has to happen from their end,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference.The hosts’ team bus was subject of angry reaction from fans at Dambulla after the heavy defeat in the first ODI.Kohli spoke about how India managed the transition phase after many of their own greats retired. “…But look it is difficult for any team going through transition. One thing that we decided to do as a team was take more responsibility and ownership of what we do on the field when playing for the country. We just needed to change our mindset.”Mental preparation was key to standing upto challenges, according to the captain. “It didn’t matter if we were playing against a side that has played 60 Tests each if we are mentally more prepared than them then we are in a better position to win. So we decided to put our heads in that zone where experience didn’t matter much for us.”It was the fight and competitiveness we were willing to show and the desire to fight for longer periods that helped us get through that phase quicker than what others might have faced,” said the skipper.advertisementKohli said extreme reactions from fans are beyond the players’ control and they would rather focus on the task at hand only. “I’m not someone who will sit here after not performing and request the fans to be patient with us or (tell them) ‘please don’t react in a bad way’. That’s a very personal choice.”If I, as a fan, am watching a game and I see a team not being able to do well I would feel compassion. I would not burn effigies or smash faces, put on mannequins and what not. I would show compassion because you can understand at a human level that everyone’s trying hard out there and no one wants to go out there to lose or fail.”The Indian captain added, “I think people find the ease and convenience, and the pleasure in pulling other people down which I personally don’t believe in. I’m sure it’s tough for the players to see such things. But you can’t really control what’s happening from another person, you can only control what you can do on the park and the mindset that you can be in.”Last but not the least, the topic of Lasith Malinga also came up as he is seen by many as a fading star in this young and inexperienced Sri Lankan line-up. Asked about Malinga, Kohli said, “Obviously, age is always a factor in sport. I cannot speak for Lasith but everyone wants to keep up with their peak fitness and manage their bodies well through the course of their career. When you look at his bowling action and the kind of success he has had for such a long period of time is actually remarkable.”With the dynamics of his bowling, it’s not very natural.= What he has been able to achieve for Sri Lanka has been outstanding. That’s why they have been such a dangerous side over the last few years in limited overs format,” said Kohli.The skipper felt Malinga could still get back into his groove. “Even when he played Test cricket, he made an impact. It’s very easy to say that he is not bowling as well anymore but it could just be a phase. Once he starts hitting those yorkers again, those slower balls again, and picks up wickets on a regular basis then these talks can be otherwise also.”I can’t talk about his body, only he would know. But as long as we play him we obviously respect his skills and what he can bring to the table and how he can turn the game around. We always play him like that, we have always played him like that and we’ll continue to play him like that till he plays for Sri Lanka,” Kohli signed off.
Share on Twitter A-League comment Rory Carroll and his daughters may be the latest fans to fall victim to draconian police measures at football matches in Australia, but this instance has a different feel. The Sydney FC fan’s decision to confront one of the sport’s most deep-rooted issues – the way it is policed – has seen his trauma compounded by him being forced to defend his character in public.Carroll’s attempts to ensure a disabled toilet would be in good working order for his daughter, who has special needs, ended in his eviction from the ground after a posse of police officers converged upon him. His charge? Attempting to enter an area of the ground which his ticket did not permit him to enter. Reuse this content Read more Share on WhatsApp Read more Read more Share on Facebook Topics Share on Messenger Given general media hostility towards football fans, the case to discredit Carroll’s version of events began in earnest, with references made to evidence gathered by the security company involved. It seems odd that the police would take a security firm’s report as gospel, while neglecting to even speak to Carroll and hear his concerns before dismissing his account as factually incorrect.Through this lens, one can see how Carroll’s 12-month stadium ban is largely irrelevant to Sunday’s incident. A-League fans are routinely evicted and banned for the most minor of civil disturbances. Furthermore, not only has he alluded to it being unjust on his Twitter account, but there is a well-documented history of A-League fans being issued bans which are not subject to appeal.This whole scenario does not come as a surprise to anyone. Throughout the history of the sport in Australia, and particularly in recent times, police have happily bandied about the term “hooligan” to characterise unruly fans. Football fans continue to be othered and treated with contempt in Australia.Will that change? Recent events suggest it won’t any time soon. Share on Pinterest Police evict Sydney FC fan after row over disabled toilet, leaving daughter ‘traumatised’ With an energy uniquely reserved for football fans, within 12 hours of the completion of Sunday night’s A-League semi-final against Melbourne Victory, Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Walton was on air to discuss it with 2GB’s Ray Hadley.Hadley begun his segment by suggesting Carroll’s statement “doesn’t bear much resemblance to the truth”.“Apparently factually incorrect?” Hadley asked the commissioner. “It is,” he responded.A narrative had been set and was followed throughout the day. Later, Walton referred to security documents that suggested Carroll had been trying to access a restricted area of the stadium to access a greater selection of beers. It is a claim Carroll denies, instead insisting he was making sure the bathroom – which he says he has routinely used throughout the season – was in a clean state for his daughter, who has special needs, to use, as she is uncomfortable with changes to routine. He also noted that he drove home from the venue.Then came Hadley’s colleague at 2GB, Ben Fordham, with the next wave, revealing that Carroll had been evicted and banned from ANZ Stadium for 12 months in 2017. “He seems to have a problem with authority at the football,” Fordham said. Melbourne Victory left with plenty to think about in A-League off-season Share on LinkedIn Guardian Australia sport newsletter: subscribe by email Australia sport Share via Email If that were the case, he certainly would not be the first. When it comes to policing football fans, security contractors and police have at times appeared more interested in intimidation than de-escalation. One look at this Twitter thread shows dozens of examples of heavy-handed policing at A-League games.In comparison to the other major Australian sporting codes – cricket, AFL and rugby league and rugby union – the security measures and resources are incomparable; the feeling is that this police and security presence is always much more visible at the football. Demands of compliance by police have helped eradicate much of the A-League’s vibrant active support.This is not to say A-League fans never do anything wrong, but it is not at a disproportionate rate to match-goers of any other sporting code in the country. Nonetheless, disorderly cricket or rugby league fans are not labelled “suburban terrorists”, as football fans were by the Herald Sun in 2015, when the league and policed clamped down on the lighting of flares. Nor have we seen such strong language used to condemn a range of violent assaults at AFL games this year.Football Federation Australia and the police talk about a “family-friendly”, “inclusive” atmosphere, but harsh security measures employed at A-League games help to create abrasive situations like the one that occurred in Kogarah.There were so many opportunities for this incident to be defused. Carroll could have been escorted to the toilets and back out of the restricted area. When the situation was escalated to the police, they could have listened to him to help have the situation resolved. Instead, Carroll was confronted by a group of police officers, seemingly more interested in ejecting him than presenting a solution.
In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo Tony D’Angelo walks away from the scan check out lane after completing his purchase using the BJ’s Express Scan app on his cell phone while shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. Like other automation technologies, scan-and-go shifts more of the work to shoppers while freeing up employees for higher-value tasks. That’s especially critical as stores look for ways to make their workers more efficient as they wrestle with rising wages. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Stores declined to say whether their ultimate goal was to replicate Amazon’s Go technology, saying the plan is to keep investing in the latest technology and improve customers’ experience.”We’re trying to make our trips more convenient,” said Chris Baldwin, CEO of BJ’s.And for shoppers who find it most convenient to go the traditional route with a cashier scanning their purchases? “Our goal is to provide members with a variety of options so they can check out however they prefer,” said Carrie McKnight, a Sam’s Club spokeswoman. For customers, scanning as they go can be faster and make it simpler to keep track of spending. For stores, the big expansion of this technology coming this year costs less than installing more self-checkouts.Like many changes in retail, the expansion of scan-and-go comes from retailers trying to make store shopping more convenient and hang on to customers used to Amazon, which just opened a cashier-less store in Seattle. And like other automation technologies, it shifts more of the work to shoppers while freeing up employees for higher-value tasks. That’s especially critical as stores look for ways to make their workers more efficient as they wrestle with rising wages.The convenience of scanning while she shops is what Kari Malinak likes. She just started using the technology at a Walmart in Fort Worth, Texas.”I’m a persnickety shopper,” Malinak said. “I can’t stand it when they bag my produce. It gets all bruised. I like to have control. And I like the quick and easy aspect.” She says she also likes the idea of having a running total of spending as she shops. In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo Tony D’Angelo holds up his phone, which displays an option to remove an item from his shopping cart on his BJ’s Express Scan app, while shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. The technology allows shoppers to scan UPC codes on items as they shop. It can be used for lots of products beyond just groceries, and people change their minds about something, they can delete items and change quantities before they check out. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo Tony D’Angelo carries a case of water to his shopping cart while shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles. BJ’s Wholesale Club plans to add it to 100 clubs this year. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo Tony D’Angelo uses the BJ’s Express Scan app on his cell phone to check out after completing his shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo Tony D’Angelo leaves the store after using the BJ’s Express Scan app on his cell phone to complete his shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. the expansion of scan-and-go comes from retailers trying to make store shopping more convenient and hang on to customers used to Amazon. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo, just before checking out, Tony D’Angelo uses the BJ’s Express Scan app to scan in a propane tank he is purchasing at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. For customers, scanning as they go can be faster and make it simpler to keep track of spending. For stores, the big expansion of this technology coming this year costs less than installing more self-checkouts. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Explore further The technology, while slightly different from chain to chain, allows shoppers at stores like Kroger and B.J.’s Wholesale Club to scan UPC codes on items as they shop. It can be used for lots of products beyond just groceries, and people change their minds about something, they can delete items and change quantities before they check out.Some stores allow payment directly from the phone, with a greeter then checking over the digital receipt, while others require shoppers to go to a self-checkout lane or a kiosk to finalize their purchases.A big push is coming this year from big chains: Kroger Co., the nation’s largest traditional grocery chain, is adding the scan-and-go technology to 400 stores. Walmart is testing the service in 120 stores, while all its Sam’s Club stores, which number around 600, have it. B.J.’s Wholesale Club has launched the service in a handful of stores and plans to add it to about 100 clubs this year.One reason is that stores are investing less in their self-checkout lanes and opting for scan-and-go technology that’s less expensive because it doesn’t need as much special hardware—just an app or the scanners, says Jason Goldberg, senior vice president of commerce and content practice at consulting group SapientRazorfish. In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo Tony D’Angelo uses the BJ’s Express Scan app on his cell phone to scan a case of bottled water he is purchasing while shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 photo after downing load the BJ’s Express Scan app Tony D’Angelo scans his BJ’s membership card into his cell phone before beginning his shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) “It’s a huge barrier for most retailers to get a consumer to download their app,” says Goldberg. He said stores also need to work on letting shoppers pay with their phones, so customers don’t have to go to a kiosk to finalize their purchases.Most executives wouldn’t say what percent of their transactions come from the service. But Dusty Lutz of retail technology company NCR Corp., which works with major grocery clients, says scan-and-go mobile shopping accounts for 5 to 15 percent of customer transactions, based on an analysis of 40 retailers.Walmart—which tested scan-and-go in a few stores in 2013 but ended the trial because shoppers found the technology too clunky—says the improved service is now the most preferred checkout method among those who tested it. Sam’s Club says 80 percent of its members who use it use it again within 90 days and its scan & go transactions have doubled this year. Walmart tests app that lets shoppers skip checkout lines But while some customers feel comfortable scanning while shopping, plenty of others don’t. In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 photo Tony D’Angelo logs into the stores Wi-Fi to download the BJ’s Express Scan app on his cell phone before beginning his shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles. For customers, scanning as they go can be faster and make it simpler to keep track of spending. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo, just before checking out, Tony D’Angelo uses the BJ’s Express Scan app to scan in a propane tank he is purchasing at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. For customers, scanning as they go can be faster and make it simpler to keep track of spending. For stores, the big expansion of this technology coming this year costs less than installing more self-checkouts. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Some stores are enticing shoppers to spend more by pinging them with coupons while they shop with the phone. Executives from B.J.’s and NCR say shoppers are actually throwing more in their cart with this new technology.Still, not everything can be scanned. At BJ’s clubs, jewelry and gift cards can’t be scanned but can be purchased at a pay station. Stores also have to be careful about theft. At Walmart, there’s an honor code when shoppers scan the barcode on the produce and enter in the weight. But the company says some purchases are randomly checked on their way through the express lane.And the technology the big chains are using isn’t as effortless as the sensors and automatic payment at Amazon’s cashier-less stores. There, shoppers enter by scanning their phones. The store technology itself keeps track of what they pick up and charges them after they leave. It uses computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors to analyze what people are grabbing.Amazon’s store isn’t without employees—there are workers making food, stocking shelves and helping customers. And grocery executives say the scan-and-go services won’t eliminate cashier jobs—rather, some cashiers will move to other parts of the store, like new online pickup stations. Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after they’re done shopping? Old school. More stores are letting customer tally their choices with a phone app or store device as they roam the aisles. Citation: Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it (2018, February 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-scan-tech-shoppers.html In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, photo Tony D’Angelo leaves the store after using the BJ’s Express Scan app on his cell phone to complete his shopping at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. the expansion of scan-and-go comes from retailers trying to make store shopping more convenient and hang on to customers used to Amazon. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Citation: Quality assurance for autonomous systems (2018, April 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-quality-autonomous.html Developing standardised testing methodsTo be able to test an autonomous car at all, you have to let it drive for some 200 million kilometres. In comparison, with traditional cars you need 10,000 or 20,000 kilometres. Against the background of virtual tests, which are a viable alternative, autonomous cars as well as self-learning and adaptive systems in general raise some big questions: What scenarios will take place at all? How will they be combined with each other? And in particular: regarding a system that has constantly learnt and adapted itself, when do you know that it has been sufficiently tested and when can you issue a guarantee for this?In the framework of the CD lab, researchers will also apply themselves to the question as to how the system can find its way out of unfavourable scenarios independently. Wotawa: “We have to know in what framework an autonomous cyber-physical system works, for instance what absolutely must not be allowed to happen. And when that worst-case scenario does happen, how the system can be safeguarded so that it will take measures to pull itself out of this violation of conditions as soon as possible.” Such a violation in the case of an autonomous car, for instance, would be when the car wants to brake or accelerate, but the sensors report that the tyres have not reacted. “The system must not only immediately recognise that something has happened, it’s also an urgent question of how it reacts.”But even outside the automotive industry, quality assurance measures for software of interacting electronic systems, whether for communication, data transfer or monitoring, are in demand now. Franz Wotawa emphasises: “The example of autonomous driving is an application case for us in which we can illustrate our very theoretical work in the context of the CD lab. There are many other applications of cyber-physical systems which have nothing to do with autonomous driving, for instance Smart Production, the Internet of Things (IoT) with its digital business models and robotics.” BlackBerry, Baidu announce autonomous vehicle partnership The cooperation of many years between AVL and the Christian Doppler Society has allowed the company to deepen its knowledge of technologies and methods and thus to expand its product portfolio. Mihai Nica, contact and research partner of AVL, confirms: “To bring autonomous vehicles to market, the industry needs new verification approaches from the field of informatics and software. The challenge lies in defining a testing programme which could safeguard such self-driving software-driven systems with respect to all critical traffic situations.” In this sense, the CD lab complements AVL’s further research activities in the field of quality assurance measures for autonomous vehicles. The team of the latest CD laboratory at TU Graz (from left): Florian Klück, Nour Chetouane, laboratory manager Franz Wotawa, Bernhard Peischl and Martin Zimmermann. Credit: Lunghammer – TU Graz Franz Wotawa, Head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Methods for Quality Assurance of Autonomous Cyber-Physical Systems at TU Graz. Credit: Lunghammer – TU Graz This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Cyber-physical systems combine electronics, software and mechanics. They are highly complex, and in addition to many application possibilities, raises a whole range of issues. They are dependent on error-free software, and the issue of proven quality assurance thus becomes increasingly urgent. Using the example of autonomous vehicles, a team from TU Graz’s Institute of Software Engineering together with AVL List GmbH will develop methodologies for quality assurance in such systems in the framework of the “Christian Doppler Laboratory for Quality Assurance Methodologies for Autonomous Cyber-Physical Systems.” The official starting shot for this currently seventh active CD lab of TU Graz sounded in the Assembly Hall of TU Graz yesterday, 3rd April 2018. Provided by Graz University of Technology The Christian Doppler lab has been conceived for a duration of seven years. The Christian Doppler Society and the corporate partner will provide two million euros, with half of this coming from the public sector. The most important funding body is the Federal Ministry for Digital, Business and Enterprise for which CD labs count among the most important instruments at the interface between science and the economy.Economics ministry promotes basic research and innovation”Whether autonomous vehicles or Industry 4.0, to ensure that digitalisation works, its systems and applications must be secure,” stressed Dr. Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs. “This CD lab is making an important contribution to this and at the same time will strengthen competitiveness of the corporate partner. Not only all those involved but in the final analysis the whole of society will benefit from the new answers to the challenges of digitalisation.””MOT certificate’ for autonomous systems softwareThere are still a number of hurdles for autonomous vehicles, from technical feasibility and legal issues to general acceptance by the population. From the point of view of the automotive industry, the question of guaranteeing safety is paramount. Franz Wotawa, head of the new CD lab explains: “Boldly stated: a traditional car has to go for a regular inspection and receives an MOT certificate (certificate of road worthiness). In an autonomous car, the software is itself an element which must fulfill high-quality criteria and be certified itself. Standardised inspection procedures are necessary for this. We now want to develop methods and techniques for this quality assurance in the CD lab together with AVL using autonomous driving as an application case, but also which would be valid in an extended sense for all cyber-physical systems.” Explore further