KZN’s flood radar ‘nowcasters’

first_img22 January 2003A KwaZulu-Natal civil engineering researcher has started groundbreaking work to help predict floods up to six hours in advance so that authorities can be proactive rather than reactive when disaster strikes.The Water Research Commisson is funding efforts by academic Geoff Pegram of the University of Natal to develop technology to forecast floods. This includes the ability to ‘nowcast’ where floods can be forecast up to six hours ahead, using radar technology and computer-based mathematical techniques.“Floods are a daunting phenomenon that can cause widespread loss of life and damage,” says Pegram, adding that floods in the province are expected to become increasingly destructive.Pegram says that using radar technology to forecast floods is more effective than using ordinary rain gauges, which do not provide real-time rainfall information and are poor at estimating rainfall in spatial detail over a large area.The technology is already being used. A model has been installed in the Umgeni Water offices in Pietermaritzburg and at the Flood Management Centre at eThekwini (Durban) Metro Water.“The weather radar gives an almost instantaneous picture of where rain is falling in great detail over a large area,” says Pegram.Coastal cities like Durban will benefit particularly from weather radars, as forecasters will be able to detect what rainfall is coming in from the sea in areas where there are no rain gauges.“An extra half-hour bought is a possible saving of life,” says Pegram.In addition, flood-prone informal settlements can benefit as the weather radar will be used as an early warning system to reduce flood damage and give water resource managers extra time to implement preventative measures.“It is hoped that this pilot study in KwaZulu-Natal will be so successful that other municipalities and water management authorities throughout South Africa will adopt the technology,” said university spokesperson Amelia Naidoo.Naidoo said the Water Research Commission had granted Pegram’s research team a new contract to run for three years, entitled ‘National Flood Nowcasting System Towards an Integrated Mitigation Strategy’.Role players in the study include Umgeni Water; Durban Metro’s Disaster Management team; Durban Metro’s Drainage and Coastal Division; the South African Weather Service’s electronic research, development and maintenance arm Metsys (Meteorological Systems and Technology); the Metsys team in Bethlehem in the Free State; and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.Source: BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Ford to skip Level 3 autonomy to keep sleepy drivers happy

first_imgDavid Curry Tags:#autonomous cars#Autonomy#driverless#featured#Ford#Level 3#Level 5#Self-Driving#top Ford plans to skip ‘Level 3’ autonomy and shoot right for Level 5, the highest level of car automation. The automaker decided to skip the midway point after it noticed a few of its engineers dozing while testing semi-autonomous vehicles.Even with “bells, buzzers, warning lights, vibrating seats and steering wheels, and another engineer in the passenger seat” the engineers struggled to maintain situational awareness, according to Raj Nair, Ford’s chief product development officer.See Also: Ford rolls out gas- and driver-less fleet of tomorrowNair said the more the engineers became comfortable with the self-driving tech, the less attention they paid to the road. This could be a major issue for automakers deploying Level 3 cars, which cede some control to the human driver.“These are trained engineers who are there to observe what’s happening,” said Nair to Bloomberg. “But it’s human nature that you start trusting the vehicle more and more and that you feel you don’t need to be paying attention.”Will loss of incremental improvements turn clients off?Going straight to Level 5 may hurt Ford in the short-term, as competitors will be able to offer some self-driving functionality to customers that want it. However, the decision let’s Ford power on ahead with its driverless dream, which it aims to have on the road by 2021.Ford said it would deploy a fleet of driverless vehicles in major cities in four years time. The cars will work similar to Uber, but without the driver. This should reduce the cost of the cab by at least half, since driver payment is the most expensive part of a taxi business.The company also said it would sell the vehicles to customers, but details are thin.Ford has shown how confident it is in the driverless future with a $1 billion acquisition of Argo AI, a small robotics and autonomous systems startup that held some of the hottest talent in the self-driving industry. For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Related Posts center_img 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle… Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A…last_img read more

‘Sorry to disappoint but I’m not coming back’

first_imgShane Warne has put to rest the frenzied speculation about his possible return to Test cricket due to the team’s continuing slump.”There will be no comeback in this Ashes series,” wrote Australian spin legend in his column for The Herald Sun.The flamboyant cricketer-turned-commentator, who has been offered a million dollars to come back and rescue Australia’s floundering Ashes campaign, said he is flattered by the attention but it won’t be possible for him to actually return.”I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there will be no comeback in this Ashes series,” added the 41-year-old.”I must say I was very flattered and surprised that a lot of you out there wanted me to make a comeback and play in the series,” he said.Warne said although he would have wanted to be in the thick of things but it would require quite an effort to be match fit.”If there was to be a comeback I’d need time to get match-fit. My general fitness is as good as it’s ever been – I have worked hard on that lately – but toiling away for long spells and backing up the next day takes time, practice, lots of physiotherapy and even more dedication.”I must admit it did cross my mind, but then I woke up in London, where it was snowing, and realised I was only dreaming,” he said.”I will continue to help the Aussie boys any way I can in their quest to reclaim the Ashes.”advertisementWarne predicted that the Aussies, who are down 0-1 in the series, would win the third match in Perth to draw level and keep the contest alive.”I think they will win this match because they know the conditions better. They also know the length to bowl, which will help them take 20 wickets.”It’s about giving the English something to think about, start them doubting themselves and worrying about Australia,” he said.Warne, however, conceded that a loss in Perth could trigger wholesale changes in the team.”The way the Australian team plays this week will give us an indication of where it is really at. If the team fails here, then there will be some big changes at the end of the series, but a win could change everything.Warne lavished praise on rookie spinner Michael Beer, who could not get into the final XI for the ongoing third Test.”I’m sure the dressing room was daunting when he walked in because he did not know many teammates, but by now they will have realised he is a feisty player who doesn’t get overawed and gives as good as he gets.”He is an in-your-face player and, as I said earlier, this is what the Australian team needs. He could surprise many with his ability to spin the ball. With his change of pace, he reminds me a lot of New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori,” he said.- With PTI inputslast_img read more