Countries and investors need to step up the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) to keep roads safe for everyone, three UN Special Envoys said on Thursday, leading a new AI for Road Safety initiative.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a call for action to halve the annual rate of road deaths globally and ensure access to safe, affordable and sustainable transport for everyone by 2030.
According to the newly launched initiative, faster progress on AI is vital to make this happen, especially in low and middle-income countries, where the most lives are lost on the roads each year.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.3 million people die annually as a result of road traffic crashes. Between 20 and 50 million more suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability.
AI can help in different ways, including better collection and analysis of crash data, enhancing road infrastructure, increasing the efficiency of post-crash response, and inspiring innovation in the regulatory frameworks.
This approach requires equitable access to data and the ethical use of algorithms, which many countries currently lack, leaving them unable to identify road safety solutions.
Announcing the initiative, the ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, said the disproportionate number of road deaths in developing countries “is yet another example of why the benefits of new technologies must reach everyone, everywhere”.
Road Safety Envoy Jean Todt said, “there is an untapped opportunity to harness AI to close the digital and road safety divide around the world”.
As the first partially self-driving cars come on the market, the future of automated driving is back in the limelight. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic is shifting mobility trends and increasing a preference for personally-owned cars.
Back in March, though, Mr. Todt said that much work remains to meet the target to halve the number of road deaths and injuries by 2030.
“Connected vehicles are far from reaching the communities that are most affected by road traffic crashes. The infrastructure in many countries could not support autonomous driving anytime soon. The cost of the technology is still very high”, he stated.
The new initiative aims to strengthen global AI efforts across the public and private sectors to improve safety for all road users — whether traveling by automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, foot or other transportation modes.
For Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, UN Envoy on Technology, this initiative “is a noteworthy effort to focus on practical, real-world technology issues that concretely affect peoples’ lives”.
Choosing the Best Engine Hoist for your Garage
An engine hoist is an extremely valuable piece of equipment. It will allow you to remove an engine from a vehicle easily, without putting yourself or others in danger. People have been using ropes and pulleys for centuries to lift heavy objects – and some modern engine hoists work via the same principles. However, there are a few alternatives which offer distinct advantages.
So, what’s the best kind of engine hoist for your garage? Let’s look at choosing the best engine hoist for your next car repair job.
The manual hoist uses old-fashioned pulleys and cords to lift a heavy object. These tend to be the simplest option, and therefore the cheapest. Simply pull on the chain, and the other chain will move. The main drawback here is that the manual hoist needs to be suspended above the room. That means that you’ll need a suitably-rated ceiling that’s capable of carrying the load.
A manual chain can allow a single person to lift tonnes of weight, since the arrangement of pulleys will result in a larger transfer of force. The cost is that you’ll be moving the chain a large distance to move the engine just a small one.
Hydraulic hoists work using fluid, spread over multiple vessels. By reducing or increasing the amount of fluid in one vessel, you can change the amount of fluid in another, attached by a length of hose. In this way, you can push or pull heavy loads. A telescopic boom arm actually does the lifting, with the help of pumps, cylinders, and oil.
Hydraulic hoists are positioned on the ground rather than the ceiling, and they tend to come with plenty of castors so that they can be moved from one side of the workspace to the next. The relative mobility of the hydraulic hoist puts it at a considerable advantage over the mechanical one in situations where you need to be flexible. You can even use a hydraulic hoist outdoors.
The electric hoist is similar to the manual one, except that you don’t have to pull on the chain – an electric motor will do that for you. This makes life much more convenient – though you can expect to pay a little extra for the remote-control console. Electric hoists tend to be underpowered in comparison to hydraulic ones, which might be something to consider if you’re lifting loads heavier than a few hundred kilos.
Electric hoists tend to be operated by a single dangling button, which means that you might not have the same degree of precise control as you do on a manual hoist. For most applications, however, this won’t be an issue.
Tech Start-ups Key to Africa’s Digital Transformation but Urgently Need Investment
The World Economic Forum’s latest report, “Attracting Investment and Accelerating Adoption for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa” analyses the challenges Africa faces in joining the global knowledge-based digital economy and presents a set of tangible strategies for the region’s governments to accelerate the transition.
The Forum’s report, written in collaboration with Deloitte, comes just weeks after the announcement by Google of a $1 billion investment to support digital transformation across Africa, which centres on laying a new subsea cable between Europe and Africa that will multiply the continent’s digital network capacity by 20, leading to an estimated 1.7 million new jobs by 2025. Africa’s digital economy could contribute nearly $180 billion to the region’s growth by the by mid-decade. Yet with only 39% of the population using the internet, Africa is currently the world’s least connected continent.
Tech start-ups such as Kenya’s mobile money solution Mpesa and online retail giant Jumia, Africa’s first unicorn, represent what the continent’s vibrant small business sector is capable of. Despite raising $1.2 billion of new capital in 2020 – a six-fold increase in five years – this represents less than 1% of the $156 billion raised by US start-ups in the same year. Meanwhile, Africa’s investment in R&D was just 0.42% of GDP in 2019 – less than a quarter of the global average of 1.7%.
“African governments urgently need to drive greater investment in the tech sector and the knowledge economy,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Africa Division at the World Economic Forum. “Policy-makers can make a difference by reducing the burden of regulation, embedding incentives within legislation and investing in science and technology skills.”
The report breaks down these three policy enablers:
- Pass legislation such as “Start-up Acts” designed to spur private sector innovation, reduce the burden of regulation and promote entrepreneurship, in which Tunisia and Senegal are leading the way.
- Embed incentives for start-ups in legislation, such as start-up grants, rebates on efficiency gains through technology implementation, co-investment of critical infrastructure, tax-free operations for the early years, and incentives for R&D.
- Invest in workforce education, skills and competencies. Currently, only 2% of Africa’s university-age population holds a STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree.
However, the analysis of 188 government incentives for business across 32 African countries finds that just 14 incentives – fewer than 10% – facilitate investment in Fourth Industrial Revolution technology. And most of these incentive schemes lack an efficient monitoring and evaluation system to gauge their effectiveness.
Delia Ndlovu, Africa Chair, Deloitte, believes that digital transformation promises to boost economic growth in Africa: “Connecting the region to the global digital economy will not only open new avenues of opportunity for small businesses, but will also increase intra-Africa trade which is low at 16% compared to markets such as intra-European trade which is approximately 65% to 70%.”
African governments have much to learn from each other. In Côte d’Ivoire, an R&D tax incentive has been created to direct investment away from commodities and into innovation. In South Africa, the Automotive Investment Transformation Fund created by the largest manufacturers in the country is facilitating the development of a diverse supplier base to realise the 60% local content target set by the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP). In Tunisia, the government offers state salaries for up to three start-up founders per company during the first year of operations, with a right to return to their old jobs if the venture fails.
Coding – what is it and what are the benefits?
Coding has become more popular in recent years with everyone from entrepreneurs, hobbyists, children and professionals. And with many different kits now available, it’s easier than ever to try your hand at coding.
If you’re unsure what coding is or where to begin, read on to discover more and find out the benefits of learning this new skill.
What is coding and what is it used for?
In a nutshell, coding is writing a set of instructions in a language understood by machines to enable a computer to follow to carry out a task. It’s used daily across the world in multiple applications from appliances to traffic systems and the motor industry.
With more of the world relying heavily on digital systems, there is an increased need for those who know how to code. But it’s not just for professionals. Anyone can now try their hand at coding and it’s increasingly popular amongst hobbyists who are creating exciting projects during their spare time.
A good place to start when thinking about coding as a hobby is by using a Raspberry Pi kit. Starter kits are great for beginners and allow you to develop your coding skills with everything you need in one package.
Benefits of learning to code
Whilst some benefits of learning to code such as future career options might be obvious, there are other advantages to this skill:
- You could become smarter – Coding can utilise the logical part of your brain which is useful for other tasks, not just the coding process. It can also be very creative if you use your coding skills to work on different projects.
- It increases your employability – and not just in the computer software industry. Skills learnt from coding are transferrable and the kind of qualities employers across many industries will be looking for.
- It helps you understand technology – By getting to grips with computer languages, you’ll learn how technology works at a base level – knowledge that will filter through to everyday life as well as in your career.
- Enhance problem solving skills – By learning to code you’ll learn how to address problems and, in turn, become skilled at solving them. Tools that will be transferred to other aspects of life.
- Enhances STEM learning for kids – Using coding tools as educational play will develop a child’s skills around science and technology – industries which are only going to increase in the near future.
- Coding is a universal language – so there are endless opportunities to learning this skill.
Whatever knowledge you have of coding, why not give it a go? You could be creating the next big robotics project, having fun playing games with your kids or even developing a new software programme in no time.
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