Digital technologies facilitate wildlife conservation in China’s Xinjiang

XINJIANG: Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has made great strides in preserving its diverse flora and fauna by implementing a smart wildlife conservation system that utilises modern information technology such as satellite tracking systems, infrared cameras, drones, video surveillance devices, remote sensing equipment, and ranger patrol apps.

According to People’s Daily Online, Xinjiang, a region in China known for its rich biodiversity, is home to more than 700 species of wild vertebrates, with 178 considered key wild animals under national protection.

Infrared cameras have become essential for monitoring and researching wild animals without disturbing them, said Ma Ming, a research fellow of Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In recent years, the once-elusive snow leopard, a wild animal species under national first-class protection in China, has been frequently captured in videos and images, as infrared cameras have been widely used to mon
itor wild animals, according to Ma.

In addition to technological means on the ground, satellites and drones have also become part of Xinjiang’s wildlife conservation system. The Xinjiang Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve has established a space-air-ground integrated monitoring system comprising satellites, drones, and ground monitoring facilities to track and monitor wild Bactrian camels, a species under China’s first-class national protection.

At Xinjiang’s Bosten Lake, an important habitat for migratory birds in China, experts from the National Bird Banding Centre of China have fitted birds with satellite tracking devices to better understand and study their migration patterns, distribution, seasonal movements, and population structures.

In the Kalamaili Nature Reserve of Xinjiang, information about the locations of the endangered Przewalski’s horse is displayed in real-time on large screens at the reserve’s command centre. Unmanned drones stationed deep within the reserve can autonomously take
off and track wild animals, monitor for fires, and assist with the emergency response after receiving instructions from the command centre.

Xinjiang has accelerated the construction of its smart wildlife conservation system in recent years. The region’s forestry and grassland bureau has signed strategic cooperation agreements with the Xinjiang branches of China Telecom and China Mobile to promote the application of advanced technologies in various areas.

As Xinjiang’s smart wildlife conservation system continues to evolve, the region’s ecological conservation efforts are shifting towards applying more advanced technologies such as cloud computing and big data analysis, making human-nature interactions more visible and tangible.

Source: Emirates News Agency

MBRSC announces commencement of new phase of second analog study with Emirati crew member Shareef AlRomaithi

DUBAI: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) today announced the commencement of phase two of the second analog study under the UAE Analog Programme, with Emirati crew member Shareef AlRomaithi entering the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) habitat at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, USA at 2 AM (UAE time) on Saturday.

AlRomaithi was joined by his fellow primary crew members Jason Lee, Stephanie Navarro, and Piyumi Wijesekara, as they embarked on the 45-day mission within the HERA facility. The alternate crew members for this mission are Jose Baca and Brandon Kent. The unique three-story habitat simulates space-like conditions on Earth, designed to study how crew members adapt to isolation, confinement, and remote conditions similar to those they would face on long-duration space missions.

Throughout their simulated journey in HERA, the team will engage in scientific research and operational tasks. This mission on Earth includes a virtual reality ‘walk’ on Mars’s surface and mana
ging increasing communication delays with Mission Control Center as they simulate nearing Mars. The crew is scheduled to leave the facility on June 24.

Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC said, ‘The UAE Analog Programme is a cornerstone of our vision to integrate advanced scientific research with our strategic objectives, positioning the UAE as a leader in space technology both regionally and internationally. Through these detailed Earth-based simulations in collaboration with our partners at NASA, we are meticulously preparing our cadres for the vast challenges of deep space exploration, establishing the UAE and the broader Arab world as pivotal players in the international space community and inspiring generations to expand the horizons of human potential.’

The second analog study under the UAE Analog Programme is part of a comprehensive four-phase analog study, consisting of 18 human health studies on Earth. These studies are aimed at understanding the physiological, behavioural, and psychologi
cal responses of crew members under conditions similar to those expected on future lunar and Martian exploration missions. The UAE also plays a pivotal role in these ground-breaking research initiatives, with scientific experiments being provided by the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), and American University of Sharjah (AUS), across all four phases of the analog study.

Source: Emirates News Agency

‘Extreme’ G5 geomagnetic storm reaches Earth, NOAA says, following ‘unusual’ solar event

WASHINGTON: An “extreme” G5 geomagnetic storm reached Earth on Friday, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said, after issuing a watch earlier in the day warning of the potential for a severe impact.

According to CBS News, the watch followed days of solar activity that sent several explosions of plasma and magnetic fields toward Earth.

G5 is the strongest level of geomagnetic storm, on a scale from G1 to G5.

“Widespread voltage control problems and protective system problems can occur,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns. “Some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience damage.”

Radio transmissions and satellite navigation may also be disrupted.

The last G5 geomagnetic storm, in October 2003, caused power outages in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa.

Source: Emirates News Agency

China completes construction of space weather telescope

BEIJING: China completed the construction of its first interplanetary scintillation observation telescope — a device used for studying space weather, in Xilingol League, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Friday.

The telescope project, independently developed by China, is spearheaded by the National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as reported by China Central Television. It comprises a primary station and two auxiliary stations.

The telescope will efficiently conduct the observation of interplanetary space weather on a daily basis to provide high-quality data for both China and international space weather forecasting.

Source: Emirates News Agency

AUS launches three research centres at inaugural innovation expo

SHARJAH: Research at American University of Sharjah (AUS) is set to grow with the launch of three cutting-edge research centres, each dedicated to addressing critical challenges and driving innovation in their respective fields. The launch was announced at the AUS Innovation Expo: Future of Research and Technology in the UAE on 6th May.

The Energy, Water and Sustainable Environment Research Centre in the AUS College of Engineering aims to address sustainability challenges in line with the UAE Net Zero 2050 and the National Water and Energy Demand Management Program. Similarly, the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainable Development in the AUS School of Business Administration focuses on supporting the UAE’s National Entrepreneurship Agenda, fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Materials Research Centre in the AUS College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to driving innovation in advanced materials, energy and the environment, aligning with the UAE Economic Vision 2030.

Dr. Mohamad El
-Tarhuni, Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer at AUS, said, ‘Cultivating a culture of research excellence is pivotal in our mission at AUS. The establishment of these transformative research centres underscores our strategic commitment to not only addressing pressing global challenges but also positioning ourselves at the forefront of innovation. Through rigorous inquiry and interdisciplinary collaboration, we aim to chart new territories and make enduring contributions to the advancement of knowledge and society.’

The expo also featured a keynote speech by Dr. Chaouki T. Abdalla, Executive Vice President for Research at Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, and a member of the AUS Board of Trustees, titled “Building a World-Class Research and Innovation Organization.” Hatem Al Mosa, Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah National Oil Corporation also shared insights on fostering innovation with his keynote speech titled ‘Building an Innovation Ecosystem.’

Current AUS research was shared at the expo, as
AUS faculty members spoke on topics such as smart cities and infrastructure, biomedical engineering, sustainable technologies and more.

AUS students were able to present their innovative ideas and entrepreneurial ventures at the expo through the AUS:Sheraa Pitch Challenge, a research poster session and an exhibit of projects by students of the College of Architecture, Art and Design.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain concludes 2nd phase of subcommittees’ initiatives

DUBAI: Omar Sultan AlOlama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, underscored the imperative of escalating efforts and bolstering the integration of initiatives and projects at the national level to fortify the UAE’s global leadership in AI. He emphasised the necessity of a proactive approach to enhance advanced digital infrastructure.

AlOlama made these remarks during the virtual meeting of the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, attended by council members.

The meeting discussed the progress of the second phase, which aimed at activating and adopting initiatives from the subcommittees. These initiatives aim to realise the UAE’s strategic objectives in AI and enhance the country’s leading role in service development and improving well-being through advanced technology solutions and innovative AI solutions.

AlOlama highlighted that the government’s commitment to accelerating the development and adoption of AI technology soluti
ons aligns with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai. Through pioneering initiatives, the UAE endeavours to shape future AI paths, innovate solutions to enhance the country’s competitiveness, and lead in various domains.

Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, stressed the commitment to advancing the UAE’s position as a leading financial hub. He emphasised the ministry’s dedication to digital transformation by developing advanced solutions that contribute to the growth of various sectors, particularly the digital economy and advanced financial technologies.

He added that the Ministry of Finance spares no effort in developing AI systems, projects, and initiatives, including the generative AI platform and the Metaverse platform for digital procurement. These efforts align with the UAE government’s vision of designing government services focusing on innovative and effective methods to make them the wor
ld’s best.

Al Khoori also elaborated on strategic projects in digital transformation that foster cooperation between the public and private sectors. The federal government’s digital procurement policy simplifies procurement procedures for federal entities through a Digital Procurement Platform. This platform integrates technological and commercial best practices, facilitates electronic signing and online contracts, and enables companies to register and update their data electronically, qualifying them to participate in federal government tenders.

The UAE Ministry of Finance recently launched an updated catalogue for the Digital Procurement Platform in line with the UAE’s Digital Government Strategy 2025 and the UAE Strategy for Government Services.

Omar Alsuwaidi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of the Industry Sector Committee in the Council, affirmed the committee’s commitment to empowering industrial companies in technological transformation. The committe
e aims to promote innovation, adopt advanced technology in industrial systems and solutions, and support the UAE’s position as a global destination for leading future industries.

Alsuwaidi highlighted the committee’s efforts to enable industrial companies to adopt and implement these technologies, enhance the industrial sector’s added value to the country’s GDP, support industrial efficiency and sustainability, and attract Emirati investments in the industrial sector.

He added that the committee has conducted assessments for 389 companies in the industrial sector so far.

The Council concluded the second phase of its subcommittees’ initiatives, which aim to support the UAE’s strategic goals in AI. The initiatives focus on enhancing the adoption of AI in government entities to enhance the UAE’s competitiveness in priority sectors. The Council also discussed updates on the UAE Artificial Intelligence Award and its key plans aimed at adopting the best uses of AI.

Additionally, the Committee for Regulating Art
ificial Intelligence Purchases in Government Entities showcased the mechanism and updates of the digital procurement platform. This platform aims to enhance the digital transformation of procurement strategy in the federal government by utilising AI technologies to facilitate user experience, digitise financial procedures, and to improve procurement efficiency.

The Industry Sector Committee of the Council showcased the Guide to the Use Cases for the Industrial Technology Transformation Index (ITTI). This Guide aims to empower the UAE’s industrial ecosystem through AI and advanced technology solutions. It includes over 90 high-impact use cases identified as priorities out of more than 1,530 Industry 4.0 applications, with potential market opportunities worth AED1.5 billion based on the best use cases.

The Guide reviews several use cases of artificial intelligence within the industrial-technological transformation journey, including integrated and automated production planning and scheduling, activation of AI
technologies and machine learning to improve processes and production efficiency, quality inspection, productivity monitoring, digital twin technology for product design and production improvement, employing robots in automated assembly line activities, cybersecurity measures, and improving water consumption using artificial intelligence.

Source: Emirates News Agency