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Sightec Completes First Drone Delivery Without GPS

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Some of the world’s largest retailers and e-commerce companies are actively exploring the potential of drones to deliver goods across short to medium distances. Now, Israeli startup Sightec has successfully completed its first drone delivery without GPS.

Instead of location signals provided by satellites, the drone relies on a software solution combining computer vision with artificial intelligence technologies, called NaviSight, to autonomously get to its destination.

NaviSight is compatible with all camera-equipped off-the-shelf drones. With the help of advanced video processing, the software essentially transforms the camera into a smart sensor, allowing the drone to understand its surroundings and identify its location in real-time.

“We give drones the ability to get from point A to point B safely without the need for GPS signals,” said Roy Shmuel, the CEO of Sightec. “There is no available solution today for players globally,” he added.

The test was part of a pilot program operated by Israel’s Ministry of Transport (MOT), Ayalon Highways, the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), and the Israel Innovation Authority. The goal of the program is to test and demonstrate the viability of autonomous drones in managed airspace.

During the test, Sightec successfully navigated the drone on five pre-determined routes near the southern city of Yeruham. “The drone completed each route safely, from take-off to full landing, over desert and construction sites,” said Shmuel.

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Not depending on GPS for navigation is important because GPS satellites can malfunction, and the signals transmitted by them can be disrupted by malicious hackers. Without an alternative navigation method, it would be safe to use drones for deliveries and other purposes in populated areas because they could lose signal and endanger people, buildings, and vehicles.

Shmuel also said that the test is an important step toward the legalization of drone delivery operations in Israel and other regions. However, more test flights still need to be conducted in other parts of the country before the technology is ready for prime time.

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Facebook Will Create 10,000 Jobs In The EU To Build Its Metaverse

Facebook decided to invest in the EU because the company believes that European talent is world-leading, supported by first-class universities.

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Facebook has announced that it wants to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union (EU) to build its metaverse, a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.

The concept of the metaverse can be traced to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. In the novel, the metaverse is a virtual shared space that appears to its users as an urban environment. This space is accessed through personal terminals connected to virtual reality goggles.

Sound familiar? That’s because the metaverse is quickly becoming a reality thanks to companies like Oculus, a subsidiary of Facebook, and the combined effort of developers and content creators from around the world.

By creating thousands of new high-skilled jobs within the EU over the next five years, Facebook wants to accelerate the development of the metaverse to usher in a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences, enabled by technologies like virtual and augmented reality.

“At its heart is the idea that by creating a greater sense of ‘virtual presence,’ interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs. “The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities”.

According to the official announcement, Facebook decided to invest in the EU because the company believes that European talent is world-leading, supported by first-class universities. Facebook also mentioned the role European policymakers are playing in shaping the internet, so it’s likely that the investment has a political dimension to it.

Also Read: How To Lock Your Facebook Profile (From Mobile & Desktop)

Aware of its tarnished reputation, the social media giant stressed that no single company would own and operate the metaverse — just like no single company owns the internet today. Of course, that doesn’t change anything about the fact that Facebook wants to play a huge role in it.

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg told his employees that Facebook is becoming a metaverse company with the goal of building a set of connected social apps and supporting hardware. The recently released Horizon Workrooms remote collaboration app for the Oculus Quest 2 headset can be seen as an early piece of the much larger puzzle the metaverse will become in the future.

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