Autobots Roll Out! — transforming robot unveiled in Japan

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A new transforming robot called ‘J-deite RIDE’ that transforms itself into a passenger vehicle, is unveiled at a factory near Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters)
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The ‘J-deite RIDE’ robot is the brainchild of Kenji Ishida, CEO of Brave Robotics and a fan of anime movies featuring robots that could transform or combine with each other. (Reuters)
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The blue and white robot is 3.7-meters tall and can carry two passengers as it transforms into a car or humanoid form. (Reuters)
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The ‘J-deite RIDE’, a Transformers-style, humanoid robot, can shape shift into a sports car in about 60 seconds. (Reuters)
Updated 26 April 2018
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Autobots Roll Out! — transforming robot unveiled in Japan

TOKYO: A Transformers-style, humanoid robot that can shape shift into a sports car in about 60 seconds was unveiled in Japan on Wednesday.
The “J-deite RIDE” robot is the brainchild of Kenji Ishida, CEO of Brave Robotics and a fan of anime movies featuring robots that could transform or combine with each other.
“I grew up believing that robots had to be capable of such things, which became my motivation to develop this robot,” Ishida told Reuters Television.
The blue and white robot is 3.7-meters (12 feet) tall and can carry two passengers as it transforms into a car or humanoid form.
Some people may view the robot as an “expensive toy,” but it was intended to inspire others, Ishida said.
The RIDE was co-developed with Asratec, a robot consulting firm, and amusement ride manufacturer Sansei Technologies.


Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

An aerial photo of a road running through an palm plantation in Dumai, Riau, Sumatra island, Indonesia. (Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman/via REUTERS/File)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

  • Researcher Alice Hughes found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
  • An average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Forests in parts of Southeast Asia face greater threats than previously thought because researchers often rely on data that ignores new roads, which are precursors to deforestation and development, a study shows.
The paper, published this month by the journal Biological Conservation, showed that an average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.
“Large-scale forest clearance is preceded by the growth of road networks, which provide a stark warning for the region’s future,” the study said.
Author Alice Hughes, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, studied a total of 277,281 square kilometers by analyzing satellite images and maps showing forest loss and coverage, as well as agriculture concessions.
She found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
“We are deluding ourselves that we still have large tracts of inaccessible, pristine forest, when the reality is highly-fragmented, very accessible forests,” Hughs said on Friday.
Her research examined road networks in parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“In some parts of the region, up to 99 percent of roads on those global maps, which are used as the basis for a huge amount of further analysis, are not included,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Deforestation and development of forests in the area studied have occurred at a rapid pace since 2000, said Hughes, while maps used by researchers do not regularly update their road data.
“Most of the time these roads are just providing access to forests and up to 99 percent of deforestation is within 2.5 km of road,” she said. “They are clearly the access method.”
She added that the region urgently needs better protection and enforcement for its remaining forests.
Indonesia, which is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, introduced a forest clearing moratorium in 2011 to help reduce deforestation.
Hughes said the ban should be expanded beyond just land designated as natural, untouched primary forest to include all high biodiversity forests.
Hughes’ research methodology should be used to determine whether the same patterns exist in other parts of the world, said Christopher Martius, team leader for climate change at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research.
“It is surprising that nobody ever did that before, and it is shocking that the result shows we grossly underestimated the possible threat to tropical forests from road building,” he said by email.