New Tech Allows Drones To ‘Learn’ As They Fly

Qualcomm showed off one of the most exciting things in advanced drone technology recently at the Consumer Electronics show. The chipmaker has a newly upgraded Snapdragon Flight Drone Platform, which incorporates a real time “learning” capabilities. Qualcomm is the first to enable a drone to learn from its environment while it is actually in the air. Other platforms have incorporated AI technology, but it only allows for extremely simple tasks such as following a moving object or conversely avoid flying into an object. Snapdragon is more advanced in that not only does it enable the drone to avoid a collision, but it can also develop an alternative flight path without any additional input from a human operator. This raises the possibility of uses for drones substantially. For instance, they could be used in search and rescue operations in remote areas, flying through trees easily without the need for pre-mapped data or constant navigation instructions from a remote pilot. At the CES show, Qualcomm put together a set at its booth that resembled the inside of a cluttered warehouse, showing how its drone processing and decision-making technology is nimble enough to allow drones to operate indoors and in unpredictable settings without using any GPS. That is particularly important because GPS is nearly useless indoors, but drones could be very useful inside buildings. For example, conducting inspections after a fire or natural disaster. All of the drone’s computing, including machine learning and flight control, happens via the on-board processor. And remarkably, that on-board processor only weighs 12 grams, or less than a standard AAA battery! Keep in mind that Qualcomm only develops the chip technology, so it’s up to a drone manufacturer or service provider to now incorporate it into an actual UAV. Under FAA’s current guidelines, the tech may not be very practical as drones aren’t allowed to be flown outside an operators line of sight. However, that could change if the rule proves to be unnecessary in light of this type of advanced technology. It also is a major building block that’s been needed to advance truly autonomous drones that actually could zip through a crowded city. (Source: ReCode, Business Insider)

unnamed-2

Gas Prices At Their Highest Level Since Early Last Summer

According to AAA, the national average price of gas continues to increase, reaching an average of $2.37 per gallon, the most expensive average since June 2016. Prices have moved higher by three cents per gallon on the week and 17 cents per gallon on the month. Retail prices have increased for 40 of the past 42 days as a result of market reactions to the OPEC oil cut agreement. AAA says gas prices have been rising in recent weeks largely in reaction to an OPEC agreement to cut production this year. 2016 was the cheapest year for gas prices since 2012, but that is expected to largely change in 2017. GasBuddy predicts prices could increase by as much as 50 cents per gallon in 2017. Their 2017 Fuel Price Outlook projects national prices to average $2.49 per gallon, which means U.S. drivers would pay a combined $52 billion more compared to 2016. Low gas prices saved motorists saved $39 billion on gas in 2016 versus 2015. Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, says 2017’s price trends will be pushed by a shift away from market fundamentals to “the promise of rebalancing and a rise in prices supported precariously by the notion that the production cut OPEC is successfully selling now will materialize and remain verifiable and sustainable.” (Source: AAA, GasBuddy)

USDA’s final production estimates for 2016 released January 12

U.S. Corn & Soybean Production

 

Jan. #

Previous USDA

Avg. Guess

Range of Guesses

USDA 2015

Corn
Crop Total

15.148

15.226

15.196

14.999 – 15.320

13.601

Corn
Yield Avg.

174.6

175.3

175.1

172.3 – 176.5

168.40

Corn
Harvested Acres

86.7

86.836

86.747

85.514 – 88.231

80.70

Soybean
Crop Total

4.307

4.361

4.374

4.262 – 4.440

3.926

Soybean
Yield Avg.

52.1

52.5

52.7

51.6 – 53.5

48.0

Soybean Harvested Acres

82.7

83.047

83.013

82.500 – 83.400

81.80

December 1 Quarterly Stocks

 

Jan. #

Dec. 1 2015

Avg. Guess

Range of Guesses

Corn

12.384

11.238

12.300

11.600 – 12.700

Soybeans

2.895

2.715

2.935

2.745 – 3.119

Wheat

2.073

1.746

2.056

1.828 – 2.158

2016/17 U.S. Ending Stocks

 

Jan. #

Previous USDA

Avg. Guess

Range of Guesses

Corn

2.355

2.403

2.385

2.206 – 2.800

Soybeans

0.420

0.480

0.468

0.407 – 0.510

Wheat

1.186

1.143

1.148

1.113 – 1.340

2016/17 World Ending Stocks

 

Jan. #

Previous USDA

Avg. Guess

Range of Guesses

Corn

221.0

222.25

221.94

218.00 – 225.00

Soybeans

82.3

82.85

82.58

79.60 – 84.20

Wheat

253.3

252.14

252.01

250.23 – 254.00

Winter Wheat Acreage

 

Jan. #

USDA 2016 Seedings

Avg. Guess

Range of Guesses

Hard Red Winter

23.30

26.586

24.954

22.600 – 26.664

Soft Red Winter

5.68

6.020

5.662

4.800 – 6.600

White Winter

3.37

3.531

3.473

3.200 – 4.300

Total
Winter

32.38

36.137

34.139

31.700 – 36.381

South American Crop Production

 

Jan. #

Previous USDA

Avg. Guess

Range of Guesses

Argentina Corn

36.50

36.50

36.30

34.00 – 37.50

Argentina Soybeans

57.00

57.00

56.48

54.00 – 58.00

Brazil
Corn

86.5

86.50

87.24

86.50 – 91.10

Brazil Soybeans

104.00

102.00

102.40

101.70 – 104.50

“Gene-Slicing” Could Be a Game Changer for Crop Protection

Researchers at the University of Surrey and University of Queensland have developed a revolutionary new crop protection technique which offers an alternative to genetically-modified crops and chemical pesticides. The breakthrough research, published in Nature Plants, could have huge benefits for agriculture and positively impact communities around the world. Plant pests and pathogens are estimated to reduce global crop yields by -30% to -40% a year, constraining global food security. At the same time, the need for higher production, regulatory demands and pesticide resistance mean there is a growing need for new approaches to crop protection. The researchers have found that by combining clay nanoparticles with designer ‘RNAs’ (molecule with essential roles in gene biology), it is possible to silence certain genes within plants. The spray they have developed — known as BioClay — has been shown to give plants virus protection for at least 20 days following a single application. When sprayed with BioClay, the plant thinks it is being attacked by a disease or pest insect and responds by protecting itself. This new technology, which is based on nanoparticles used in the development of human drug treatments, has a number of advantages over existing chemical-based pesticides. Since BioClay is non-toxic and degradable, there is less risk to the environment and human health. It can also be used in a highly targeted way to protect crops against specific pathogens. Understand, this latest research overcomes the instability of “naked” RNAs sprayed on plants, which has previously prevented them from being used effectively for virus protection. By loading the agents on to clay nanoparticles, they do not wash off, enabling them to be released over and extended period of time before degrading. While the Queensland team focused on crop protection, the same technique could be used to prevent fruits from rotting. Monsanto, for instance, came up with a technique to dope vase water with RNA, which is to help stop flowers from wilting. Similar techniques could be used to kill potato bugs, aphids and other pests. Understand, this technique protects plants without modifying their underlying genome. This is what makes it different than genetic modification — there are no genes being changed. I’m sure this new technology will face some opposition as environmentalist will argue that they are spraying RNA out in the open. However, unlike some pesticides, the material has been proven safe and doesn’t linger in the soil or pollute waters. Again, a single spray of BioClay protects the plant and then degrades. Many believe this nanoparticle technology is truly a breakthrough and will help influence agriculture over the next few decades. (Source: Phys.org)

This is just a small excerpt of the full Van Trump Report that I send out every day. To find out what you’re missing, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

 

U.S. DDG Exports To China Continue to Slide

China has increased tariffs on imports of U.S. DDGs significantly from levels first proposed last year. In a final ruling, the anti-dumping duties will range from 42.2% to 53.7%, up from 33.8% in its preliminary decision in September. Understand, China is the world’s top buyer of DDGs and imports almost all of its needs from the U.S., the largest exporter. Many Chinese buyers have already started to wind back imports of U.S. DDGs since the September ruling. As a consequence, imports from the U.S. have steadily dropped in recent months. Year-to-date for the Current Marketing Year, we are down -70% compared to this time last year.

This is just a small excerpt of the full Van Trump Report that I send out every day. To find out what you’re missing, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

unnamed

 

 

« Older posts

© 2017

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.