Autonomous ‘Yetis’ to begin patrolling runways of Oslo Airport

28 Sep 2018

Two of the Yeti snowploughs clearing snow off a runway during trials. Image: Semcon

This week in IoT, Potsdam introduced its first autonomous tram system, while Oslo Airport is about to trial autonomous ‘Yeti’ technology.

Oslo Airport has revealed that it is to trial a series of new autonomous snowploughs on its runways.

Dubbed ‘Project Yeti’, the technology is the work of a group called Yeti Snow Technology, co-owned by a Swedish company called Semcon and a Norwegian firm called Øveraasen.

Earlier this year, the autonomous snowploughs were used to clear snow from the runway at Fagernes Airport located north of Oslo.

Now, Oslo Airport will be taking on two of the snowploughs in January 2019, eventually expanding its fleet to 10.

“Our aim is to complete 40 operations to ensure that the system is working as intended and see how we can develop it further,” said John Emil Halden, project manager at Semcon. “We are then hoping that more world airports will be interested in this technology.”

Potsdam tests autonomous tram system

With little fanfare, the German city of Potsdam unveiled the world’s first autonomous tram developed by the country’s engineering giant, Siemens.

According to The Guardian, the tram is fitted with multiple radar and LiDAR sensors as well as a series of cameras to prevent it from getting involved in any accidents.

While not open to the public just yet, the tram is currently being tested along a 6km route in the south-eastern district of Stern by the city’s transport company, ViP.

When operational, ViP expects the trams to carry up to 250 passengers at a time. As for the current tram drivers, the company said that they would eventually be deployed in other roles, such as helping passengers on the platform.

California passes IoT security bill

The Mirai botnet of 2016 was a wake-up call for the IoT security world. Now, according to Diginomica, California has become the first state in the US to pass legislation specifically to try to counteract future attacks.

Coming into effect on 1 January 2020, the bill requires all IoT device manufacturers to “equip the device with a reasonable security feature or features that are appropriate to the nature and function of the device”. In essence, it puts liability for any potential breach or botnet squarely on the manufacturer.

However, some security researchers are critical of the bill’s wording. Speaking in a blogpost, researcher Robert Graham described it as so: “It’s like dieting, where people insist you should eat more kale, which does little to address the problem you are pigging out on potato chips.”

Amazon wants to make setting up IoT devices easier

With its Echo device dominating the smart speaker market, Amazon is now attempting to make the somewhat frustrating experience of setting up an IoT device a bit easier.

According to The Verge, the new system is called Wi-Fi Simple Setup and will use the company’s Wi-Fi Locker software to store your Wi-Fi details and make them shareable with other IoT devices.

The idea is that with this setup, turning on a device will automatically connect without you having to manually set each one up. The company claims the entire process would take no more than 30 seconds to set up a new device.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic