Notes from the field: decision points on the Four Beasts trail

decision points

Two magnificent hikes up Jiuwufeng this weekend. While I wouldn’t say that I actually flew up the mountainside, I made the best times I’ve ever recorded of around thirty-five minutes from the Four Beasts entrance to the summit. Perhaps Malcolm Gladwell is right about his ten thousand hours theory – at least when it’s applied to activities like hiking that require discipline and determination rather than any innate talent. I’m yet to be convinced that it is equally valid for more ethereal pursuits like writing.

On the trail this morning I found myself thinking about how my critical decision points along it have changed. In the first half of the year, I would always debate whether to continue up to the top of Jiuwufeng or turn right and skirt the hillside past a couple of charming little temples to either Tiger or Leopard Mountain. These days, I go right past it with barely a thought and head straight up to the summit of Jiuwufeng. Continue reading Notes from the field: decision points on the Four Beasts trail

notes from the field: preparing for nasty surprises

nasty surprises

Cooler again on the Four Beasts this morning. Fresher, too, thanks to the overnight rain, though that meant a few slippery spots to negotiate on the way down. A timely reminder that no matter how well you think you know something, you must never become complacent. There will always be nasty surprises somewhere along the way.

The same rule applies of course to all aspects of life. Just as you think everything is going fine, an unexpected problem or issue occurs that even the most sophisticated AI prediction tools didn’t see coming. The key is to be able to pick yourself up from any setback as quickly as possible rather than wallowing in the unfairness of it all. Continue reading notes from the field: preparing for nasty surprises

5 Ways the VIA Mobile360 AI Forklift Safety Kit Averts Forklift Accidents

Accidents can easily happen in busy warehouses where it’s impossible for operators to see everything that’s happening around them. With the VIA Mobile360 AI Forklift Safety Kit, you can give your operators an extra set of eyes to identify potential hazards in time to take preventative action. Here are five ways that the kit averts forklift accidents.

Driver Authorization

Basic forklift operation might seem simple enough for a “helpful” colleague to try to use one to help out in busy periods, but the proper and safe operation of a forklift requires professional training and experience with using the equipment. To prevent unauthorized personnel from operating the vehicle, the VIA Mobile360 DMS (Driver Monitoring System) can be set up to authorize the driver using facial recognition technology. This eliminates any chance of someone borrowing an ID card to operate the vehicle and ensures that only authorized personnel can use the equipment. Continue reading 5 Ways the VIA Mobile360 AI Forklift Safety Kit Averts Forklift Accidents

Notes from the field: preventing forklift accidents with the VIA Mobile360 AI Forklift Safety Kit

preventing forklift accidents

We’ve had a very positive response to our recent launch of the VIA Mobile360 AI Forklift Safety Kit. Interest has been strong from customers throughout the world – a clear sign of the high priority that the industry is placing on using new technologies like Computer Vision and AI to preventing accidents involving these indispensable but heavy and unwieldy machines that can weigh up to three times as much as most cars.

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), forklift accidents result in 85 fatalities, 34,900 serious injuries, and 61,800 minor injuries a year in the US alone. Remarkably, the organization estimates that 70% of all these forklift accidents could have been prevented if more stringent training policies had been implemented. Continue reading Notes from the field: preventing forklift accidents with the VIA Mobile360 AI Forklift Safety Kit

Notes from the field: analyzing the autonomous vehicle market

analyzing the autonomous vehicle market

When analyzing the autonomous vehicle market, it’s useful to divide it into two key segments. The first and by far the biggest of these is vehicle safety. This is where most of the growth has been over the last decade as auto makers have added more and more ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance) features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to their vehicles either as standard or an optional add-on.

During the current decade, the integration of smart assisted and autonomous driving features in new vehicles will continue to accelerate as a result of combination of factors, including fierce market competition, rapid technology development, and stricter government regulations. By 2030, most new vehicles will have the ability to drive autonomously even though they likely will still have a driver – much like jet planes fly today. While autonomous driving will be possible on most major highways, it will still be severely limited in cities and towns because of the complexity of urban environments. Continue reading Notes from the field: analyzing the autonomous vehicle market

Notes from the field: Taiwan National Center for Traditional Arts and Suao

National Center for Traditional Arts

I can’t say that I had particularly high expectations the National Center for Traditional Arts (國立傳統藝術中心) when I visited it during my trip to Yilan, but I really enjoyed myself there.

The center’s beautiful 24-hectare campus is located on the banks of the Dongshan River, and features a colorful mix of traditional and modern Taiwan architecture, painting, calligraphy, sculpture, handicrafts, and food. Regular music, drama, and operatic performances are held in various venues throughout the complex, and boat rides along the gentle waters of the river run throughout the day. Continue reading Notes from the field: Taiwan National Center for Traditional Arts and Suao

Notes from the field: Meihua Lake and Sanqing Daoist Temple

Meihua Lake

Meihua Lake (梅花湖), or Plum Blossom Lake, doesn’t come anywhere close to Cuifeng Lake in terms of elevation, but it is set in an equally spectacular location that is bordered by luscious green hillsides on three sides. The lake also has the advantage of being much easier to get to by road or rail. It’s only about half an hour from Yilan compared to two hours for Cuifeng Lake.

The best place to view Meihua Lake is from the Sanqing Temple (道教總廟三清宮), which overlooks it from a perch on its southern slopes. Confusingly spelled as Sanchin/Sanching, the temple is the headquarters of Daoism in Taiwan and is dedicated to the three most important deities in the Daoist pantheon known collectively as the Three Pure Ones (三清; sānqīng) (1). Continue reading Notes from the field: Meihua Lake and Sanqing Daoist Temple

Notes from the field: the ever-changing autonomous vehicle narrative

Work Truck Show 2020 day 1

It’s been fascinating to watch how the autonomous vehicle narrative has changed over the past year or so. Not so long ago a legion experts, many of whom were not entirely coincidentally connected to the VC-Startup complex, were predicting that 2020 was set to be the year in which self-driving cars and trucks finally arrived. Now, according to predictions by those who think they know best, it will take at least another decade before the true age of autonomy explodes.

Given that there already well over a billion vehicles on the road and the political complexity of pushing through new legislation and regulation, it is more likely that the transition to autonomy will take much longer than a single decade. It’s also probable that there will be multiple bursts in different categories rather than a single big bang. Continue reading Notes from the field: the ever-changing autonomous vehicle narrative

Notes from the field: from Jiuwufeng to Elephant Mountain

jiuwufeng to Elephant Mountain

Definitely a tad cooler on the Four Beasts this morning – though not enough to prevent me from sweating buckets for most of the hike. Even after thirty years in Taiwan, my body has never quite been able to adjust to the humid climate.

Today’s hike took me up to Jiuwufeng and then on to Elephant Mountain. Between the two peaks is a delightful little shrine nestled below Muzhi Mountain. It’s dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, and a host of other Buddhist and Daoist deities. Many people stop there to pray with an incense stick before going on their way. It’s one of my favorite spots along the trail. Continue reading Notes from the field: from Jiuwufeng to Elephant Mountain

Notes from the field: Cuifeng Lake in Taipingshan

Cuifeng Lake

Perhaps I was just imagining it, but the temperature on the climb up Jiuwufeng was slightly cooler than usual this morning. Here’s hoping that this marks the end of what has been an extremely hot summer this year in Taiwan. Let’s see. Thank goodness for air conditioning – quite possibly the greatest invention in human history.

I assume that the weather must be nice and cool at Cuifeng Lake (翠峰湖), another of the main attractions in the Taipingshan National Forest Area (平山國家森林遊樂區). About a forty-five minute drive from Taipingshan Villa, this is the defined as the largest high-mountain lake in Taiwan. During the rainy season it can reportedly cover an area of up to 25 hectares – though it was a lot smaller than that when we visited it. Continue reading Notes from the field: Cuifeng Lake in Taipingshan