Macao by Gaotie (Fast Train)

I was about to post what an uneventful (pleasant) trip to Macao I had when I had occasion to find out what happens when a passenger loses a ticket. In short, you go to the ticket office, show your passport, and buy your replacement ticket. You can then get a refund in the place where you bought your ticket. I had removed my overcoat with the ticket and remembered it before forking over the 337.50 RMB for another full fare ticket.

This is the Zhuhai Railway Station. It is right next to the border crossing (Gongbei Port).

So the cost of a bullet train (Gaotie) ticket from Guiyang is less than a plane ticket. On a good day, the plane ticket costs about 900 RMB round trip (rt). The Gaotie ticket costs 675 RMB rt every day.

Comparing plane vs train is interesting. The plane is about 1.5 to 2 hours flight time compared to about 6 for the train. The train takes about twenty minutes for the security check and boarding time, while the plane takes two hours to be safe. At the destination the plane needs another hour to park and retrieve bags. It’s about five minutes for the train.

This is the Gongbei Port border crossing. It takes about five minutes to walk from the railway station into the border crossing building.

I need to cross the Chinese border every 60 days to stay legal under my tourist visa. So arriving by plane in Zhuhai or Shenzhen still leaves me at least an hour from my border crossing (Hong Kong airport is cost prohibitive). The Zhuhai/Macao border crossing is only a 5 minute walk from the train station. The two parcels are literally adjacent to each other. There is no need for a taxi or bus.

Market for Self Driving Cars

The market for self driving cars (Autonomous Vehicles)  is growing rapidly and is particularly active in the USA and Europe.  Guiyang, as referenced elsewhere on this site (see: http://www.tourguizhou.com/guiyang-automated-vehicle-project/) is ideally suited to promote this technology in China. Here is what is happening in the USA and Europe: https://www.vmrnewswire.com/self-driving-car-new-future-car-travelers/

Guiyang Virtual Reality Theme Park

This photo reminds me of a Godzilla movie.

The Guiyang Virtual Reality Theme Park may already be open. I have been curious since going by a big transformer, which I took to be about seven stories high when I recently posted it to Facebook. In fact it is about seventeen stories high. It’s so big that you can’t tell how big it is. After trying to take photos from the bus, I found that the Guiyang East Bus Station provided an adequate view. It can also give perspective by looking at the signs and cars in front of it. My sister complained that I haven’t kept her up to date on Guiyang happenings because she has been reading about this project in the West. I checked China Daily and found this article:

 http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/m/guizhou/guiyang/2017-09/30/content_32680401.htm .  Apparently Reuters recently ran a story on it which caught her attention: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-tech-theme-park/virtual-reality-boom-brings-giant-robots-cyberpunk-castles-to-china-idUSKBN1DO03B . also:
http://www.businessinsider.com/virtual-reality-theme-park-in-china-2017-11/#itll-be-called-the-oriental-science-fiction-valley-theme-park-1] 5,694

Well if this is what it takes to get my sister to come back to Guiyang for a visit, then I say it is a billion rmb well spent!

I’ll try to find out more about this place and post it here. Meanwhile, Guiayang is racking up a number of impressive man-made firsts: 1) There’s the worlds tallest bridge http://www.tourguizhou.com/guizhous-tallest-bridge-%E6%9C%80%E9%AB%98%E7%9A%84%E6%A1%A5/ , 2) The worlds biggest telescope: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2017-11/20/content_34752752.htm , 3) Worlds first Virtual Reality Theme Park, and 4) The worlds first seventeen story transformer. I finally found out what the Chinese call him — JiCheRen . Plane, car, man . . .  Makes sense.

 

The Mighty Arduino Uno

The MIghty Arduino

I finally got around to getting serious with my Arduino. It's a cheap little computer that can be made to behave as a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and literally control machinery. I bought the machine in June of 2016 and finally got a couple teens interested in working with me on it. See: http://www.tourguizhou.com/technology-arduino-unboxing/ . The kids are in the 14 to 16 range, really an "at risk" age. This is a "traffic light" application which is a beginner introduction to programming in C++. I am hoping to

Stop Light Coding

create a curriculum or some kind of club that promotes technology. If that doesn't happen, no problem.  Screwing around with these cute little computers is a very good way to spend time with kids. In about two hours, only one kid looked at his cell phone, one time.  Wow. This application created a stop light scenario where the program turned the red, yellow, and green lights on at appropriate times, as if it were a real traffic light.  Right now we are at the beginning, with plug and chug operations. We did teach input/output, circuits, positive/negative, and some other electronics. It is very cool.  

Guiyang Tech Village

The Autonomous Vehicle (“AV” or Automated Vehicle) technology is the next big thing in technology. The Big Data Valley initiative of Guiyang can jump start the creation and nurturing of a technology Village (Guiyang Tech Village) in Guiyang. The Big Data initiative has already started this process, but there is still a need for focus of the resources being created by the the Big Data initiative. AV technology requires a combination of two of the “Big Three” technology initiatives in the world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics (Biotech is the third). China and the USA are similar in that about 2/3 of GDP is consumer driven. Housing is the #1 consumer purchase, and cars are #2.  The market for auto enhancements, such as AV, is massive.

These concepts are developed elsewhere on this site, but the implementation of AI and Robotics in Guiyang can use the AV technology framework. Sensors, machine learning, actuators, and decision making are all required when a car, truck, or bus is driven by a human. The AV research, the testing, and application of that research provides a concrete focus for so many of these advanced research subjects. An AV initiative in Guiyang has the potential of attracting top talent to Guiyang companies and universities.

Technology people can usually choose where they want to live, but the technology village concept multiplies the productivity of individuals. Guiyang already has the quality of life that is attractive to the young techies. See: Guiyang Top City The AV provides a focus for those techies.

The implementation plan is specific. Develop and test AV technology using existing Guiyang buses and drivers:

  1. Automate bus maneuvering and parking in the North Guiyang Train Station (Beizhan Gaotia).
  2. Retrofit existing BRT buses with sensors, actuators, and computers with cloud communication.
  3. Connect the BRT buses to the Guiyang Big Data infrastructure and then begin building and learning.
  4. Retain existing bus drivers to monitor effectiveness of the developing technologies and provide tertiary manual override in event of technology failures of primary and secondary automation. Also, presence of drivers on the buses is important for customers to feel safe.
  5. Initially it is essential to get “cheaters” under control in the dedicated BRT lane of the #2 Ring Road. Connect the BRT cameras to software that can identify people who break the rules against using the dedicated BRT bus lane for cars. Progressively heavy fines should be used to keep private drivers clear of the bus lane. Fine revenue can also be used to help finance AV research.
  6. When the “bugs” are out of the BRT automated vehicle control system, wealthy drivers should be permitted to retrofit their vehicles with AV equipment. This will allow them to return  to the dedicated bus lane for high speed travel around Guiyang, taking advantage of both the dedicated bus lane and the Big Data controlled transport system.
  7. While Guiyang is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with five million people stacked together on the plateau, wealthy drivers could take advantage of early AV technology to maneuver the city. After using AV on the BRT dedicated lane, they can gradually expand their range of operation to go to and from common destinations, like home and work, etc.
  8. As prices of AV equipment fall, more and more Guiyang people will be able to afford to enter the automated vehicle system as it gradually expands from the #2 Ring Road into the general streets and alleys of Guiyang.
  9. Companies that cooperate with Guiyang early in development of AV technology will be leaders in the AV industry as it expands.
  10. Guiyang will grow a world class technology community, the Guiyang Tech Village.

See the following links for background:

About Guiyang, Guizhou, and www.TourGuizhou.com
2017 Big Data Expo
Big Data and AV in Guiyang
2017 Expo Announcement
Technical Background

Guizhou is in the News of the Christian Science Monitor

This is an interesting article about  how Guizhou is in the News of the Christian Science Monitor.  Here is the link:

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2017/0622/Poverty-free-China-by-2020-Beijing-says-it-s-possible-but-steepest-climb-ahead

So this is a good story about China pulling itself up with public and private partnerships. The government is selling piglets to people in poverty at attractive prices.  It is a way for people improve their living conditions. I heard a disturbing story about a government program similar to this, where the people who hardly have enough to eat get livestock at attractive prices. So they are actually poorer because they have to feed the pigs in addition to themselves. Then when the pig grows up, it can’t be sold because all the neighbors did the same thing and everybody already has their own pigs. So they slaughter the pigs and eat them. Unfortunately, they can’t eat all the meat right away and have to buy refrigerators . . .

Well this is just one scenario. What we do know is that China has made massive strides in alleviating poverty in the last  30 years and it isn’t resting on it’s laurels. I don’t know if this is a good program or not. We have to wait and see. It is kind of good to see an active government trying to help the people. Let them learn by their experience (mistakes/successes). I can’t criticize.