Under the artificial glare of street lamps, a car can be seen slowly approaching. A green and blue'W' glows from the windscreen, giving off just enough light to see inside – to a completely empty driver seat. When they open the door to climb inside, a voice greets them over the vehicle's sound system. "Good evening, this car is all yours – with no one upfront," it says. This is a Waymo One robotaxi, hailed just 10 minutes ago using an app.
Bio: Antonio Bicchi is a scientist interested in robotics and intelligent machines. After graduating in Pisa and receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Bologna, he spent a few years at the MIT AI Lab of Cambridge before becoming Professor in Robotics at the University of Pisa. In 2009 he founded the Soft Robotics Laboratory at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa. Since 2013 he is Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. He has coordinated many international projects, including four grants from the European Research Council (ERC).
There is something different about this car, however. Someone is in the driver's seat, but the car is driving itself. This vehicle is part of Uber's self-driving pilot program and is a fleet of vehicles cruising throughout America. Dazed, the driver, who has barely touched the wheel all day, stares into the empty Arizona desert. The driver freaks out; he instantly fears the worst.
That's what Arizona State University retail store manager and mother to three Sophia Lovasz asked her TikTok followers back in April. In a 15-second video we see a driverless Waymo minivan approach before Lovasz hops in and shows that no one is at the wheel. "Ngl it was trippy at first," reads a caption, as the steering wheel moves on its own. The short clip set to "Lottery (Renegade)" by K Camp racked up 1.9 million views. Whatever hashtag it's known by, this is where the far-off concept of self-driving cars is portrayed as an everyday reality thanks to posts from early adopters. Based on the success of her first post, Lovasz -- or @sosobombs -- continued documenting her experience as an early rider using the Alphabet-owned Waymo One robo-taxi service in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind, according to ibm.com. One of the most important technologies of the 21st century, AI is already being used in dozens of processes, including speech recognition, customer service and automated stock trading. And the economic impact of AI promises to be immense. According to a 2018 report by McKinsey Global Institute, AI has the potential to add 16 percent or around $13 trillion to current global economic output by 2030. Needless to say, it is important for young people to learn about AI and take advantage of the economic and career opportunities it creates.
When an Uber autonomous test car killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, in March 2018, it sent alarm bells around the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Walking her bicycle, Herzberg had strayed on to the road, resulting in a fatal collision with the vehicle. While there were other contributory factors in the accident, the incident highlighted a key flaw in the algorithm powering the car. It was not trained to cope with jay-walkers nor could it recognise whether it was dealing with a bicycle or a pedestrian. Confused, it ultimately failed to default quickly to the safety option of slowing the vehicle and potentially saving Herzberg's life.
Intel on Tuesday announced that it's partnering with Dell Technologies to expand its AI for Workforce Program, which helps community colleges develop AI certificates, augment existing courses or launch full AI associate degree programs. With Dell providing technical and infrastructure expertise, the program will expand to 18 schools across 11 states. The program is designed to help students gain the skills they need to fill the growing number of jobs related to AI. Intel helps community colleges develop courses on a range of topics, including data collection, computer vision, AI model training, coding, and the societal impacts and ethics of AI technology. "The next-generation workforce will need skills and training in AI to develop solutions to the world's greatest challenges, and community colleges play a huge role in unleashing innovative thinking," Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement.
Following an online pilot in the fall of 2020 with Maricopa County Community College District, Intel is expanding its AI for Workforce Program to include 18 additional schools in 11 states, including California, New Mexico and Michigan. With the expansion, more than 800,000 students can take part in a curriculum designed by the company, at the end of which they can earn a certificate or associate degree in artificial intelligence. The program includes courses on data collection, computer vision, model training, coding and AI ethics. In addition to designing the curriculum, Intel has provided training and technical advice to the college faculty involved in the program. Dell is also helping with technical and infrastructure expertise.
Editor's note: We first heard from Sophia on social media, where she's been sharing fun videos of her Waymo One rides. We reached out to learn more about what intrigued her about Waymo in the first place and how autonomous driving technology has become a part of her everyday life (and sparked a new passion!). Tell us a little bit about yourself! My name is Sophia, and I live with my husband and 3 children in Tempe, Arizona. I work as a campus store manager at Arizona State University and in the entrepreneurship community as a venture mentor.
Nuro's driverless bots are delivering FedEx packages in a city that already has autonomous pizza delivery. In Houston, Nuro's steering wheel-less delivery vehicles have been working alongside FedEx's traditional human-driven delivery fleet since April. The pilot program was first announced Tuesday, with plans to expand from testing to a bigger, more established deployment. Eventually the bot-delivered packages could reach other cities. Nuro wouldn't disclose how many Nuro delivery bots are roaming around several Houston ZIP codes, but the testing is part of FedEx's "last-mile" plans for home delivery.