Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. Agility Robotics had a good week. Cassie had a meet-and-greet with a four-legged friend during one of our visits to Playground.
This week, a self-driving Volvo owned by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. We won't know the exact details of what happened until much later once Uber, the local police, and the federal government have completed their investigations. But the tragedy has opened up many questions about how self-driving car technology works, and particularly how well these robotic cars can see what's happening around them. Alex Davies and Aarian Marshall from WIRED's transportation desk join us this week to talk about autonomous vehicle safety, Lidar, street design, and the human component. The crash comes at a time when pedestrian deaths are spiking.
Herzberg's death occurs at time when eagerness to put autonomous vehicles on public roads is accelerating in Silicon Valley, the auto industry and state and federal governments. More than 100 auto manufacturers and industry associations in early March sent a letter urging Congress to expedite passage of a proposal from Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, that aims to provide regulatory oversight and make it easier to deploy the technology.
The Robotics Summit and Showcase is just a couple months away. Find out all about our agenda here and register by April 20 for a 20% discount to learn from the best in the robotics industry. Affectiva Automotive AI hopes to improve driver safety. Artificial intelligence (AI), to date, has helped autonomous vehicles mainly by monitoring the world around them. As we learned from the fatal Uber self-driving car crash, unfortunately, the technology is not perfect.
This week, China gave tech company Baidu, Inc., which wants to be known as China's version of Google, the go-ahead to start autonomous driving tests in Beijing's suburbs, according to Reuters. China is looking to compete with other countries with self-driving technology, so this is an important move that indicates support for the technology at a somewhat contentious time. This green light comes on the heels of the first fatal accident involving a self-driving car in the United States. An Uber vehicle using autonomous technology (but with a human operator in the car) struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, AZ, earlier this month. That investigation is still ongoing, and it's unclear what ramifications it might have for self-driving technology as a whole in the US.
If you've spent enough time with the people building self-driving cars, you'll know they've seen this coming for a while. No matter how good the tech, no matter how much better than humans it might be--eventually, everyone agreed, someone would be killed. Still, when a self-driving Uber struck and killed a 49-year-old woman named Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, it felt awful. Video released by the Tempe Police Department this week doesn't tell the whole story, but indicates something went wrong with Uber's tech. And it raises a whole lot of fresh questions.
Here's the strange thing about where I live: When I walk outside my office, down to busy, honk-filled four-lane road that runs by it, I'm immediately part of a wide scale science experiment. A lot of us are, here in San Francisco, in metro Phoenix, Arizona, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We didn't sign any forms or cast any votes, but here we are, in a living lab for self-driving tech. One day, maybe crossing the street on foot at night won't feeling like taking your life into your hands. This really could be the way to stop the deaths of 40,000 people on US roads every year.
On the roads, the autonomous age is moving from the future into the present. Cars that can drive themselves have already logged millions of miles, but with a driver poised to take over if needed. Waymo, a branch of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is offering commuters in Phoenix the ability to hail a Chrysler minivan without anyone behind the wheel. Audi expects to begin selling a version of its A8 sedan that can take over completely in traffic jams and similar situations. And next year, General Motors Co. has promised to put robot taxis into service.
From chatbots to autonomous cars, more widespread implementation of Artificial Intelligence applications is transforming industry and society, bringing benefits such as increased efficiencies, new products and fewer repetitive tasks. AI technologies are projected to boost corporate profitability in 16 industries across 12 economies by an average of 38% by 2035. However, the introduction of such innovative technology also brings new challenges. This paper identifies some of the emerging risk issues around the growing implementation of AI and examines possible future implications of so-called "strong" AI, outlining potential benefits and areas of concern. It also considers the transformative impact of AI on the insurance industry.
An Uber Technologies self-driving test vehicle like the one that hit a pedestrian in Arizona on Sunday night. SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the country's top self-driving car experts says that a recently released dashcam video suggests a failure of technology is at issue in the fatal Uber self-driving car incident that killed an Arizona woman. "The car's LiDAR (light ranging and detection laser system) should have picked the pedestrian up far before it hit her," says Raj Rajkumar, who leads the autonomous vehicle research team at Carnegie Mellon University. "Clearly there's a problem, because the radar also should have picked her up throughout, she was moving," he says. "Maybe it's the sensors not working correctly or the hardware that processes it, or the software."