Infrastructure & Services

Virtual replacement for traffic lights given green light for pilot tests


In what is potentially a world-first, researchers have launched a pilot program which replaces physical traffic light systems with virtual alternatives. Traffic light systems often play a crucial role in traffic flow. When road systems are organized effectively, they can provide a way to increase the efficiency of travel. However, in poorly-managed setups, traffic lights may leave drivers cursing at the wheel behind a red light on a deserted road or may also cause huge traffic jams. Love or hate them, for many road systems worldwide, they are necessary -- but this does not mean they cannot be improved.

Alphabet's Loon and Wing are now more than just 'projects'


Google parent company Alphabet's internet-delivering balloon service and its drone delivery project have graduated from X programs to full-fledged businesses at Alphabet. From here, Alphabet says that Loon will maintain its mission of working with carriers worldwide to deliver internet to underserved areas. Wing will similarly continue building out its network of delivery UAVs, not to mention its air-traffic control system for the unmanned aircraft. And since the companies are their own entities now, they each have an official leader. Alastair Westgarth will serve as CEO of Loon, while James Ryan Burgess will fill the same role at Wing.

This ridiculously cute robot will carry your luggage at the airport


We've all overpacked before a flight, which means we've all had to haul that bulging suitcase through the airport while attempting to find our gate. But if KLM Royal Dutch Airways has its way, you'll be able to give those weary arms a break -- all thanks to robotics. The Care-E is a self-driving trolley packed with autonomous technology and artificial intelligence. The airline will be conducting two-day trials at both JFK and SFO this summer. The airline was planning to demo the Care-E at an event in Brooklyn today, but cancelled the event at the last minute (about 12 hours before it was set to take place).

Robot driven by artificial intelligence was created in Kerala


Kochi: Rada runs around in Indira Gandhi International Airport, IGIA, in Delhi, answering hunderds of questions that travellers are asking.

Qantas passengers to trial facial recognition tech at Sydney Airport


Some passengers travelling internationally via Qantas will be trialling biometric technology at Sydney Airport, with the first stage using facial recognition for them to complete automated flight check-in and bag drop, gain access to the lounge, and board the plane itself. Additional steps proposed for future trials include mobile check-in and automated border processing, allowing passengers to use their face as their access identification. As the launch partner for the trial, Qantas worked with the airport "from the outset", with Qantas chief customer officer Vanessa Hudson noting the airline is focused on increasing the use of technology to drive innovation for customers. "There is an increasing need for airlines and airports to offer faster and more convenient airport experiences and we're excited to see what results the trial produces," she added. Sydney Airport said consent is actively sought from all passengers and the "strictest level of privacy" is adhered to on behalf of those participating in the trial.

Softbank, Baidu units tie up to bring autonomous buses to Japan

The Japan Times

A subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and a Japan unit of China's internet search giant Baidu Inc. said Wednesday they have tied up to tap into the Japanese self-driving bus market. Under the agreement, 10 electric minibuses, called Apolong, developed by Baidu and China's Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., will be shipped to Japan by early next year. The Softbank subsidiary, SB Drive Corp., said they aim to introduce the buses on Japanese public roads and plan to carry out technology demonstration experiments in the current fiscal year ending next March. SB Drive, set up in April 2016, has already been testing self-driving buses in Japan. The Japanese company last year conducted government-sponsored tests in Okinawa.

Applications open for startAD's AI Venture Launchpad inaugural


Open to seed stage AI and Internet of Things (IoT) startups from the UAE and around the globe, the AI Venture Launchpad is a 10-day sprint accelerator that helps participants develop a scalable, repeatable, and capital efficient venture. Teams disrupting industries in financial technology (FinTech), insurance technology (InsurTech), regulatory technology (RegTech), airport operations, predictive maintenance, fuel efficiency, and enterprise solutions through AI with Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics, Search, and Data Analytics are encouraged to apply. This accelerator is an opportunity for global startups to enter the UAE market and attract potential investments from key players in the region. Launching on September 30, the program is held in partnership with Etihad Aviation Group, a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising of five business divisions – Etihad Airways, Etihad Airways Engineering, Etihad Airport Services, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners; UAE Exchange, the leading global Money Transfer, Foreign Exchange and payment solutions brand; and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi. The Artificial Intelligence Venture Launchpad will comprise a series of training and mentorship sessions, investor roundtables, pitches, interviews, local customer discovery, and validation activities.

Modern artificial intelligence: algorithms through analytics


Artificial intelligence is on everyone's lips and everyone's mind. I travel the world and speak to customers, colleagues, industry analysts, partners, and reporters. Invariably, every conversation these days turns at some point to AI: the opportunities, the threats, the limitations, and the future. AI systems have been around since the 1950s. After overhyped expectations could not be met, the first AI winter set in, briefly thawed with successes of rule-based expert systems in the 1980s.

Accelerator seeks to attract AI startups


StartAD, the innovation and entrepreneurship platform anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, has opened applications for its inaugural Artificial Intelligence (AI) Venture Launchpad. Open to seed stage AI and Internet of Things (IoT) startups from the UAE and around the globe, the AI Venture Launchpad is a 10-day sprint accelerator that helps participants develop a scalable, repeatable and capital efficient venture. Teams disrupting industries in financial technology, insurance technology, regulatory technology, airport operations, predictive maintenance, fuel efficiency and enterprise solutions through AI with natural language processing, machine learning, predictive analytics, search and data analytics are encouraged to apply. This accelerator is an opportunity for global startups to enter the UAE market and attract potential investments from key players in the region. Applications close on August 30.

This Week's Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through June 23)


What It's Like to Watch an IBM AI Successfully Debate Humans Dieter Bohn The Verge "It looks like a huge leap beyond that other splashy demonstration we all remember from IBM when Watson mopped the floor with its competition at Jeopardy. The Mission to Build the Ultimate Burger Bot Lauren Smiley Wired "This summer, [Momentum Machines' Alex Vardakostas is] opening the doors to a San Francisco restaurant called Creator and unveiling his gleaming burger bot--a surprisingly beautiful copper and wood machine, its spotless glass chutes stacked with vivid towers of tomato, onion, lettuce, and pickle." Flying Dragon Robot Transforms Itself to Squeeze Through Gaps Evan Ackerman IEEE Spectrum "[DRAGON] is a modular flying robot powered by ducted fans that can transform literally on the fly, from a square to a snake to anything in between, allowing it to stretch out to pass through small holes and then make whatever other shape you want once it's on the other side." Five Ways You Can Already Become a Cyborg, One Body Part at a Time Rachel Metz MIT Technology Review "We've put together a list to introduce you to some of the most interesting products that can help you upgrade yourself from head to toe--whether you're interested in serious biohacking or just want to check out some cool wearable tech." The US May Soon Have the World's First Space Force Dan Robitzski Futurism "Some in the military have argued that future conflicts may happen off-world, and without a special program committed to readying the US for such a conflict, it may be 50 years before the country is ready.