Robots


Apple reveals first details of its driverless car system

Daily Mail

While Apple hasn't hid its self-driving car ambitions, until now, little has been known about the mysterious project. But now, computer scientists at the firm have posted a paper online, shedding light on how the self-driving cars could work. The paper reveals that Apple's self-driving cars can better spot cyclists and pedestrians using laser sensors, in a new software approach called'VoxelNet.' While Apple hasn't hid its self-driving car ambitions, until now, little has been known about the mysterious project. Self-driving cars often use a combination of normal two-dimensional cameras and depth-sensing'LiDAR' units to recognize the world around them.


Tech-savvy Chinese farmers use drones to spray pesticide

Daily Mail

Farmers in China have caught up with the country's booming drone trend and started using unmanned aircraft to spray pesticide onto the fields. Not only that, a team of villagers in central China recently bought 30 of these bug-zapping vehicles in hope of turning it into a new business. Zhu Xiwang and his neighbours said they hoped their squad of agri-drones to could help them start a pest-killing service, according to Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to People's Daily Online. This £24.8K flat pack folding home takes just SIX HOURS to build Pictures show the 30 drones lining up on a field, ready to take off. The unmanned aircraft, known by its model name MG-1S, is produced by Shenzhen-based Da Jiang Innovation, one of the largest drone manufacturers in China.


2017 Baidu World Conference: Baidu Brings AI to Life

#artificialintelligence

BEIJING, Nov. 16, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) held its annual conference "Baidu World" in Beijing today with the theme "Bring AI to Life", highlighting Baidu's efforts to bring artificial intelligence (AI) to everyday life and expand products and services empowered with intelligent technology to better understand and serve users. "Many people think that the world will become more and more complicated. With the arrival of the AI era, Baidu believes that we can bring changes to everything through technology," said Robin Li, Baidu's Chairman and CEO. "Baidu hopes to use AI technologies to make a complex world simper, because today, Baidu knows you better than you know yourself." During the Baidu World morning keynotes, Baidu released Mobile Baidu 10.0, the latest iteration of its flagship mobile search app, and its first AI-powered hardware, the Raven series.


AI won't peak at human intelligence

#artificialintelligence

Over the past few years, AI has dominated news cycles and captured the imagination of entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers alike. We can see the potential: self-driving transportation on-demand, robotic assistants in the home, and Amazon Echo version 14.0 to do things the human mind could never even contemplate. That future isn't far off -- a decade or so, maybe. But as much as we talk and read about AI, many of us still think about it in the wrong way. People compare artificial intelligence to human intelligence too much and often see human intellect as the end goal for AI.


Samsung plans new research center to keep pace in the AI wars

Engadget

Samsung, jumping on a trend adopted by pretty much every tech outfit, is creating its own consumer-focused artificial intelligence research center. In a fairly vague statement released today, the company announced its plans to more thoroughly pursue AI endeavors with a dedicated project within its mobile and consumer electronics businesses, although it didn't say where the center will be located. Earlier this year the company made its AI intentions known when it opened a lab in Canada focusing on self-driving cars and image recognition. However, this latest announcement comes buried in a wider statement revealing minor changes to the role of Samsung's chief strategy officer Young Sohn, which has been expanded to explore new business opportunities -- a move designed to "quickly respond to market changes", according to the company. Samsung has a habit of getting ahead of itself, announcing its ambitions before it's close to creating a tangible output (see its ambiguous plans for a folding smartphone and Bixby's roll-out fiasco) so what will come of the company's AI research plans remains to be seen -- at least it's finally establishing itself in the AI club other tech players joined long ago.


UPS is trialling electric bike trailers in London

Engadget

In a bid to lower emissions in the capital and reduce the footprint of its vehicles on the road, global delivery firm UPS has begun trialling a new electric-powered bike trailer on the streets of London. The concept, built as part of the Low Impact City Logistics project, attaches to the back of a pedal cycle and utilises a "net-neutral" technology. This then allows couriers to transport up to 200 kilograms without requiring any additional effort on their part. The project was formalised following a pitch process back in 2016. Innovate UK, the quango behind numerous self-driving car projects across Britain, stumped up £10 million for a new collaborative research and development project and five organizations answered the call.


To See the Future of Cities, Watch the Curb

WIRED

When Greg Rogers left his gig as a Washington, DC, lobbyist in 2015, he did what any savvy, mid-20s kid with a car and a light wallet might: He signed up to drive for a couple of ridehailing services. "Living the millennial dream means quitting your job, driving for Uber and Lyft, and trying to figure it out," he says. "It was always the same dance," says Rogers, now a policy analyst with the Eno Center for Transportation, a think tank. "I wouldn't be able to see the passengers, and couldn't find a place to park safely. So I did what a lot of Uber drivers did: I threw on the hazard lights and blocked a lane."


Budget 2017: Philip Hammond to spend hundreds of millions to make cars drive themselves

The Independent

The Government is to spend hundreds of millions of pounds encouraging people to make electric cars that drive themselves. It will spend huge amounts of money to try and incentivise electric vehicles. Then eventually those cars will start driving themselves around the country – with Chancellor Philip Hammond backing a plan to have them making their own way by 2021. Jeremy Corbyn used the news about driverless vehicles to joke about having tested "backseat driving" in the Government, which has been bitterly divided before the Budget. Mr Hammond said the technology was being introduced because the Government saw it as the future.


Apple research gives a peek at its self-driving car plans

Engadget

Apply, which has been famously tight-lipped on its self-driving vehicle research, has posted what looks like its first public research on the subject, notes Reuters. The paper is listed on the public site Arxiv, often used by researchers to get preliminary feedback before publishing in a final form. The report describes a new way to use LiDAR called VoxelNet. That would make it easier for autonomous cars to not just spot the location of objects, but determine critical information like whether they're pedestrians or cyclists. While the scientific part of the paper is interesting, the most surprising part about it is that it exists at all.


Q&A: Famed economist Henry Kaufman says robots are 'greatest challenge' to workers

USATODAY

The S&P 500 is up 21% since Election Day. Henry Kaufman, 90, the renowned economist, former managing director at Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers and author of Tectonic Shifts In Financial Markets, shared his views with USA TODAY on the future of the American worker, tax cuts and the middle class, the retirement savings crisis and the risks facing computer-driven markets. Kaufman is president of Henry Kaufman & Company, an economic and financial consulting firm established in 1988. USA TODAY: Robots are invading the workplace. Is technology a threat to middle-class workers? KAUFMAN: The greatest challenge that workers face and we as a society face is that labor over a longer period of time will become more and more obsolete.