Robots


$2 million competition aims to make jetpacks a reality by 2019

Popular Science

While the laws of aerodynamics and engineering drove planes into long aluminum tubes with wings, fiction maintained the dream of a personal flying tool that people could strap to their back, ride through the air, and then arrive intact and on-time at work. For the first phase, teams will submit a written report by April 18, 2018 and a preliminary design, with 10 winners selected for a $20,000 prize each. The four best entries from phase two will earn each winning teams $50,000. Importantly, teams don't have to win in Phase I to be eligible for Phase II, and don't have to win in Phase II to be eligible to compete in Phase III.


Watch: Dubai Tests Flying Taxi Drone For Future Ride-Hailing Service

International Business Times

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority announced it successfully tested autonomous taxi drones in the city. Volocopter, the German company that built the flying drones, said this week's test is the "first-ever public flight of an autonomous urban air taxi." Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority announced the flying drones at the 2017 World Government Summit in February. The drone taxi is powered by 18 rotors and includes an "intelligent autonomous control system," said Volocopter.


GPS spoofing makes ships in Russian waters think they're on land

USATODAY

Researchers are calling these "mass GPS interferences" and they appear to be linked to the intentional transmission of false GPS signals to provide incorrect time or location information, possibly to veil certain facilities from attack. Putin has long been rumored to have a lavish secret estate on the Black Sea coast near Gelendzhik, where researchers found one instance of GPS spoofing. The report's authors initially started to examine instances of GPS misdirection after a vessel master in the Black Sea reported his GPS showing him to be at the Gelendzhik airport, in southern Russia, about 25 miles from his real location, said Dana Goward, president of the non-profit Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation. The authors of the report found three specific instances of GPS spoofing in which ships' GPS-based navigation systems told them they were many miles from their location: at Russia's Gelendzhik Airport and Sochi International Airport near the Black Sea and St. Petersburg Airport near the North Sea.


Drone With Event Camera Takes First Autonomous Flight

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

A few years ago, Davide Scaramuzza's lab at the University of Zurich introduced us to the usefulness of a kind of dynamic vision sensor called an event camera. But as soon as the camera detects motion (pixel-level light changes, to be specific), it'll show you just that motion on a per-pixel basis and at a very high (millisecond) refresh rate. Furthermore, we use our pipeline to demonstrate--to the best of our knowledge--the first autonomous quadrotor flight using an event camera for state estimation, unlocking flight scenarios that were not reachable with traditional visual inertial odometry, such as low-light environments and high dynamic range scenes: we demonstrate how we can even fly in low light (such as after switching completely off the light in a room) or scenes characterized by a very high dynamic range (one side of the room highly illuminated and another side of the room dark). In order to detect relative motion for accurate state estimation, the quadrotor's cameras try to identify unique image features and track how those features move.


Review: A New Exhibition Shows That Humanoid Robots Have Been Around Longer Than You Think

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

The humanoid creations on display at the Science Museum include a creepy animatronic baby. Unlike earlier automata that were essentially wind-up toys with preprogrammed motions, robots of the 21st century are learning to sense human expression and movement, and to respond in useful ways. Among those on view here are RoboThespian, the first full-size humanoid to be commercialized (IEEE Spectrum covered its theatrical debut in New York City in 2015); Hiroshi Ishiguro's Kodomoroid, a female humanoid robot "employed" as a television newsreader; Rethink Robotics' Baxter, a dual-armed industrial robot with a virtual face designed to fit into a human factory workspace (and another Spectrum favorite); the Shadow Dexterous Hand, which replicates the movement of a human hand; and several childlike humanoids designed to help children with learning and social deficits. In his 1965 preface to the science fiction collection The Pseudo-People: Androids in Science Fiction, William F. Nolan called humanoid robots an inevitable development: "The android will duplicate the human form as nearly as possible; synthetic flesh will cover a body and brain made up of superbly designed electronic components."


The 6 levels of autonomous driving: Autoweek Explains

#artificialintelligence

This is when a driver is in control of either steering or acceleration/deceleration using information about the driving environment, with the expectation that the human driver performs all remaining aspects of the dynamic driving task. This level is when a "driving mode" controls both the steering and acceleration/deceleration, but the human driver "performs all remaining aspects of the dynamic driving task." It controls the acceleration, braking and steering but expects that the human in control "will respond appropriately to a request to intervene." The company aims to start testing its electric truck prototypes with autonomous ... Level 4 means that the system controls all aspects of the driving tasks, including when a driver doesn't respond appropriately to requests to intervene.


Driverless tractors and drones grow crops in Shropshire

Daily Mail

The project, called hands Free Hectare, began with autonomous tractors drilling channels to precise depths for the barley seeds to be planted. The project, called hands Free Hectare, began with autonomous tractors drilling channels to precise depths for the barley seeds to be planted. Pictured is the team's partly-autonomous tractor spraying chemicals on the crops An automated combine harvester then harvested the field of spring barley. Pictured is the team's partly-autonomous tractor drilling into the soil before planting The team are using small-scale machinery and adapting it in the university's engineering labs to make it work autonomously - seen here using drone footage from above


Dubai's autonomous flying taxi has finally taken to the sky

Mashable

Dubai's autonomous flying taxis have finally been cleared for takeoff. The self-styled "Future City" just held the first test flight for its autonomous aerial taxi (AAT) service, showing off the craft that will ferry passengers around the city for what the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) is calling the world's first self-flying taxi service. There were no passengers in the craft for the trial flight, which was attended by the city's transportation authorities and Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. The trial flight is the first step in a proposed five-year collaboration between the the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to establish a suitable framework for the taxi service.


Bosch details its work on present and future self-driving cars

Engadget

There are so many companies working on different pieces of the self-driving puzzle, it's hard to keep track of all the partnerships and small developments that are pushing us ever closer to kicking back in a fully autonomous vehicle. Naturally then, given its industry experience, Bosch is working on self-driving technologies of its own, recently heading to London's Somerset House to show off some of the things it's doing right now, as well as what it might do in the future. The showcase in London featured a few more tangible developments. The most visually striking exhibit at the event was Bosch's concept car, which featured an almost entirely screen-covered dashboard.


Supercharge healthcare with artificial intelligence

#artificialintelligence

Pattern-recognition algorithms can transform horses into zebras; winter scenes can become summer; artificial intelligence algorithms can generate art; robot radiologists can analyze your X-rays with remarkable precision. Artificial intelligence began with the Turing Test, proposed in 1950 by Alan Turing, the scientist, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. The LISP language emerged out of the 1980s, with natural networks integrating with autonomous vehicles. Innovation was further inspired in 2004 when DARPA hosted the first design competition for autonomous vehicles in the commercial sector.