Robots


New York City will have a self-driving shuttle — but there's a catch

Mashable

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is getting an autonomous boost. On private roads, a loop shuttle service for ferry passengers will bring riders to the industrial center where 400 businesses operate. Workers can ride in MIT-based company Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttle cars starting later this year. The driverless trips will be part of the first commercial self-driving program in the state. New York and New York City in particular have been hesitant in embracing autonomous technology.


'We apologise for the inconvenience': How MySpace deleted everything uploaded to site between 2003 and 2015

The Independent

Once the most popular website on the planet, MySpace saw its dawdling decline come crashing to a conclusion on Monday, after it admitted that 50 million songs from 14 million artists over 12 years had been wiped from its platform. MySpace may have lost its battle with Facebook to be the world's most popular social network years ago – with Mark Zuckerberg's creation now holding a near-monopoly over its rivals – but MySpace had since pivoted to be a place for musicians to share and promote their work. It helped launch a generation of performers, including Lily Allen and the Arctic Monkeys, but MySpace has now told its users that any music saved to its site between 2003 and 2015 would be impossible to recover. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.


Germany Risks U.S. Backlash If It Hires Chinese Company Huawei For 5G Tech

NPR

Tomorrow, Germany begins auctioning frequencies to build 5G mobile networks. It is both a highly technical event and the center of a geopolitical storm. Like much of Europe, Germany is squeezed between its economic ties to China and its longtime alliance with the U.S. NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports from Berlin. COMPUTER-GENERATED VOICE: To keep your estimated arrival time... JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: 5G will not just allow you to download movies in seconds on your smartphone. Since it's supposed to be up to 1,000 times faster than current mobile speeds, it can handle communication for self-driving cars, for example.


1 Year After Uber's Fatal Crash, Robocars Carry On Quietly

WIRED

In America, 2018 was supposed to be a very big year for self-driving cars. Uber quietly prepped to launch a robo-taxi service. Waymo said riders would be able to catch a driverless ride by year's end. General Motors' Cruise said it would start testing in New York City, the country's traffic chaos capital. Congress was poised to pass legislation that would set broad outlines for federal regulation of the tech.


Robots Will Help Spectators at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Last week, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games organizing committee announced the launch of the "Tokyo 2020 Robot Project." The project will involve the deployment of an assortment of robots to do useful things for visitors at the games, but so far, we've just seen specific details about two: Toyota's Human Support Robot (HSR) and Delivery Support Robot (DSR). These robots are supposed to be part of a "practical real-life deployment helping people," and the idea is that HSR and DSR will work together to assist disabled visitors, showing them to their seats and fetching food or other items that can be ordered with a tablet. The Toyota HSR is a mobile manipulator, able to move around and pick stuff up. It can do all kinds of things, provided that you can program it to do all of those things, which is not easy, especially if it's supposed to operate autonomously in an Olympic venue rather than a robotics lab.


Donald Trump is reportedly terrified of self-driving cars

Mashable

If there's one thing Donald Trump is good at it's stoking the fear of the unknown. And he's now extended that to being scared of driverless cars, according to a story from Axios. Jonathan Swan and Joann Muller walk us through several things Trump has apparently said about self-driving cars -- and none of them are good. "Can you imagine, you're sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zig-zagging around the corner and you can't stop the f---ing thing?" Self-driving cars "will never work."


#282: A Social Robot Companion for Older Adults, with Dor Skuler

Robohub

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Dor Skuler, CEO and co-founder of Intuition Robotics, about a socially assistive robot for older adults named ElliQ. Skuler discusses the motivation for ElliQ, how it infers context and changes its behavior accordingly, and how ElliQ adapts its behavior over time. Below is a video that shows what interactions with ElliQ look like. Dor Skuler has co-founded five ventures, the most recent being Intuition Robotics. Skuler holds an MBA and Master's of Science in Marketing from Temple University, has co-authored'Cloud Computing: Business Trends and Technologies' published by Wiley in 2016 and holds board level advisory and director roles for several telecoms, cyber security and tech-led social impact ventures.


Kroger ends its unmanned-vehicle grocery delivery pilot program in Arizona

USATODAY

Nuro has partnered with Fry's Food Stores to utilize its autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries in Scottsdale. Supermarket giant Kroger said it soon will end a pilot program in which more than 2,000 grocery deliveries were made in self-driving vehicles from a store in Scottsdale, Arizona. The program, launched last August, featured deliveries in autonomous vehicles from robotics company Nuro from the Kroger-owned Fry's store at 7770 E. McDowell Road for customers in ZIP code 85257. The companies described it as the nation's first program featuring deliveries to the general public from fully unmanned vehicles. Wednesday will mark the final day of deliveries.


Shrimp-inspired robot claw could punch through rock

Engadget

Shrimp may be small, but some of them can pack quite a wallop. One of the pistol shrimp's claws, for instance, delivers such an explosive amount of force that it creates a shockwave of superhot plasma that can take out prey or create impromptu shelters. It only makes sense, then, that scientists hope to harness that power. A team has developed a robot claw that mimics the pistol shrimp's basic behavior to generate plasma and, potentially a valuable tool for underwater science and industry. The researchers started by creating a 3D-printed replica of the shrimp's claw, which includes a top half that cocks back like a gun, and a plunger that smacks into a socket in the bottom half.


Robot brain teaches machines to pick up objects they haven't seen before

Engadget

MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a new system that gives robots the power to pick up and handle any object, even those they haven't seen before. Despite how smart machines have become, most factory robots still need to be preprogrammed with the objects they're going to handle -- that's why roboticists are taking it upon themselves develop technologies that can teach themselves how to manipulate various items. CSAIL's system called kPAM works by creating visual roadmaps of objects by seeing them as collections of 3D keypoints. CSAIL says kPAM or Keypoint Affordance Manipulation is more accurate than other similar technologies. After it detects all the coordinates on an object, it determines what it can do with it.