Robots


MIT uses 4D maps to help robot teams navigate moving obstacles

PCWorld

It's one thing to keep robots from crashing into fixed obstacles like walls or furniture, but preventing collisions with other moving things is a much tougher challenge. Targeting teams of robots working together, MIT on Thursday announced a new algorithm that helps robots avoid moving objects. Planning algorithms for robot teams can be centralized, in which a single computer makes decisions for the whole team, or decentralized, in which each robot makes its own decisions. The latter approach is much better in terms of incorporating local observations, but it's also much trickier, since each robot must essentially guess what the others are going to do. MIT's new algorithm takes a decentralized approach and factors in not just stationary obstacles but also moving ones.


In 5 years, driverless cars based on Israel's Mobileye tech - Business & Innovation - Jerusalem Post

#artificialintelligence

In Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1990 sci-fi classic Total Recall, the protagonist gets into a heated argument with a self-driving cab, driven by an artificial intelligence- challenged automaton. The film takes place in 2084 on Mars. But fully autonomous cars will be a reality right here on Earth by 2021. Their company is best known for inventing a technology to alert drivers to obstacles. Using that proprietary obstacle-sensing sensor system to gather millions of kilometers of driving data, Mobileye is working with many of the world's biggest auto manufacturers to pave the way for self-driving cars and trucks.


Google's parent Alphabet misses profit expectations as moonshot spend soars

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Google's parent company Alphabet saw its revenue grow 17% during the first three months of this year, the company said on Thursday, but spent more money on its experimental moonshot projects, engineers, data centers and YouTube shows, causing it to miss investors' profit expectations. Alphabet shares dropped more than 4% in the US during after-hours trading to about 724 a share. The dilemma illustrates Alphabet's key challenge as it seeks to become the technology firm most omnipresent in consumers lives, including search, email, smartphones, maps, self-driving cars, virtual reality and even cancer research. Alphabet's growth has also attracted attention from regulators. On 20 April, the European Union's antitrust regulators charged the company with using its mobile operating system, Android, to block out competitors.


Driving Artificial Intelligence and Robotics on the Factory Floor

#artificialintelligence

Rodney Brooks wasn't willing in 2002 to hazard a guess about when the challenges of robotics would be overcome. "Not in two years or three years," Brooks asserted during an IndustryWeek interview that year. "But is it going to be here in 30 years or 40 years? I'm not quite prepared [to make a prediction]." Still in a book published then and the interview, he gave us a peek at what it would look like when it arrived: "robots that take instruction easily rather than ones that require hours of programming time; robots that can help in small-batch operations rather than ones that only make financial sense in continuous or nearly continuous fixed operation settings with long runs; robots with social interaction skills;" and robots that reduce costs on the factory floor.


US tanks to test Israeli 'iron dome' system that shoots down incoming missiles

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The US Army and Marine Corps are set to test tanks with a new version of the iron dome' system developed by the Israeli government. The Trophy Active Protection System (APS) uses sensors to detect an anti tank missile is coming. It then fires small rounds to deflect them, and can also use jammers to mislead the enemy. The system is designed to create a protective field around tanks, shooting down incoming missiles before they detonate. The Trophy Active Protection System (APS) uses sensors to detect an anti tank missile is coming.


Building robots and dreams at a high school in Arizona

#artificialintelligence

How do you get high school students to enjoy studying science? How about by giving them the parts to build a robot and then letting them compete against each other to see who builds the best "bot?"


Alphabet's money-losing moonshots take shine off Google's ad business

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google parent Alphabet reported first-quarter earnings that fell short of analyst expectations as growing losses from the tech giant's investments in speculative businesses, from self-driving cars to speedy Internet access, overshadowed Google's booming advertising business. Class A shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) fell 6% after hours to 732. They've rallied 44% in the past 12 months. "Alphabet has made it pretty clear they weren't going to stop their investments in other areas, and they spent a little bit more than some people may have liked," said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis. "You don't necessarily like to see costs and losses growing faster than revenue, but that's where Alphabet's future is going to be." Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, who joined the company last May in a hire investors hoped would curb spending, assured investors that Alphabet is "thoughtfully pursuing big bets."


Google's Parent Company Is Losing Even More Money On Moonshots

WIRED

Google's parent company more than doubled the revenue it generated from its moonshots like its smarthome company Nest, broadband provider Google Fiber, and life sciences division Verily. Unfortunately, Alphabet is also losing more money on those bets. In its second quarter earnings report today, Alphabet said revenue from its so-called "other bets" rose from 80 million last year to 188 million for the same quarter this year. But overall losses devoured that growth and then some, mounting to 802 million from 633 million during the same time last year. That's just one piece of bad news for Alphabet, which missed analyst expectations, sending shares tumbling nearly six percent in afte- hours trading despite 17 percent revenue growth year-over-yeas.


Google's ad business continues to prop up its experimental ventures

Engadget

That's a lot more than those parts of Alphabet lost a year ago, when other bets posted an operating loss of 633 million. But the good news for other bets is that they're at least bringing in more cash than they did a year ago -- revenues of 166 million in the quarter was more than double the 80 million in revenue Google reported a year ago. This is the first time Alphabet has reported quarterly numbers for its other bets companies. Last quarter, the company revealed just how much money the companies lost throughout 2015 as a whole ( 3.6 billion, if you're keeping track). As a refresher, companies under the other bets umbrella include Verily, Google Fiber, Google X, the company's self-driving cars team, the Ventures investment group, Nest, Calico and a number of others.


Drone Security Update: SkySafe Can Disable, Fly Rogue Drones Near Airports, Critical Locations

International Business Times

A new drone security startup claims it can disable or fly rogue drones that get too close to airports, military bases, stadiums or other other sensitive areas. SkySafe is one of several startups looking to stake a claim in the burgeoning drone enforcement industry. Headquartered in San Diego, SkySafe showed off its technology, but offered few details of how it was able to detect, hack into and control a drone in midair. It was speculated that SkySafe uses radio frequencies to take over the unmanned autonomous vehicles. "We fully take control of the drone from the operator, it sees us as the legitimate controller, and we can move it to a safe location and land it," said Grant Jordan, founder of SkySafe, in an interview with the Verge.