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Information Systems Professor Receives $190K Grant to Improve Self-Driving Cars - AfroTech

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Trailblazing information systems professor, Siobahn Day Grady, Ph.D., is a Black tech unicorn you should know about. Not only is she the first woman to receive a doctorate degree in the field of computer science -- according to North Carolina Central University -- from North Carolina A&T State University in 2018, but she also recently received a $190,000 grant to conduct research to improve self-driving cars. Grady received the grant from the National Science Foundation's Historically Black Colleges and Excellence in Research program and plans to use the funds to research and identify issues with self-driving cars. "This research is very timely and relevant; it's the future," Grady said, according to North Carolina Central University. "I'm excited to contribute to the field as well as provide research opportunities to students."


Take a deep dive into AI with this $35 training bundle

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It's not an exaggeration to say that when it comes to the future of human progress, nothing is more important than Artificial Intelligence (AI). Although often thought to only be associated with everyday entities such as self-driving cars and Google search rankings, AI is in fact the driving force behind virtually every major and minor technology that's bringing people together and solving humanity's problems. You'd be hard-pressed to find an industry that hasn't embraced AI in some shape or form, and our reliance on this field is only going to grow in the coming years--as microchips become more powerful and quantum computing begins to be more accessible. So it should go without saying that if you're truly interested in staying ahead of the curve in an AI-driven world, you're going to have to have at least a baseline understanding of the methodologies, programming languages, and platforms that are used by AI professionals around the world. This can be an understandably intimidating reality for anyone who doesn't already have years of experience in tech or programming, but the good news is that you can master the basics and even some of the more advanced elements of AI and all of its various implications without spending an obscene amount of time or money on a traditional education.


These driverless cars in Shanghai form the world's first 'robotaxi' fleet

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While Didi is the first ride-hailing company to roll out a robotaxi service in Shanghai, a few companies launched similar services in other Chinese cities earlier this year. Tech giant Baidu introduced 45 of its robotaxis in the central city of Changsha in March, and Momenta, a startup backed by Baidu rival Tencent, has announced plans for a robotaxi test run in Beijing this fall.


This Drone Maker Is Swooping In Amid US Pushback Against DJI

WIRED

These being pandemic times, a recent visit to the Silicon Valley offices of drone startup Skydio involved slipping past dumpsters into the deserted yard behind the company's loading dock. Moments later, a black quadcopter eased out of the large open door sounding like a large and determined wasp. Skydio is best known for its "selfie drones," which use onboard artificial intelligence to automatically follow and film a person, whether they're running through a forest or backcountry skiing. The most recent model, released last fall, costs $999. The larger and more severe-looking machine that greeted WIRED has similar autonomous flying skills but aims to expand the startup's technology beyond selfies into business and government work, including the military.


Hardware enabling Artificial Intelligence Revolution – Panel at TiEcon

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From virtual doctors to hassle free data maintenance to driverless cars and robotic surgeries, artificial intelligence (AI) has been transforming the way we live, work, learn, and conduct business. But it is only now, as powerful GPUs have become available to train networks, that the technology has become more practical and it's use more strategic. At Road to TiEcon event on July 22, an exciting panel of senior leaders across a range of industries, will discuss how hardware is enabling the AI revolution. This will be an exciting panel. The algorithmic superiority of certain complex functions comes only with high computation and memory and this requirement poses significant challenges to the hardware platforms required to execute these functions.


Incredibly malleable robot arm snakes towards a future of very versatile technology

Mashable

Researchers from Imperial College London's REDS lab have created a robotic arm that is extremely flexible. The inside of the arm is layered with flaps of mylar sheets allowing the user to bend and adjust the shape of the arm as needed.


UiPath raises $225 million to automate repetitive back-office tasks

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Robotic process automation startup UiPath today announced it has closed a $225 million funding round, bringing its total raised to over $1.2 billion. While the new round is roughly half the $568 million UiPath raised last April, it catapults the New York-based company's post-money valuation to $10.2 billion, up from $7 billion in 2019 and $3 billion in 2018. CEO Daniel Dines says the funding will be used to scale UiPath's platform and deepen its investments in "AI-powered innovation" as it expands its cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. The round will also likely lay the groundwork for future strategic deals, following UiPath's acquisition of startups StepShot and ProcessGold last October. RPA -- technology that automates monotonous, repetitive chores traditionally performed by human workers -- is big business.


MIT researchers create robotic gripper that can untangle thin cables

Engadget

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a robotic gripper with the dexterity to handle thin objects like ropes and cables, the university announced. The technology could one day be used by robots to perform household tasks such as folding clothes, or for more technical purposes like wire shaping. Humans can find it challenging to manipulate thin flexible objects, and doing so can be "nearly impossible" for robots, MIT spokeswoman Rachel Gordon said in an email. The standard approach had been for robots to use "a series of slow and incremental deformations," plus mechanical fixtures, to handle these objects. MIT researchers approached the problem from a different angle, building a two-fingered gripper that's meant to more closely resemble human fingers. The fingers are outfitted with high resolution tactile sensors, known as "GelSight" sensors, made of soft rubber with embedded cameras and mounted on a movable robot arm.


The Intersection Between Self-Driving Cars and Electric Cars

WIRED

Cars have not been good for the environment, to put it lightly. Someday, self-driving cars will appear widely in the US. Wouldn't it be nice if they also helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Trouble is, making an electric car self-driving requires tradeoffs. Electric vehicles have limited range, and the first self-driving cars are expected to be deployed as roving bands of robotaxis, traveling hundreds of miles each day.


The 10 Best AI And Data Science Undergraduate Courses For 2021

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Artificial Intelligence is the hottest topic in technology and commerce today, and the field of data science is fundamental to how it works. Courses in data science all now contain a strong AI presence, and a few institutions are already offering specialized undergraduate degrees in AI. The increasing number of colleges and universities offering courses in these subjects indicates industry-wide expectations that there will be a world of rewarding opportunities for those with formal training and accreditation. Well, according to Glassdoor.com the average salary last year for a data scientist stood at $107,000. So, it's certainly a career worth considering if earning a good starting wage is on your list of priorities!