Nissan's self-driving taxi is ready for passengers

Engadget

Nissan will start testing its self-driving taxi service Easy Ride in a few days in hopes of launching it in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The automaker and Tokyo-based mobile developer DeNA will begin ferrying passengers in Yokohama on March 5th. Nissan's autonomous cars will only be able to drive them along a set route, a 2.8-mile-long stretch of road between Nissan's HQ and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center. But they'll at least be able to give the Easy Ride app's features a try during their trip.


Toyota fetches new way to use AI, self-drive tech in Tokyo Games - Reuters

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Miniature remote controlled cars have proved to be a crowd pleaser at track and field throwing events, but for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Toyota Motor Corp is upping the game with a hi-tech way to fetch javelins and hammers: pint-sized, self-driving A.I. robot cars. The Japanese automaker on Monday unveiled a prototype of its next-generation field support robot, a miniature shuttle bus-shaped contraption based on its "e-Palette" ride-sharing vehicle under development, to be used at the Tokyo Games. The vehicle, roughly the size of a toddler's ride-on toy car, can travel at a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour and sports three cameras and one lidar sensor which enable it to "see" its surroundings. Draped around the top of its body is a band of LED lights which illuminate when the vehicle uses artificial intelligence to follow event officials toward the equipment hurled by athletes onto the pitch during shot put, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin events. After the equipment, which can weigh as much as eight kilograms for hammers, is loaded into the vehicle by the official, a press of a button located toward its front sends the car zipping back to athletes for later use.


Toyota reveals update of 'avatar' humanoid robot

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Toyota has revealed the next update of its T-HR3 humanoid'avatar' service robot ahead of next year's Olympic Games. The robot is capable of flexible movements that mirror the actions of its human operators up to six miles away, almost in real time. Using a 5G connection and a human controller connected to wiring and a VR headset, the new T-HR3 is now able to execute more difficult tasks than before. This includes walking in a smoother, more natural manner and even preparing drinks, as demonstrated at this year's International Robotic Exhibition in Tokyo. The new and improved T-HR3 – which was first launched in 2017 – grasps a cocktail shaker at this year's International Robotic Exhibition in Tokyo'Avatar robots like T-HR3, which possess an actual body, are capable of going beyond VR to physically influence the real world,' said T-HR3 Development Team Leader Tomohisa Moridaira.


Japan's cybersecurity minister admits he has never used a computer

The Independent - Tech

Japan's new cybersecurity minister has never used a computer and doesn't seem to know what a USB port is. The bizarre admission has prompted mockery in Japan and across the world, but newly appointed Yoshitaka Sakurada says that it is unlikely he will have to actually use a computer, despite being responsible for ensuring that the country's millions of devices are kept safe. Instead, cybersecurity policy is set by a large number of people and aides can type into the computer for him, he said. Mr Sakurada has been in parliament for 22 years but has not held such a senior position before, now finding himself responsible both for cybersecurity and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Uber has halted testing of driverless vehicles after a woman was killed by one of their cars in Tempe, Arizona.


Margot Robbie's new ride looks straight out of the future

Mashable

Who knew you needed an ambassador to spruik electric vehicles? Nissan does, and it's enlisted the services of Australian actress Margot Robbie to go riding around in its fancy EV sports concept car, the BladeGlider, around Monaco's Monte Carlo street circuit. SEE ALSO: Ford's self-driving cars won't have steering wheels because engineers maybe kept falling asleep The BladeGlider is a two-seater which was first unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo motor show. It's loosely based off the company's DeltaWing racer, which debuted at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2012. There are only two BladeGliders in the world, and the car hits 100 km/h (0-60 mph) in under five seconds.