Meet the Japanese tech guru who is betting big on the future of drones

The Japan Times

The only person in kimono at a recent government meeting on flying cars was Kotaro Chiba, a former online-game executive turned financier of a very specific kind. For Chiba, 44, who wears kimono on special occasions to show his pride in Japanese culture, is gathering money for what he calls the Drone Fund. It invests in unmanned vehicles to survey buildings, make deliveries and take aerial photos for tourist boards; hover scooters; and a pilotless cargo craft that's seeking to make it all the way from Japan to Silicon Valley in one go. Chiba is at the forefront of an industry that's only years away from changing our lives. In five to 10 years, the skies could be alive with drones delivering goods, according to McKinsey & Co.


Movidius breakthrough puts artificial intelligence on a USB stick

#artificialintelligence

Irish chip maker Movidius has created the world's first deep learning USB stick that can add artificial intelligence (AI) to future products from self-driving cars to robots, and drones that will learn to think for themselves. Entitled the Fathom Neural Compute Stick, the device will sell for less than 100 and will allow powerful neural networks to be moved out of the cloud and deployed on new products like robots and drones. It is the latest breakthrough for the Dublin company, which has been winning major multi-million dollar deals with Google and drone maker DJI. 'With Fathom, every robot, big and small, can now have state-of-the-art vision capabilities' – DR YANN LECUN, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY "Any organisation can now add deep learning or machine intelligence to devices using the USB stick and create products that will be accessible to broader markets," Movidius co-founder David Moloney told Siliconrepublic.com. "We've already seen how the auto industry has been outflanked by Tesla and this is also starting to affect other industries.


Amazon's delivery drones could parachute packages to avoid landing

The Independent

Amazon is toying with the idea of equipping its autonomous delivery drones with parachutes. The idea is that they would enable the flying contraptions to float packages down to the ground in situations where landing could prove tricky. The potential plans are outlined in a new US Patent and Trademark office patent spotted by CNN. The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo.


A Yelp bot will deliver your sushi in San Francisco

Engadget

While Amazon continues refining its delivery-by-UAV dream, Yelp is gearing up to test a grounded method to autonomously transport take out. The company is partnering with Marble to use their wheeled drone, which is designed to carry perishable cargo, to try out unmanned food delivery for its Seamless-like Yelp Eat24 service. Specifically, they're sending Marble's robots on trips around SF's Mission and Potrero Hill districts, so lucky Eat24 patrons might get the option to have their grub delivered via the boxy drones -- and their humans. Handlers will "chaperone" the autonomous bots to make sure their initial forays into the world go smoothly. The robots use NVIDIA's TX1 Jetson supercomputers to digest environmental data coming from a suite of cameras, LiDAR, and ultrasonic sensors, the same sensors used by autonomous cars.