Up, up and away: Passenger-carrying drone to fly in Dubai

Boston Herald

Up, up and away: Dubai hopes to have a passenger-carrying drone regularly buzzing through the skyline of this futuristic city-state in July. The arrival of the Chinese-made EHang 184 -- which already has had its flying debut over Dubai's iconic, sail-shaped Burj al-Arab skyscraper hotel -- comes as the Emirati city also has partnered with other cutting-edge technology companies, including Hyperloop One. The question is whether the egg-shaped, four-legged craft will really take off as a transportation alternative in this car-clogged city already home to the world's longest driverless metro line. Mattar al-Tayer, the head of Dubai's Roads & Transportation Agency, announced plans to have the craft regularly flying at the World Government Summit. Before his remarks on Monday, most treated the four-legged, eight-propeller craft as just another curiosity at an event that views itself as a desert Davos.


Brussels Terror Attack Second In 15 Months, Terrorist Shot Dead After Explosion At Train Station

International Business Times

EDT- Interior Minister Jan Jambon announced that the Belgian security forces have identified the terrorist. "The terrorist's identity is known. We have been able to identify him," Jambon told RTBF radio television without giving further details, Agence France-Presse reported. A suspected terrorist bomber was shot dead by Belgian troops at Brussels Central Station, Tuesday, after a small explosion took place at the transportation hub at around 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. EDT). Officials of the Belgian federal prosecutors confirmed that the central station explosion was being considered as a terrorist attack, Reuters reported.


Flying robo-taxis eyed for Bay Area commuters

#artificialintelligence

French inventor Frank Zapata grabbed headlines around the world this summer when he flew his hoverboard across the English channel from Pas de Calais, France, to the famous white cliffs of Dover. But Bay Area commuters may soon do Zapata one better by skimming above San Francisco Bay on autonomous, single-passenger drones being developed by a Peninsula start-up company with ties to Google. The automated drones are electrically powered, capable of vertical takeoff and landing, and would fly 10 feet above the water at 20 mph along a pre-determined flight path not subject to passenger controls. The drones' rotors are able to shift from vertical to horizontal alignment for efficient forward movement after takeoff. The company behind all this, three-year-old Kitty Hawk Corp., has personal financial backing from Google founder Larry Page, now CEO of Google's parent, Alphabet, who has long been interested in autonomous forms of transportation.


Lilium hopes to soar with launch of electric air taxis

#artificialintelligence

It is 2025 and midtown Manhattan is snarled with traffic. But the 19km journey to JFK airport -- normally about an hour by road -- takes just five minutes in an electric flying taxi and costs roughly $50. This is not from an episode of The Jetsons. It is the vision that Lilium, a Munich-based start-up, is working towards bringing to the public within six years. The company, founded in 2015 by four engineering students, is developing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jets for a fleet of flying taxis that will be as easy to book as an Uber car.


Efficient Incremental Learning for Mobile Object Detection

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Object detection models shipped with camera-equipped mobile devices cannot cover the objects of interest for every user. Therefore, the incremental learning capability is a critical feature for a robust and personalized mobile object detection system that many applications would rely on. In this paper, we present an efficient yet practical system, IMOD, to incrementally train an existing object detection model such that it can detect new object classes without losing its capability to detect old classes. The key component of IMOD is a novel incremental learning algorithm that trains end-to-end for one-stage object detection deep models only using training data of new object classes. Specifically, to avoid catastrophic forgetting, the algorithm distills three types of knowledge from the old model to mimic the old model's behavior on object classification, bounding box regression and feature extraction. In addition, since the training data for the new classes may not be available, a real-time dataset construction pipeline is designed to collect training images on-the-fly and automatically label the images with both category and bounding box annotations. We have implemented IMOD under both mobile-cloud and mobile-only setups. Experiment results show that the proposed system can learn to detect a new object class in just a few minutes, including both dataset construction and model training. In comparison, traditional fine-tuning based method may take a few hours for training, and in most cases would also need a tedious and costly manual dataset labeling step.