Climate change is far and away the greatest threat of the modern human era -- a crisis that will only get worse the longer we dither -- with American car culture as a major contributor to the nation's greenhouse emissions. But carbon-neutralizing energy and solutions are already on the horizon and, in some more developed countries like Sweden, are already being deployed. In his latest book, Our Livable World, science and technology analyst Marc Shaus, takes readers on a fascinating tour of the emerging tools -- from "smart highways" to jet fuel made from trash -- that will not only help curb climate change but perhaps even usher in a new, more sustainable, livable world. The following excerpt is reprinted from Our Livable World: How Scientists Today Are Creating the Clean Earth of Tomorrow by Marc Shaus. Reprinted with permission of Diversion Books.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - The National Science Foundation is funding a K-State professor's research on artificial intelligence-based cyber-physical systems. Kansas State University says Pavithra Prabhakar, an associate professor and Peggy and Gary Edwards chair in engineering in its computer science department, has been awarded $450,000 from the National Science Foundation to work on artificial intelligence-based controllers in the 3-year long project titled, "Scalable Formal Verification of ANN Controlled Cyber-Physical Systems." According to K-State, artificial intelligence-based controllers are increasingly used for modern-day cyber-physical and autonomous systems like driverless cars. It said these systems have been called on to perform sophisticated functions and operate in dynamic environments. It said the use of such controllers in driverless cars is highly safety-critical, where the vehicle is expected to not only stay in the right lane but avoid accidents with other cars and pedestrians crossing roadways under different lighting conditions.
Please come out, we'd all love to see you.--Andrea Boyczuk She hadn't driven on 75 since before Christmas. There were lots of cars and self-driving trucks on the road, and in MR the sky had sprouted thousands of virtual signs, labels, and guides. It seemed a lot was going on. Eventually the silence made her edgy and she said, "So you're Lake Erie. How long have you been awake?" "I've been a legal person since 2017." The lake had a smooth, masculine voice, with none of the artificiality she'd heard in Mercury's on those occasions when she'd spoken to it directly and not through Donna. "I was made one so that the citizens of Ohio could litigate on my behalf. But I have a lot more resources since I have the actants' network attached to me."
According to JLR, it will span 12km of public roads, combining smart junctions and connected car parks to facilitate the harnessing of valuable sensor data and offer the unique ability to trial new technologies. Aptly named the Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI), the facility will be equipped with sensors throughout the site, along with high-accuracy location systems, a data management and control centre and self-driving prototype vehicles. Russel Vickers (pictured above), chief executive officer at the FMCI, explained: "The smart-city zone provides a first-class facility for global companies to work together and develop world-leading technology, from autonomous vehicles to connected infrastructure. The testbed provides an opportunity to test in the real world and help answer some of the questions posed by the future of mobility in a collaborative and efficient way." As part of the trials, the company's all-electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE, will be deployed for testing.
Artificial Intelligence seems to be taking over our lives and replacing jobs wherever possible. In the foreseeable future, there are quite a few professions that come to mind where robots can phase humans out. Uber drivers can be a thing of the past with self-driving cars, and data-entry positions can eventually be automated. And robot telemarketers have likely called your phone more than once this week. AI is tapping into nearly every market-even the music industry.
The journey began with advanced driver-assistance systems, and while the destination is yet to be decided (will we really have fully autonomous, driverless cars on public roads?) the technology is locked in to become part of our lives. But even though there has been a lot of fanfare about vehicles already on the road being able to almost take over the majority of driving – Tesla along with Waymo are rarely out of the headlines in this field – there remain significant challenges to reaching the highest levels of automated driving. Perhaps one of the biggest issues to overcome is developing autonomous driving systems that can predict what is going to happen in certain scenarios and adapt. Something humans are incredibly good at. No doubt many people have debated how a self-driving vehicle would cope if it arrived at a multi-exit junction at the same time as other vehicles – who gives way to whom?
Do you think the traffic is bad where you live? Try moving to Boston, where commuters suffer the worst highway congestion in the nation. Residents of the New England city spent an average of 164 hours sitting in their vehicles going nowhere slowly last year, losing as much as $2,291 in personal value for the privilege. And that's nothing compared to the city found to be cursed with the worst highway tie-ups on the planet. Moscow commuters are known to have lost an average of 210 hours each last year to traffic jams.
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Technology company Autotech has concluded a two-year research project exploring how autonomous cars handle rural roads around Hong Kong, where the company is based. The Theia AI project, which started in October 2018 in the eastern region of Hong Kong, tested how autonomous vehicles could deal with less inhabited suburban and rural areas. The project involved two key trials. The first saw Autotech create an on-demand and shared car service using autonomous Theia AI electric cars, to provide a link between Lohas Park train station and Kowloon Bay east of the city. The autonomous cars were tested across various operating conditions. The second trial was a shuttle service stopping at predetermined locations around the region.
USC researchers have developed a method that could allow robots to learn new tasks, like setting a table or driving a car, from observing a small number of demonstrations. Imagine if robots could learn from watching demonstrations: you could show a domestic robot how to do routine chores or set a dinner table. In the workplace, you could train robots like new employees, showing them how to perform many duties. On the road, your self-driving car could learn how to drive safely by watching you drive around your neighborhood. Making progress on that vision, USC researchers have designed a system that lets robots autonomously learn complicated tasks from a very small number of demonstrations--even imperfect ones.