Designing Streets for Self-Driving Cars: Parks Instead of Parking Meters


Urban planners talk about two visions of the future city: heaven and hell. Hell, in case it's not clear, is bad--cities built for technologies, big companies, and vehicles instead of the humans who actually live in them. And hell, in some ways, is here. Today's US cities are dominated by highways there were built by razing residential neighborhoods. It's all managed by public policies that incentivize commuting in your car.

Video Friday: Rocket RoboBee, Willow Garage, and Caltech's Cassie

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. A new RoboBee from Harvard can swim underwater, and then launch itself into the air with a microrocket and fly away. At the millimeter scale, the water's surface might as well be a brick wall.

Lockheed joins Boeing and General Dynamics in betting on ocean drones

Los Angeles Times

Lockheed Martin's interest in a San Diego start-up shows how big aerospace companies are pushing the drone revolution out to sea. Lockheed Martin Ventures last month invested an undisclosed amount in San Diego-based Ocean Aero -- a 25-employee start-up that is developing the Submaran, a solar- and wind-powered ocean drone capable of operating above and below the surface. "The ability to be environmentally powered allows us to maneuver at great persistence because it's renewable," said Eric Patten, chief executive of Ocean Aero and a former Navy officer. "And then to be able to transition that vehicle from the surface to a sub-surface vehicle that has significant capability under water, that is truly unique." Lockheed Martin Venture typically invests $1 million to $5 million in young companies.

From Energy To Telecom: 30 Big Industries Drones Could Disrupt


Military operations and photography aren't the only areas benefitting from drone technology. Energy, insurance, telecommunications, and many other industries could also have drones in their future. Drone technology has been used by defense organizations and tech-savvy consumers for quite some time. However, the benefits of this technology extends well beyond just these sectors. With the rising accessibility of drones, many of the most dangerous and high-paying jobs within the commercial sector are ripe for displacement by drone technology.

Amazon patents drone that can land on car to recharge it

Daily Mail

Are you considering buying an electric car, but have concerns about how you'll charge it while on the go? A new patent granted to Amazon might have the answer to this problem. The patent details a drone that can dock into electronic vehicles while they're moving to charge them. Pictured is an illustration from the patent file, showing an example of the drone docking system. The system would work by deploying a drone to connect to the docking mechanism, thereby allowing it to charge the vehicle while it's moving or stationary A new patent granted to Amazon details a system that would allow a drone to dock into electronic vehicles while they're moving in order to charge them.

Passenger Drone completes its first manned flight

Daily Mail

Passenger Drone took to the skies with a pilot aboard to test out the aerial craft's capabilities back in August, but the footage has just been released to mark its official launch Its engine system is less complex than most quad-copters, which the firm says provides enhanced safety, performance, greater payload and range. The vehicle's structure is composed of lightweight and strong carbon fibre composites, especially created for Passenger Drone. The vehicle's structure is composed of lightweight and strong carbon fibre composites, specially created for Passenger Drone. It uses multiple independent flight control systems to automatically navigate passengers from point A to point B.

Chinese ecommerce giant JD eyes driverless deliveries


Chinese ecommerce giant JD unveiled its latest invention last week: an autonomous delivery truck able to identify traffic signals and sense obstacles from over 100 metres away. The US-listed firm -- which has strived to utilize unmanned vehicles to beef up delivery efficiency -- said the EV80 autonomous light truck jointly developed with SAIC Maxus is equipped with radars, sensors, high-precision mapping, and a positioning system that can detect obstacles from 150 meters away and rearrange the route, according to a Sina news report. JD has said it also teamed up with Dongfeng Motor to research and develop an unmanned light delivery van, without disclosing details. The driverless truck is a new addition to JD's unmanned delivery vehicles, as the Chinese ecommerce giant has already utilized drones to deliver goods at certain areas in China that allow drone operation.

Delivery by drone: Switzerland tests it in populated areas

Daily Mail

The test was part of a project in Zurich to deliver household items such as toothbrushes, deodorant and smartphones to Swiss homes by unmanned aerial devices this autumn. The test was part of a project in Zurich to deliver household items such as toothbrushes, deodorant and smartphones to Swiss homes by unmanned aerial devices this autumn. Early experiments in urban areas are likely to involve drones working in tandem with road vehicles and their human drivers. Matternet, which is based in Menlo Park, California, is partnering on the project with Mercedes-Benz's vans division and Swiss e-commerce startup Siroop The challenges include battery life, inclement weather and navigating through residential neighbourhoods.

Watch: Dubai Tests Flying Taxi Drone For Future Ride-Hailing Service

International Business Times

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority announced it successfully tested autonomous taxi drones in the city. Volocopter, the German company that built the flying drones, said this week's test is the "first-ever public flight of an autonomous urban air taxi." Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority announced the flying drones at the 2017 World Government Summit in February. The drone taxi is powered by 18 rotors and includes an "intelligent autonomous control system," said Volocopter.

Where militaries window shop

FOX News

These are just a few of the latest military and security innovations from around the world on offer at the Defence and Security Equipment International Show (DSEI) in the U.K. this week. There is a mind-boggling array of offerings, from the latest in body armor and ways to covertly armor up civilian vehicles through to Special Forces equipment and ATVS, rations and explosion containment. For countries thinking about possible intervention with North Korea and Syria that could pose Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN)-type threats, delegations are looking at potential solutions like suits to protect forces against radiological and nuclear weapons, as well as decontamination technology. This is window shopping at the level of a country's top officials, a country's top military level – not individual level.