If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
If you have followed the development of the Internet, starting with the birth of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) during the Cold War, its evolution might seem interesting but gradual, until it suddenly exploded and changed our lives. After Tim Berners-Lee brought the World Wide Web into existence, the Internet of the early days became practically unrecognizable. This is how technology often develops – very slowly, and then suddenly, very quickly. Self-driving cars also seem to be following this path. In the last few months, we have seen breakthrough after breakthrough that makes autonomous vehicles less "a distant eventuality" and more "a fast-approaching reality."
Quartz's time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has come to a close, and we've reflected on a week of being inundated with gadgets, technology, and pitches. Below is a list of which companies we believe won CES, which tried the hardest, and which embodied the spirit of the world's largest consumer electronics show. Rather than a breakout startup or one gadget that blew the show floor away, the talk of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show were the mishaps of the show--the failed demonstrations, the flooding of Vegas and the subsequent power outages in one of the main halls. But in the background, one company solidified itself as a stalwart contender for winning the year: Nvidia. The company announced that it had a new chip custom-built for self-driving cars, and that it was working with more than 320 partners who would use the technology to power their vehicles.
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 few 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. CES isn't really a venue for the launch of flagship robotics products anymore (if it ever was), but we still see some high profile introductions from large companies looking to make a splash. Besides LG, Honda was the other notable, with a couple strange robots (and one kind of familiar looking).
Mobileye's acquisition by Intel provided it with the ability to produce a more complete autonomous driving solution than Nvidia, according to Mobileye senior VP and chief communications officer Dan Galves, because it has been able to bring both hardware and software together. CES showcases the tech trends that will shape the year ahead. See the most important products that will impact businesses and professionals. Speaking to media during CES 2018, Galves said software is the most important piece of the puzzle. Once that it written, it then needs to run on a powerful compute architecture -- and Mobileye now has both thanks to its work with the biggest chip maker in the world.
In two separate partnerships announced ahead of CES 2018 in Las Vegas next week, Hyundai Motor Company and Volkswagen Group have placed their bets on self-driving technology company Aurora Innovation to further their respective autonomous vehicle visions. Aurora Innovation is the brainchild of Chris Urmson, former CTO of Google's self-driving car project; Sterling Anderson, a former program manager for Tesla's Autopilot team; and Drew Bagnell, former autonomy architect and perception lead at the Uber Advanced Technology Center. With the first announcement, Hyundai is aiming to bring self-driving vehicles to market by 2021 by incorporating Aurora's self-driving technology into Hyundai vehicles starting with models custom-developed and launched in test programs and pilot cities. Over the longer term, Hyundai and Aurora will work to commercialise self-driving vehicles worldwide. The duo will initially focus on the development of hardware and software for automated and autonomous driving and the back-end data services required for Level 4 automation -- autonomous vehicles that can operate without human input or oversight under select conditions.
Garmin announced Thursday an Intel-based infotainment platform for automotive manufacturers to embed in their products. For customers, Garmin's infotainment offering will bring Amazon Alexa, wireless rear-seat navigation, and other conveniences while driving or riding. CNET editors scour the 2018 International CES for the hottest new tech gadgets. Garmin is trying to take a shot at BlackBerry QNX, who has a large footprint in the infotainment space thanks to its partnerships with all the largest automotive industry chip suppliers. BlackBerry's software is in about 60 percent of the vehicles on the road.
Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will debut the latest version of its automated driving research vehicle at CES next week. TRI had three major goals with this latest model and Platform 3.0 incorporates them all into a car with more perception capabilities, a design that's easier to produce at scale and a much sleeker look. "To elevate our test platform to a new level, we tapped Toyota's design and engineering expertise to create an all-new test platform that has the potential to be a benchmark in function and style," TRI CEO Gill Pratt said in a statement. First, the vehicle now has 360-degree LiDAR sensing -- previous platforms only had forward-facing LiDAR sensing capabilities -- and new shorter-range LiDAR sensors placed lower to the ground allow for detection of smaller objects like road debris or children. Secondly, Platform 3.0, built on a Lexus LS 600hL, will go into low-volume production this spring and will come in two versions.
If you remember the '80s, you were probably amazed that you could walk up to a computer, type the following in BASIC and something would happen: It seemed like magic at the time (which is good, because that's also the extent of my programming skills). That's sort of where the automotive AI world is in 2017. Artificial intelligence is on the cusp of bringing to life the sort of futuristic computer that can identify, parse and react to real-world driving scenarios. But like everything in tech, it's in a hype cycle that's seeing dozens of companies, large and small, competing to make sure their technology is in the car of the future. This past year, I've have a non-stop parade of startups pitch me about their AI autonomous driving systems.
It's not easy keeping up with the whirlwind industrialist's ventures, but if you're a Tesla enthusiast, like me, you are probably following the projects of the iconic electric car maker's CEO closely. I won't dwell on his ambition to send a Tesla Roadster into orbit around Mars - cue the tagline'red car for a red planet.' One of his more grounded ideas, revealed in California just days ago, involves developing customised AI hardware chips for the Autopilot self-driving system. Although Musk is furtive about the chip's stage of development or when it will start shipping inside vehicles, he says that Tesla will get there much faster if they have dedicated AI hardware. Musk maintains the chip will fast forward the day when the self-driving Tesla can drive 10 times more safely than a human.
Rockets, electric cars, solar panels, batteries--whirlwind industrialist Elon Musk has set about reinventing one after another. Thursday, he added another ambitious project to the list: Future Tesla vehicles will run their self-driving AI software on a chip designed by the automaker itself. "We are developing customized AI hardware chips," Musk told a room of AI experts from companies such as Alphabet and Uber on the sidelines of the world's leading AI conference. Musk claimed that the chips' processing power would help Tesla's Autopilot automated-driving function save more lives, more quickly, by hastening the day it can drive at least 10 times more safely than a human. "We get there faster if we have dedicated AI hardware," he said.