Results


Video Friday: Robot Dance Teacher, Transformer Drone, and Pneumatic Reel Actuator

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

These results validate the performance of aerial grasping based on our proposed wholebody grasp planning and motion control method. However, for most vehicles, high performance over rough terrain reduces the travel speed and/or requires complex mechanisms. We extend GPS in the following ways: (1) we propose the use of a model-free local optimizer based on path integral stochastic optimal control (PI2), which enables us to learn local policies for tasks with highly discontinuous contact dynamics; and (2) we enable GPS to train on a new set of task instances in every iteration by using on-policy sampling: this increases the diversity of the instances that the policy is trained on, and is crucial for achieving good generalization. To increase the spike decision rates, iterative spiking training with actual blockers is required.


After Mastering Singapore's Streets, NuTonomy's Robo-taxis Are Poised to Take on New Cities

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Take a short walk through Singapore's city center and you'll cross a helical bridge modeled on the structure of DNA, pass a science museum shaped like a lotus flower, and end up in a towering grove of artificial Supertrees that pulse with light and sound. It's no surprise, then, that this is the first city to host a fleet of autonomous taxis. Since last April, robo-taxis have been exploring the 6 kilometers of roads that make up Singapore's One-North technology business district, and people here have become used to hailing them through a ride-sharing app. Maybe that's why I'm the only person who seems curious when one of the vehicles--a slightly modified Renault Zoe electric car--pulls up outside of a Starbucks. Seated inside the car are an engineer, a safety driver, and Doug Parker, chief operating officer of nuTonomy, the MIT spinout that's behind the project.


Video Friday: iCub Does Yoga, Wooden Walking Robot, and Wind Tunnel for Drones

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

We're told that Markus bet that this thing could only work in theory, and lost: This video introduces the monospinner, the mechanically simplest controllable flying machine in existence. With the company's ultra-low power, high performance Myriad 2 processor inside, the Fathom Neural Compute Stick can run fully-trained neural networks at under 1 Watt of power. As a tinkerer and builder of various robots and flying contraptions, I've been dreaming of getting my hands on something like the Fathom Neural Compute Stick for a long time. Last year in Seoul, KAIST's Unmanned Systems Research Group participated in an autonomous car demo in downtown Seoul.