Video Friday: SpaceX Rocket Mishaps, Robot Puppy, and Lean Robotics

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

A revolutionary NASA Technology Demonstration Mission project called Dragonfly, designed to enable robotic self-assembly of satellites in Earth orbit, has successfully completed its first major ground demonstration. Over time, the system will integrate 3-D printing technology enabling the automated manufacture of new antennae and even replacement reflectors as needed. Vijay Kumar kicks things off with a talk about "research to enhance tactical situational awareness in urban and complex terrain by enabling the autonomous operation of a collaborative ensemble of microsystems." Next, Sean Humbert from UC Boulder talks about develping the fundamental science, tools, and algorithms to enable mobility of heterogeneous teams of autonomous micro-platforms for tactical situational awareness.


IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

During the Hands Free Hectare project, no human set foot on the field between planting and harvest--everything was done by robots. To make these decisions, robot scouts (including drones and ground robots) surveyed the field from time to time, sending back measurements and bringing back samples for humans to have a look at from the comfort of someplace warm and dry and clean. With fully autonomous farm vehicles, you can use a bunch of smaller ones much more effectively than a few larger ones, which is what the trend has been toward if you need a human sitting in the driver's seat. Robots are only going to get more affordable and efficient at this sort of thing, and our guess is that it won't be long before fully autonomous farming passes conventional farming methods in both overall output and sustainability.

Sven Koenig: Progress on Multi-Robot Path Finding CMU RI Seminar


Abstract: "Teams of robots often have to assign target locations among themselves and then plan collision-free paths to their target locations. Today, hundreds of robots already navigate autonomously in Amazon fulfillment centers to move inventory pods all the way from their storage locations to the packing stations. Path planning for these robots can be NP-hard, yet one must find high-quality collision-free paths for them in real-time. The shorter these paths are, the fewer robots are needed and the cheaper it is to open new fulfillment centers.

Drones and Robots Are Taking Over Industrial Inspection

MIT Technology Review

The effort shows how low-cost drones and robotic systems--combined with rapid advances in machine learning--are making it possible to automate whole sectors of low-skill work. Avitas uses drones, wheeled robots, and autonomous underwater vehicles to collect images required for inspection from oil refineries, gas pipelines, coolant towers, and other equipment. Nvidia's system employs deep learning, an approach that involves training a very large simulated neural network to recognize patterns in data, and which has proven especially good for image processing. It is possible, for example, to train a deep neural network to automatically identify faults in a power line by feeding in thousands of previous examples.

At Toyota, The Automation Is Human-Powered


On the assembly line in Toyota's low-strung, sprawling Georgetown, Kentucky factory, worker ingenuity pops up in the least expected places. Even as the automaker unveils an updated version of its vaunted production system, called the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the company has resisted the very modern allure of automation–a particularly contrarian stance to take in the car industry, which is estimated to be responsible for over half of commercial robot purchases in North America. Despite its dry subject, this book had a radical impact inside and outside of the business community–for the first time, unveiling the mysteries of Japanese industrial expertise and popularizing terms like lean production, continuous improvement, andon assembly lines, seven wastes or mudas and product flow. Codified as the Toyota New Global Architecture, this strategy doesn't primarily target labor to reduce production expenses but instead is weighted toward smarter use of materials; reengineering automobiles so their component parts are lighter and more compact and their weight distribution is maxed out for performance and fuel efficiency; more economical global sharing of engine and vehicle models (trimming back more than 100 different platforms to fewer than ten); and a renewed emphasis on elusive lean concepts, such as processes that allow assembly lines to produce a different car one after another with no downtime.

Chilling warning about how artifical intelligence can be used against us


The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art ...

Intel studies how to make people accept self-driving cars


The company recently conducted a study to see if people who have never ridden in an autonomous car change their mind after experiencing it first-hand. The test was simple: Anxious passengers went for a quick spin in the backseat of the automobile around a closed track with nothing but a robot car for company. Jack Weast, the chief systems architect of Intel's Autonomous Driving Group, said this was just a very small start. To make the study more authentic to our self-driving future, the Intel Autonomous Driving Group created a ride-hailing app similar to Uber; the first autonomous cars on the road will most likely be part of a taxi service, after all.

How Self-Driving, AI And Robotics Will Transform The Auto Industry

International Business Times

It is an industry that has functioned largely without changes for the past hundred years, but with the emergence of technologies such as artificial intelligence, self-driving and robotics, the basic paradigm of the industry is expected to change. While the Tesla Gigafactory 1 is just one of many examples of auto companies increasingly employing robots in production, it is the strongest indication that as the auto industry moves toward automation and robotics, human employment in the industry is set to decrease. According to the Information Handling Services (IHS) Technology's Automotive Electronics Roadmap Report, the use of AI based driver-assistance systems in vehicles is set to jump from 7 million a couple of years ago to 122 million by 2025. Since cars are increasingly expected to be equipped with hardware such as camera-based machine units, radar-detection units and driver evaluation units, AI will serve as the connecting interface between the regular car machinery and such hardware -- e.g., advance brake warnings using object detection feedback from the onboard cameras.

Humans are an autonomous car's biggest problem. The new Audi A8 has a solution


In 2012 the engineers working on Google's self-driving car realised they had a problem. And before those fully autonomous cars arrive and are widely adopted, hundreds of thousands of lives will be lost that might have been saved. Decades from now, when fully autonomous vehicles are available everywhere, these stopgap measures won't be necessary. A truly autonomous car won't care if its passengers are watching the road.

Demystifying AI: Understanding the human-machine relationship


Rules are then written for the computer system to learn about all the data points and make calculations based on the rules of the road. Computer systems are programmed with machine learning algorithms and continuously learn to look at more data more quickly than any human would be able to. It might even notice lots of interactions when "Fly the Friendly Skies" ads are placed next to images of a person being brutally pulled off the plane and place more ads there! Artificial intelligence, machine learning and "self-aware systems" are real.