Autonomous Vehicles: AI-Alerts

Renault-Nissan Alliance, Google to Partner on Self-Driving Cars - Nikkei

U.S. News

Last month, Nissan Motor Corp said its board remained committed to the carmaker's alliance with Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp, after directors met to discuss the ongoing investigation into former chairman Carlos Ghosn and ways to bolster governance.

Drones Help Rid Galapagos Island of Invasive Rats

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

The Galapagos Islands are famous for their exotic wildlife, which in most cases is not nearly as afraid of humans as it should be. Humans have done some seriously horrible things to the animals living there, like packing thousands of giant tortoises upside down on ships because they would stay alive without food or water for months and could then be eaten. People traveling to and living in the Galapagos have caused other serious problems to the fragile ecosystem: In addition to devastating oil spills, humans have introduced numerous invasive species to the islands. In particular, goats, which were brought on purpose, and rats, which were brought accidentally, have been catastrophic for endemic animal populations. For decades, the Galapagos National Park Directorate (DPNG) has been working to remove invasive species island by island, including tens of thousands of feral goats, pigs, and donkeys.

Technologizing Agriculture

Communications of the ACM

Agricultural businesses usually have a massive number of trackable assets (plants, livestock, and machinery), often operate in wide geographic areas in which these assets are located, and are subject to operational factors often beyond their control, such as the amount of sunlight or rainfall they receive, or temperature fluctuations. As such, agriculture is ripe for the adoption of new technologies to help monitor and manage assets on a granular level, and everything from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, robots, and drones are being used by farms around the globe. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture notes that the farms of today are avid users of agriculture technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial imaging, and GPS technology, which are more precise and efficient than humans alone, and allow for safer, more efficient, and more profitable operations. One example of how technology enables new farming techniques is the use of robotic harvesting on indoor farms, which today account for a tiny fraction of the 900 million acres of traditional farmland in the U.S. However, these indoor farms are well suited to the growth of vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, and other leafy greens, are highly sustainable, generally feature an average yield per acre more than 10 times higher than that of outdoor farms, and represent a continuation of the agricultural sector's trend toward incorporating precision agriculture techniques to improve yields and become more sustainable.

Super Bowl: experiment radar aims to stop drone drama at game

The Guardian

A Bill Gates-funded startup is seeking permission to test a new kind of drone detector at Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots in Atlanta, Georgia. Echodyne, a Seattle-based company, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Sunday to operate two experimental radars "in the immediate vicinity" of Mercedes-Benz Stadium to "alert security personnel, including Federal officers, of any unidentified drone activity during Super Bowl LIII". The drone tests would be conducted under the guidance and direction of the FBI. Atlanta police have said there will be a zero tolerance policy for drones near the Super Bowl stadium, with hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement officers watching for illegal flights. Reports of rogue drones grounded flights at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey last week, and forced the closure of Gatwick, Britain's second-busiest airport, for several days in December.

Terrible drivers could teach autonomous cars how to avoid crashes

New Scientist

Backseat driving can irritate even the most stoic of human drivers, but for autonomous vehicles those nagging comments could lead to the perfect road technique. The software that powers autonomous vehicles is often trained on hours of footage of people driving.

A Study on Driverless-Car Ethics Offers a Troubling Look Into Our Values

The New Yorker

The first time Azim Shariff met Iyad Rahwan--the first real time, after communicating with him by phone and e-mail--was in a driverless car. It was November, 2012, and Rahwan, a thirty-four-year-old professor of computing and information science, was researching artificial intelligence at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a university in Abu Dhabi. He was eager to explore how concepts within psychology--including social networks and collective reasoning--might inform machine learning, but there were few psychologists working in the U.A.E. Shariff, a thirty-one-year-old with wild hair and expressive eyebrows, was teaching psychology at New York University's campus in Abu Dhabi; he guesses that he was one of four research psychologists in the region at the time, an estimate that Rahwan told me "doesn't sound like an exaggeration." Rahwan cold-e-mailed Shariff and invited him to visit his research group.

Giving algorithms a sense of uncertainty could make them more ethical

MIT Technology Review

Algorithms are increasingly being used to make ethical decisions. Perhaps the best example of this is a high-tech take on the ethical dilemma known as the trolley problem: if a self-driving car cannot stop itself from killing one of two pedestrians, how should the car's control software choose who live and who dies? In reality, this conundrum isn't a very realistic depiction of how self-driving cars behave. But many other systems that are already here or not far off will have to make all sorts of real ethical trade-offs. Assessment tools currently used in the criminal justice system must consider risks to society against harms to individual defendants; autonomous weapons will need to weigh the lives of soldiers against those of civilians.

Regulators To Ease Restrictions On Drones, Clearing The Way For More Commercial Uses


Federal regulators have announced plans to allow drone operators to fly their unmanned aerial vehicles over populated areas and at night. A Wing Hummingbird drone from Project Wing arrives and sets down its package at a delivery location in Blacksburg, Va., last year. Federal regulators have announced plans to allow drone operators to fly their unmanned aerial vehicles over populated areas and at night. A Wing Hummingbird drone from Project Wing arrives and sets down its package at a delivery location in Blacksburg, Va., last year. Package delivery by drone is one small step closer to reality today.

Airport drone disruption: All major UK airports to have 'military-grade' protection

BBC News

All major UK airports now have or will soon have military grade anti-drone equipment, the government says. It comes after the military were called in to help when drone sightings caused delays for around an hour at Heathrow on Tuesday. And drone sightings at Gatwick caused major disruption affecting 140,000 passengers before Christmas. Earlier, the defence secretary said it would "not be right" to ask the RAF to respond to similar incidents in future. Gavin Williamson said all commercial airports needed to invest in anti-drone technology.

CES 2019: Toyota Lifts the Veil on Its Guardian Driver-Assist System

IEEE Spectrum

Toyota today revealed some of the inner workings of an automation package meant to help drivers rather than replace them. The company also said that if that package had been in operation, it could have prevented or mitigated a recent three-car accident in California. The announcement came at CES 2019, which takes place this week in Las Vegas. Toyota has often spoken of its two-stage research project for self-driving cars. In the long run, it plans to offer a truly driverless technology called Chauffeur.