Ride-hailing service Uber announced plans for a flying taxi on Wednesday that could provide relief from road congestion for the commuters of the future. This is a rendering of UberÕs VTOL concept., flying car, an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber executives continue to grapple with a host of challenges to their ride-hailing business, from taxi industry pushback in cities such as London to political fallout due to a self-driving car death in Arizona. But none of that has put the brakes on the company's futuristic -- and somewhat outlandish -- plans to develop a network of flying taxis, a project that gained a bit more altitude at Tuesday's kickoff of the two-day Uber Elevate conference in Los Angeles. Uber announced new partnerships with government officials and aircraft manufacturers aimed at further developing eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) craft, which use wing-mounted propellers to provide lift, as with a helicopter, and a tail-mounted propeller to generate forward thrust, as with a plane.
An Uber self-driving test car which killed a woman crossing the street detected her but decided not to react immediately, a report has said. The car was travelling at 40mph (64km/h) in self-driving mode when it collided with 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg at about 10pm on 18 March. Herzberg was pushing a bicycle across the road outside of a crossing. She later died from her injuries. Although the car's sensors detected Herzberg, its software which decides how it should react was tuned too far in favour of ignoring objects in its path which might be "false positives" (such as plastic bags), according to a report from the Information.
Engineers love the complex challenge they present. But right now, what are they for, really? In the weeks after a self-driving Uber hit and killed an Arizona woman, it's hard to remember. Our own Jack Stewart has something close to a solution: Autonomous developers need to figure out how to explain the point of these vehicles, in the near term, and it's not saving the world. Aim smaller, maybe, breaking the complex task of building a vehicle that can go anywhere into steps.
The U.S. Army's Autonomous Remote Engagement System is mounted on the Picatinny Lightweight Remote Weapon System and coupled with an M240B machine gun. It's part of a program that reduces the time to identify targets using automatic target detection and user-specified target selection. The U.S. Army's Autonomous Remote Engagement System is mounted on the Picatinny Lightweight Remote Weapon System and coupled with an M240B machine gun. It's part of a program that reduces the time to identify targets using automatic target detection and user-specified target selection. Killer robots have been a staple of TV and movies for decades, from Westworld to The Terminator series.
More than a month after a self-driving Uber struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the street in Arizona, it's still not clear what sort of failure might explain the crash--or how to prevent it happening again. While the National Transportation Safety Board investigates, Uber's engineers are sitting on their hands, their cars are parked. The crash and its inconclusive aftermath reflect poorly on a newborn industry predicated on the idea that letting computers take the wheel can save lives, ease congestion, and make travel more pleasant. An industry dashing toward adulthood--Google sister company Waymo plans to launch a robo-taxi service this year, General Motors is aiming for 2019--and now, suddenly, on the verge of being rejected by a public that hasn't even experienced it yet. In other words, AV makers are clearing the technological hurdles and tripping over the psychological ones.
It takes a lot of practice to fly a drone with confidence. Whether it's a multirotor or a fixed-wing drone, there are a lot of complicated things going on all at once, and most of the control systems are not even a little bit intuitive. The first-person viewpoint afforded by drone-mounted cameras and VR headsets helps, but you're still stuck with trying to use a couple of movable sticks to manage a flying robot, which takes both experience and concentration. EPFL has developed a much better system for drone control, taking away the sticks and replacing them with intuitive and comfortable movements of your entire body. It's an upper-body soft exoskeleton called FlyJacket, and with it on, you can pilot a fixed-wing drone by embodying the drone--put your arms out like wings, and pitching or rolling your body will cause the drone to pitch or roll, all while you experience it directly in immersive virtual reality.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that a crashed drone attached with bags of marijuana and tobacco was found at the Lincoln Correctional Center two months ago. The Justice Department reported last year an increasing number of attempts to use drones to smuggle contraband into federal prisons over the past five years.