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Cheaper lidar system aid mass adoption of driverless cars

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Light Detection And Ranging (lidar) systems enable vehicles to'see' in real-time by mapping three-dimensional images. The systems use large, rotating mirrors which reflect laser beams from surrounding objects. A University of Colorado-Boulder team has been working on a different way of steering these laser beams, called wavelength steering. This technique involves pointing each wavelength of laser light to a unique angle. This allows for a lidar system which is far less bulky and expensive, and can be easily made smaller than current devices.


How autonomous freight trains powered by artificial intelligence could come to a railroad near you

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Last summer, a 30-car freight train led by three diesel locomotives rumbled down the tracks for 48 miles through the Colorado desert -- with nobody at the controls. But this was no runaway train. In fact, the experiment could be a preview of the rail industry's future. The demonstration at the Transportation Technology Center -- a research and testing facility owned by the Association of American Railroads -- was the debut of driverless train software produced by one of the oldest companies in the industry. Along for the ride were representatives from some of America's largest freight railroads who in recent years have been intrigued by the many ways artificial intelligence (AI) could be applied to one of the nation's oldest industries.


FAA proposes rule change to force identification of Colorado, Nebraska drones

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 31 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com One day after Colorado and western Nebraska counties reported a series of mysterious, nocturnal drone flights, the Federal Aviation Administration is promoting a rule change last week that requires most drones to be identifiable remotely, a report said Monday. The rule change, announced Thursday, have been in works for more than a year, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in an email to the Denver Post Monday. Under the legislation, law enforcement, federal security agencies and the FAA would be allowed to identify drones flying through their jurisdiction, the FAA said.


Colorado, Nebraska sheriffs puzzled by nocturnal drone flights

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 30 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com A squadron of drones flying over the Midwest every night for nearly two weeks have left both residents and officials wondering who's flying them and what purpose they are serving, a report said Sunday. In the past week, three more rural counties have experienced nightly flyovers from the northeast corner of Colorado to at least one county in neighboring Nebraska, the Denver Post reported. Sheriffs in Lincoln, Washington and Sedgwick counties say their offices have been inundated with calls this week about the devices, the newspaper reported.


Autonomous vehicles to leverage HD maps from space

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It may not be common knowledge, but the automotive industry is in deep discussions to find out how aeronautic technology can benefit the next generation of road vehicles. More specifically, satellite imaging firms are using their expertise to assist the creation of high-definition (HD) maps, which can optimise autonomous vehicle (AV) navigation, ride-share operations and last-mile delivery services. Maxar is based in Westminster, Colorado. From here, it runs a global business you've never heard of, but will almost certainly have used. Its constellation of satellites circles the earth once every 90 minutes--that's 16 revolutions per day--on what is called a sun-synchronous orbit.


Atari founder, governor play pong with the future of work in the artificial intelligence age

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Take it from Gov. Jared Polis, a veteran of the tech startup scene introduced as Colorado's "innovator in chief" Wednesday at a Denver Startup Week panel on the evolution of technology and its impact on everyday life. "I was just at Amazon's new facility in Thornton," Polis said. "Inside, where we used to see human-operated forklifts they have little intelligent robots that are carrying the crates around." The question now, Polis said, is how will public policy take shape around that AI technology so that it supports innovation but keeps human beings relevant in the economy going forward? Polis sat opposite Nolan Bushnell during the session.


Florida Eases Self-Driving Car Rules: Are States And Cities On The Hook For Mishaps?

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Jurisdictions might be on-the-hook for their self-driving car laws that allow autonomous cars and for which might get into mishaps or crashes. Florida just passed a law that widens the door for self-driving driverless cars to roam their public roadways and do so without any human back-up driver involved. Some see dangers afoot, others see progress and excitement. Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, declared that by approving the new bill it showed that "Florida officially has an open-door policy to autonomous vehicle companies." There are now 29 states that have various driverless laws on their books, per the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, plus Washington, D.C. Here's a question that some politicians and regulators are silently grappling with, albeit some think that they have the unarguably "right" answer and thusly have no need to lose sleep over the matter: Should states, counties, cities and townships be eagerly courting self-driving autonomous cars onto their public roadways, or should those jurisdictions be neutral about inviting them into their locales, or should they be highly questioning and require "proof until proven safe" before letting even one such autonomous car onto their turf?


AI guides single-camera drone through hallways it's never seen before

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Researchers at the University of Colorado recently demonstrated a system that helps robots figure out the direction of hiking trails from camera footage, and scientists at ETH Zurich described in a January paper a machine learning framework that aids four-legged robots in getting up from the ground when they trip and fall. But might such AI perform just as proficiently when applied to a drone rather than machines planted firmly on the ground? A team at the University of California at Berkeley set out to find out. In a newly published paper on the preprint server Arxiv ("Generalization through Simulation: Integrating Simulated and Real Data into Deep Reinforcement Learning for Vision-Based Autonomous Flight"), the team proposes a "hybrid" deep reinforcement learning algorithm that combines data from both a digital simulation and the real world to guide a quadcopter through carpeted corridors. "In this work, we … aim to devise a transfer learning algorithm where the physical behavior of the vehicle is learned," the paper's authors wrote.


How 5G connectivity and new technology could pave the way for self-driving cars

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How much safer, smoother, and more efficient could driving be if cars could communicate with traffic lights while approaching an intersection, get alerted to jaywalking pedestrians, or talk to each other while roaring down the highway at 65 miles per hour? A peer-to-peer wireless technology called C-V2X can warn vehicles about obstacles that cameras and radars might not catch, connecting them to their surroundings in a way that could eventually help them drive themselves. Most of the demos involve people driving cars and trucks outfitted with special C-V2X chipsets and modems. The vehicles send and receive wireless signals 10 times per second and display certain types of information--such as warnings about oncoming pedestrians, storms, and accidents--as pop-up alerts on drivers' windshields or dashboards. The most recent C-V2X demonstration, which took place in Colorado on August 14, also connected participating vehicles to traffic lights, so drivers knew exactly when the lights would change colors.


Allstate CEO: AI Will Thrash the Economy Like a 'Tsunami' - ADR Toolbox

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Artificial intelligence is coming for the service economy, according to Allstate Corp. Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson. "It's going to rip through this economy like a tsunami," Wilson said Thursday in an interview on Bloomberg TV from Aspen, Colorado. Automation will affect a wide swath of workers, from traders to taxi drivers. McKinsey & Co. estimates that more than 400 million people worldwide could be looking for work by 2030 because technology took their jobs. That change has already come to the auto insurance business.