Robotics & Automation

Nvidia hits another record high as AI takes centerstage


"Our sense is management believes that investors still severely underestimates the impact of AI and the size of the potential market," Evercore analyst C J Muse wrote in a note on Friday after hosting Nvidia's management. Nvidia has been rapidly expanding into newer technologies including artificial intelligence, cloud computing and self-driving cars, away from designing graphics-processing chips for which the company was known for. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Vivek Arya listed Nvidia a "top pick", basing his view "on (Nvidia's) underappreciated transformation from a traditional PC graphics vendor, into a supplier into high-end gaming, enterprise graphics, cloud, accelerated computing and automotive markets," according to Seeking Alpha. In May, Nvidia announced a partnership with Toyota Motor Corp through which the Japanese car maker would use Nvidia's AI technology to develop self-driving vehicle systems planned for the next few years.

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.

Artificial intelligence pioneer says we need to start over


Fully autonomous cars are expected to dramatically increase driving safety when they eventually hit the roads, but it could cause new hazards for other road users. Researchers logged 150 hours of data over 1,800 miles and activated external signals on the car to gauge pedestrians' reactions. Standardization push: It would be a huge failure on the industry's part if different automakers come to market with different strategies for these types of signals, Shutko said. Ford and VTTI decided to explain the research after last month's media attention so that people wouldn't think the research project was "just a prank."

Driverless trucks are coming -- but for now, adoption is in the slow lane


"Driving long-haul trucks all day long, spending days and weeks away from family, is not for all, Rajkumar said. Autonomous trucks differ from autonomous cars in a number of ways, in terms of design. Once a long safety record that exceeds that of human drivers is established, "one can imagine that flammable cargo vehicles can also become fully autonomous," Rajkumar said. "There will come a time a few decades from now that fully autonomous gas trucks are deemed to be safer and more reliable."

Atlanta tests self-driving vehicle in heart of the city


The test on North Avenue in the city's bustling Midtown area meant that Atlanta has become one of the largest urban areas to test autonomous vehicles, joining Sao Paulo and Shanghai. Here's a look at some of the key aspects of the test and the issues involved: The test was aimed at showing how an autonomous vehicle would navigate in real-world traffic. On Thursday, a Tesla vehicle made multiple trips along an approximately 1-mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) route as members of the media rode along. Cameras could provide live video of traffic, and computers could analyze data on road conditions, concerts or other events likely to clog streets.

Why did Ford build a 'fake driverless car' using a man dressed as a seat?

The Guardian

Local news publication ARLnow caught the ghostly vehicle on camera and speculated that it was part of Virginia Tech's autonomous driving research. The "seat suit" stunt was the brainchild of Ford and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research exploring how self-driving vehicles can communicate their intent to pedestrians, human drivers and cyclists. Ford and Virginia Tech wanted to test how people would react to light signals replacing some of this communication. "We needed to try out this new lighting to communicate the intent of the vehicle, but if you've got a driver behind the seat you still have natural communication between humans like eye-to-eye contact," said Andy Shaudt, who headed the research at Virginia Tech.

Lawmakers hear from industry, union on self-driving truck regulations

Los Angeles Times

In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Washington on Wednesday morning on the potential safety and economic implications of self-driving trucks, Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said trucks come with a different set of considerations than much lighter passenger vehicles. "We don't believe you should just include 80,000-pound trucks without further study," he said. She said it didn't make sense to put regulations for trucks and passenger vehicles on two different timetables. One of those is a concept called platooning, in which a human truck driver would manage and lead a couple of self-driving trucks that would follow behind a control vehicle.

Why Researchers Dressed as a Car Seat to Teach Self-Driving Vehicles to Talk


Virginia Tech Transportation Institute took credit--nay, responsibility--for car seat man but wouldn't reveal more. Car seat man was part of a Ford-funded study by researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute into how autonomous vehicles will interact with humans on the road. It's hard to know, because when driverless cars test on public roads today, they're not really driverless. Now Ford and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have 150 hours and 1,800 miles of new data to determine how their autonomous vehicle language works in the real world.

Regulating AI – The Road Ahead


Summary: With only slight tongue in cheek about the road ahead we report on the just passed House of Representative's new "Federal Automated Vehicle Policy" as well as similar policy just emerging in Germany. Just today (9/6/17) the US House of Representatives released its 116 page "Federal Automated Vehicles Policy". Equally as interesting is that just two weeks ago the German federal government published its guidelines for Highly Automated Vehicles (HAV being the new name of choice for these vehicles). On the 6 point automation scale in which 0 is no automation and 5 is where the automated system can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions, the new policy applies to level 3 or higher (though the broad standards also apply to the partial automation in levels 1 and 2).

GM unit says it has 'mass producible' autonomous cars


The General Motors unit developing autonomous vehicles said Monday it has begun rolling out the first "mass producible" self-driving cars that could be available once regulations allow. GM is now in position to begin delivering and deploying autonomous cars on a large scale when regulations are in place to permit their operation. And US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was expected to make an announcement on autonomous technology this week. "We will achieve success by integrating the best software and hardware to deploy truly driverless vehicles at scale."