Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. Can someone please teach me how to be that stylish? This week Rolls-Royce announced that they're working on small robots designed to inspect engines: What's getting a little bit lost in the announcement is that the robots themselves are based on (and perhaps, at this point, entirely identical to) Harvard's HAMR robot that we covered back in February: The Velodyne VLS-128 is the world's most advanced LiDAR sensor.
The term "self-driving car" might conjure up images of an autonomous four-door sedan, but self-driving vehicles are likely to take many forms, including shapes that have never before been considered for transportation. Consider the Nuro self-driving delivery vehicle, currently slated to begin public tests this fall with the grocery store Kroger. Nuro's self-driving delivery vehicle has space for groceries, but not for passengers.Nuro and Kroger This vehicle was specifically designed to deliver goods on public roads. So it has a chassis and drivetrain appropriate for the street, but is small and efficient, with no space for passengers. On the other end of the spectrum are self-driving shuttles from companies like Navya and May Mobility.
John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, stands with the Jaguar I-Pace vehicle, March 27, in New York. Self-driving car pioneer Waymo will buy up to 20,000 of the electric vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover to help realize its vision for a robotic ride-hailing service. The commitment announced Tuesday marks another step in Waymo's evolution from a secret project started in Google nine years ago to a spin-off that's gearing up for an audacious attempt to reshape the transportation business. Speaking in a fireside chat at the National Governors Association meeting Friday, Waymo CEO John Krafcik told the gathering that the "time period will be longer than you think" for automated vehicles to be everywhere. Krafcik spent his conversation with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval emphasizing the need for safety in developing automated driving systems and at the same time tempering some of the expectations caused by the hype around this technology.
Project Titan, Apple's secretive autonomous car program, is expanding. The Cupertino company has added 11 new test vehicles to its fleet in California, according to MacReports, boosting the total to 66. That's up from 55 in May. The program is rumored to be related to a self-driving platform Apple intends to provide to automobile manufacturers, though the company has yet to apply for an autonomous driving permit. It kicked off semiautonomous trial runs with three 2015 Lexus RX 450h SUVs roughly a year ago, in April 2017, after receiving licenses from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. "We're focusing on autonomous systems," Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg Television last year, in one of the few public descriptions of Project Titan.
Drones and other unmanned systems are to be tested on Salisbury Plain by the British military, to tackle the costly and often dangerous task of delivering essential supplies to frontline troops. One such company is Animal Dynamics, a spinout from Oxford University. The startup has turned to recent advances in computational analysis to help it learn from nature and challenge engineering conventions. By tapping into design lessons from millions of years of evolution, Animal Dynamics is producing machines that mirror the mechanics of animals to help them perform better and move more efficiently. The Financial Times reports that Stork, the firm's autonomous paraglider, is one of five unmanned transport concepts chosen by the British government's Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory for assessment during a four-week military exercise on Salisbury Plain this November.
Boeing announced on Tuesday that the company will collaborate with AI technology leader SparkCognition to deliver unmanned aircraft traffic management systems. Artificial intelligence and blockchain technology will be used to track unmanned aerial vehicle in flight and on the ground while allocating appropriate corridors for traffic routing to ensure safe, effective transportation. The program will also aim to provide a standardized development interface for package delivery, industrial inspections, and other commercial applications. Boeing HorizonX Ventures previously invested in SparkCognition for support developing an analytics platform for the reliability of data technology. Founder and CEO of SparkCognition Amir Husain said, "Estimated by some analysts at $3 trillion, the urban aerial mobility opportunity will lead to the creation of the largest new market in our lifetimes.
Goodwood Festival of Speed is the place to be if you're into cars and tech. The huge event in West Sussex has evolved a lot over the 25 years of its existence too, much like the vehicles it showcases. While a lot of those creations are from yesteryear, FOS always features the latest in cutting edge technology, some of which could be found in the Goodwood Festival of Speed Future Lab for 2018. Inside there you could also enjoy a virtual reality autonomous trip, but we managed to go one better and experience the real thing. This year, as part of the 25th FOS anniversary celebrations, Siemens came up with a cool idea by fitting out a 1965 Ford Mustang with all the kit to make it fully autonomous.
Dropping your phone might be about to become slightly less painful. Gorilla Glass – which makes the glass for just about every premium phone – has been upgraded and so newer phones should be far less likely to smash. Manufacturer Corning claims the new glass is twice as likely to survive drops as its predecessor. It can also can survive 15 drops from 1m in height onto rough surfaces, it claimed. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.
Embark co-founders Alex Rodrigues, left, and Brandon Moak with their fleet of autonomous semi-trucks at the startup's operations center in Ontario, California. Ask Embark Trucks CEO Alex Rodrigues how his small autonomous tech startup can compete with giants in the space like Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo or Uber and the confident 22-year-old is ready with an answer. "We're able to move really fast," he told Forbes aboard the cab of one of Embark's sensor-laden Peterbilt semi-trucks as it barreled down the I-10 on a sunny morning, hauling a commercial load from Ontario, California, to Phoenix. As required by law a safety driver's hands are on the wheel, but the big rig is driving itself down the busy highway. "Waymo may have the conglomerate advantage' of build once, use many times," he said, because its new robot truck program has the same tech that goes into its self-driving minivans.