Government Should Remove Barriers to Deploying AI, Report Says – MeriTalk


Government and policy-makers shouldn't put up unnecessary barriers to deploying artificial intelligence (AI) over concern of any perceived risks associated with the technology. Instead, policymakers should encourage innovation while crafting targeted solutions for specific problems if they occur, according to a report by the Information Technology Innovation Foundation, a science and technology policy think tank. There are a vast and diverse array of uses for AI, from rapidly analyzing large amounts of data to detecting abnormalities and patterns in transactions to extracting insights from datasets such as the link between a gene and a disease. AI is a field of computer science devoted to creating computer systems that perform operations characteristic of human intelligence, such as learning and decision making. Policy debates around AI are dividing into two positions: those that want to enable innovation, and those who want to slow or stop it, according to the report "Ten Ways the Precautionary Principle Undermines Progress in Artificial Intelligence."

Maritime autonomous surface ships on the horizon


Gard's mission is: Together we enable sustainable maritime development. To deliver on this mission, we explore and support the development of emerging technologies including maritime autonomous surface ships. The Nordic countries are leading the way in this area and we are proud to be collaborating with Yara International (Yara) and their newly established company Yara Birkeland AS that is developing the well-known Norwegian autonomous logistics project, YARA BIRKELAND. Construction of the zero-emission autonomous containership has already begun. When the ship enters service in early 2020, she will be operated by onboard crew while the autonomous systems are being tested and certified safe.

Tesla's main Autopilot safety stat is seriously flawed, research group finds


It turns out that a heavily cited safety stat that Tesla received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) back in 2017 isn't so accurate based on findings from a research group that got their hands on Tesla crash data. Following a deadly Tesla crash involving Autopilot, Tesla's semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance system, a 2017 federal report found that Autopilot led to a 40 percent crash reduction. But last week a small research group finally obtained most of the data NHTSA used to reach that number and found the underlying data was severely flawed. The discovery confirms what the group, Quality Control Systems Corp., and others like this report from Wired last May suspected. People had been skeptical of the data for a long time.

Video Friday: Robotic Gecko Gripper, and More

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

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. The Gecko Gripper uses the same adhesive system for gripping as the feet of a gecko, with millions of fine fibers that adhere to the surface of the workpiece and generate strong van der Waals forces. And then Endeavor spoils everything by reminding us that "this is humor. Snow clearing is not the robot's primary mission."

#279: Safe Robot Learning on Hardware, with Jaime Fernández Fisac


Fisac is interested in ensuring that autonomous systems such as self-driving cars, delivery drones, and home robots can operate and learn in the world--while satisfying safety constraints. Towards this goal, Fisac discusses different examples of his work with unmanned aerial vehicles and talks about safe robot learning in general; including, the curse of dimensionality and how it impacts control problems (including how some systems can be decomposed into simpler control problems), how simulation can be leveraged before trying learning on a physical robot, safe sets, and how a robot can modify its behavior based on how confident it is that its model is correct. Below are two videos of work that was discussed during the interview. The top video is on a framework for learning-based control, and the bottom video discusses adjusting the robot's confidence about a human's actions based on how predictably the human is behaving. Jaime Fernández Fisac is a final-year Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

What Artificial Intelligence(AI) will look like in 100 years from now?


Artificial Intelligence is already transforming our lives. We are surrounded by semi-autonomous cars, robotic machines, smart biometrics which are just a few examples of AI used in technologies around us. Artificial Intelligence is getting better and will be constantly evolving and impacting almost every area such as education, healthcare, entertainment, governance, public safety etc. With more adoption and innovation it has the potential to improve the quality of human life significantly. The growing technology gives great hopes for future.

Airport Surveillance with Drones for Improved Flight Safety – UAS VISION


Future airports will be more and more automated and remotely controlled, and drones are expected to be integrated with daily operations. A newly granted project ASAS – Airport Surveillance for Airport Safety, led by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and to be conducted together with LFV (Luftfartsverket), Swedish Regional Airports (SRF), Örnsköldsvik Airport (OER) and FlyPulse will develop and demonstrate drone solutions to help automate daily operations in airports. With multiple stakeholders from authorities, airports, and related professional domains, the project will identify use cases that address the needs of daily operations at airports, develop and demonstrate drone solutions that help automate the airport operations, improve the airport safety, optimize the resource utilization, and reduce the environmental impacts. As the first in the world and one big step towards automated airports, LFV introduced Remote Tower Center (RTC) in 2015 with which the traffic control for the OER airport was taken over by Sundsvall/Midlanda airport (SDL) through remote control. Again in 2017, connected vehicles were introduced for improving airport safety based on results from the project DRIWS – Digital Runway Incursion Warning Systems, where physical stop-lights were replaced by digital signals within the vehicles for preventing ground vehicles from approaching the runway without clearance from air traffic control (ATC).

Amazon is hauling cargo in self-driving trucks developed by Embark


Generally, Embark trucks operate on roads with test drivers on board. Embark and other firms working on autonomous systems -- including fellow start-ups such as Ike, Thor Trucks and, A lack of available drivers and trucks poses a challenge to e-commerce companies, obviously including Amazon, whose customers expect deliveries in a relatively short time. CNBC asked both companies for further details about how they work together, but both declined to comment specifically on the deal. Embark CEO Alex Rodrigues said, "Embark moves freight for a number of major companies on the I-10, however we cannot discuss any company specifically as our relationships are confidential."

Executing Better By Listening To Public Discontent


In the wake of the closure of Apple's autonomous car division (Project Titan) this week, one questions if Steve Jobs' axiom still holds true. "Some people say, 'Give the customers what they want.' Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do," declared Jobs and continued with an analogy, "I think Henry Ford once said, 'If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'a faster horse!'" Titan joins a growing graveyard of autonomous innovations, which is filled with the tombstones of Baxter, Jibo, Kuri and many broken quadcopters. If anything holds true, not every founder is Steve Jobs or Henry Ford and listening to public sentiment could be a bellwether for success. Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley announced on January 9, 2019 from the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) floor, "It's official. It's the timing… the telemetry of adoption for L5 cars without safety drivers expected by many investors may be too aggressive by a decade… possibly decades."

Volvo self-driving cars green-lit for tests on Swedish public roads Verdict


The Swedish Transport Agency Transportstyrelsen has given Volvo self-driving cars venture Zenuity approval to begin testing driverless cars on public roads. The cars will be tested at a maximum speed of 80km/hour (50mph) on three Swedish highways. Throughout all tests a trained driver will sit behind the wheel, although will keep their hands off it unless an intervention is required. Zenuity is a joint venture between car giant Volvo and Veoneer, a spin-off of vehicle safety company Autoliv specialising in autonomous driving software. The three roads that the self-driving cars will be tested on are the E4 between Stockholm and Malmö, the E6 between Gothenburg and Malmö and road 40 between Jönköping and Gothenburg.