Robots


I was team #DeleteUber. Can Uber's new boss change my mind?

Washington Post

I stopped riding Uber long ago and switched to its rival Lyft. To try to win us back, Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently met me in his office -- and for an Uber ride around San Francisco. He didn't sell me on Uber's market dominance or its cost-conscious "express pool" option. He didn't bring up its flying cars (though they have new plans for that, too). He spoke with baited breath about … safety.


White House will host Amazon, Facebook, Ford and other major companies for summit on AI

Washington Post

The White House on Thursday plans to convene executives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Intel and 34 other major U.S. companies as it seeks to supercharge the deployment of powerful robots, algorithms and the broader field of artificial intelligence. The Trump administration intends to ask academics, government officials and AI developers about ways to adapt regulations to advance AI in such fields as agriculture, health care and transportation, according to a draft schedule of the event. And they're set to discuss the U.S. government's power to fund cutting-edge research into such technologies as machine learning. For the White House, the challenge is to strike a balance between the benefits of computers that can spot disease or drive cars and the reality that jobs – or lives – are at stake in the age of AI. "Whether you're a farmer in Iowa, an energy producer in Texas [or] a drug manufacturer in Boston, you are going to be using these techniques to drive your business going forward," Michael Kratsios, deputy chief technology officer at the White House, said in a recent interview. Among those expected to be in the room for that private gathering Thursday will be representatives from tech giants like Microsoft, Nvidia and Oracle, as well as other businesses like Ford, Land O'Lakes, Mastercard, Pfizer and United Airlines, according to the White House.


Amazon is issued patent for delivery drones that can react to screaming voices, flailing arms

Washington Post

Amazon.com has been granted a new patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures. The concept is part of Amazon's goal to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. Issued earlier this week, the patent may help Amazon grapple with how flying robots might interact with human bystanders and customers waiting on their doorsteps. Depending on a person's gestures -- a welcoming thumbs up, shouting or frantic arm waving -- the drone can adjust its behavior, according to the patent. The machine could release the package it's carrying, alter its flight path to avoid crashing, ask humans a question or abort the delivery, the patent says.


Uber CEO plays it safe in risk-loving Silicon Valley

Washington Post

SAN FRANCISCO - For nearly a year, Uber and Google parent Alphabet clashed over settling a lawsuit Alphabet filed against the ride-sharing company, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Uber chose to gamble for a victory in court rather than compromise, a choice that led to a high-stakes public trial last week.


Uber and Google's Waymo reach surprise settlement in a lawsuit over self-driving technology

Washington Post

BREAKING: Uber and Google's Waymo reached a surprise settlement in a lawsuit over self-driving technology. Uber will give Waymo a small stake in the ride-sharing company in the settlement that was reached on the fifth day of a high-profile lawsuit between the two companies. Uber's CEO in a letter expressed regret for how the company acquired technology at the heart of the lawsuit.



why-darpa-and-nasa-are-building-robot-spacecraft-designed-to-act-like-service-stations-on-orbit

Washington Post

There's a graveyard in space littered with the corpses of dozens of dead satellites, a remote spot in the cosmos reserved to entomb spacecraft at the end of their lives. Even the most robust and expensive satellites eventually break down or run out of fuel, and must be retired to a remote parking orbit more than 22,000 miles away, safely out of the way of other satellites. There, the graveyard holds billions of dollars-worth of some of the most expensive hardware ever to leave the surface of the Earth -- including not just commercial communications satellites, but some of the Pentagon's most sensitive assets, used for spying, guiding bombs and warning against missile launches. Now, the Defense Advanced Projects Agency, NASA and others, are developing technologies that would extend the life of the critical infrastructure in space, preventing satellites from being shipped to the graveyard for years. If successful, the agencies would have fleets of robots with arms and cameras that could inspect, refuel and repair satellites keeping them operational well beyond their expected lifetimes.


Judge delays Waymo trial after Uber withholds alleged evidence

Washington Post

A federal judge on Tuesday delayed a high-profile trial between Uber and Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Alphabet, Google's parent company, saying that a new letter contradicted earlier statements made by the ride-hailing company.


How the Pentagon is preparing for the coming drone wars

Washington Post

More than a decade after the improvised explosive device became the scourge of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon is battling another relatively rudimentary device that threatens to wreak havoc on American troops: the drone.


The most cutting-edge gifts for the techie in your life

Washington Post

They're probably the person in your life you go to help for all your technology needs. So how can you give something good to the tech-savvy person in your life? Here are some suggestions for gifts to delight those who are always looking at the hottest tech trends and products.