Robots: AI-Alerts

Airport drone disruption: All major UK airports to have 'military-grade' protection

BBC News

All major UK airports now have or will soon have military grade anti-drone equipment, the government says. It comes after the military were called in to help when drone sightings caused delays for around an hour at Heathrow on Tuesday. And drone sightings at Gatwick caused major disruption affecting 140,000 passengers before Christmas. Earlier, the defence secretary said it would "not be right" to ask the RAF to respond to similar incidents in future. Gavin Williamson said all commercial airports needed to invest in anti-drone technology.

CES 2019: Toyota Lifts the Veil on Its Guardian Driver-Assist System

IEEE Spectrum

Toyota today revealed some of the inner workings of an automation package meant to help drivers rather than replace them. The company also said that if that package had been in operation, it could have prevented or mitigated a recent three-car accident in California. The announcement came at CES 2019, which takes place this week in Las Vegas. Toyota has often spoken of its two-stage research project for self-driving cars. In the long run, it plans to offer a truly driverless technology called Chauffeur.

UBTECH Shows Off Massive Upgrades to Walker Humanoid Robot

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

This week at CES 2019, UBTECH Robotics (which was valued at $5 billion as of mid-2018) is announcing a major update to a walking robot first demonstrated at CES 2018. UBTECH's Walker has gained a torso, arms, hands, and a head, and is now as humanoid as bipedal robots get. UBTECH has posted a couple of new videos, and answered some questions about Walker's capabilities and where our expectations should be. "Walker is your agile smart companion--an intelligent, bipedal humanoid robot that aims to one day be an indispensable part of your family. Standing 4.75 feet (1.45 m) tall and weighing 170 lbs (77 kg), the new version of Walker is more advanced than ever, including arms and hands with the ability to grasp and manipulate objects, a refined torso with improved self-balancing, smooth and stable walking in difficult environments, and multi-modal interaction including voice, vision, and touch. Walker has 36 high-performance actuators and a full range of sensing systems that work together to insure smooth and fast walking."

CES 2019: All the Coolest Stuff We've Seen So Far


Usually, CES robots are a little sad, but Temi is different. Instead of pretending their robot can do a bunch of things it can't, like hold a conversation, the team at Temi focused on the things it can. The Temi Robot has 16 sensors (including LiDAR) that help it recognize people and map out your home. With the tap of a button it can follow you, or go anywhere you ask it. When it gets there, it can play music or media, wirelessly charge devices, act as an Alexa device, and work as a video chat or telepresence bot, among other things.

Police handed new anti-drone powers after Gatwick disruption

The Guardian

Police will be handed extra powers to combat drones after the mass disruption at Gatwick airport in the run-up to Christmas. Gatwick was repeatedly forced to close between 19 and 21 December due to reported drone sightings, affecting about 1,000 flights. In response the government has announced a package of measures which include plans to give police the power to land, seize and search drones. The Home Office will also begin to test and evaluate the use of counter-drone technology at airports and prisons. The exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a 5km-radius (3.1 miles), with additional extensions from runway ends.

A new fleet of autonomous robots is now making one of the world's oldest foods

Washington Post

In the beginning, archaeologists believe, the first breads were created using some of the most rudimentary technologies in human history: fire and stone. In the region that now encompasses Jordan, one of the world's most ancient examples -- a flatbread vaguely resembling pita and made from wild cereal grains and water -- was cooked in large fireplaces using flat basalt stones, according to Reuters. The taste is "gritty and salty," Amaia Arranz-Otaegui, a University of Copenhagen postdoctoral researcher in archaeobotany, told the news service. "But it is a bit sweet, as well." More than 10,000 years later, bread has clearly evolved but, perhaps, not as dramatically as the technology being used to bake it.

Mercedes Aims to Be Among Top Two Players to Scale Autonomous Tech: Paper

U.S. News

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Mercedes-Benz's is not aiming to be the first manufacturer to develop a self-driving car but it wants to be among the first two players able to scale up the technology, Mercedes-Benz executive Christoph Schroeder told German paper Welt am Sonntag.

In 2019, We'll Have Taxis Without Drivers--or Steering Wheels

IEEE Spectrum

A coming milestone in the automobile world is the widespread rollout of Level 4 autonomy, where the car drives itself without supervision. Waymo, the company spun out of Google's self-driving car research, said it would start a commercial Level 4 taxi service by late 2018, although that hadn't happened as of press time. And GM Cruise, in San Francisco, is committed to do the same in 2019, using a Chevrolet Bolt that has neither a steering wheel nor pedals. These cars wouldn't work in all conditions and regions--that's why they're on rung 4 and not rung 5 of the autonomy ladder. But within some limited operational domain, they'll have the look and feel of a fully robotized car.

Hungry between classes? On this college campus, robot vending machines are delivering snacks to students.

Washington Post

In one of the iconic scenes from the teen movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," sun-baked stoner Jeff Spicoli has a double cheese and sausage pizza delivered to his classroom, boldly interrupting his uncompromising instructor mid-lecture. Spicoli was considered a mischievous airhead for flouting early-1980s dining etiquette, but he may actually have been way ahead of his time. More than three decades later, a California campus is embracing a kind of food delivery -- via robot. On Wednesday, students at University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., will be able to order snacks and beverages for the first time from a bright-colored roving robot on wheels known as the "Snackbot." Its stout body perched atop six small wheels, the electric Snackbot resembles some combination of an Igloo cooler and a Volkswagen Microbus.

Wielding Rocks and Knives, Arizonans Attack Self-Driving Cars


At least 21 such attacks have been leveled at Waymo vans in Chandler, as first reported by The Arizona Republic. Some analysts say they expect more such behavior as the nation moves into a broader discussion about the potential for driverless cars to unleash colossal changes in American society. "People are lashing out justifiably," said Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist at City University of New York and author of the book "Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus." He likened driverless cars to robotic incarnations of scabs -- workers who refuse to join strikes or who take the place of those on strike. "There's a growing sense that the giant corporations honing driverless technologies do not have our best interests at heart," Mr. Rushkoff said.