Robots: AI-Alerts

Robotic inspectors developed to fix wind farms


Fully autonomous robots that are able to inspect damaged wind farms have been developed by Scots scientists. Unlike most drones, they don't require a human operator and could end the need for technicians to abseil down turbines to carry out repairs. The multi-million pound project is showing how the bots can walk, dive, fly and even think for themselves. They're being developed by Orca - the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets hub. The hub bills itself as the largest academic centre of its kind in the world and is led from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh universities through its Centre for Robotics.

Robot-assisted surgery? Automation might not be all bad when it comes to health care


Need to back up personal files outside your computer? Here's a breakdown on the type of hard drives you can choose from to save your important files. Various forms of automation are sweeping through the economy. The thought of machines doing human work and eliminating jobs is a big worry, but it's not all bad. Automation can be a force for good, and health care is an example.

Powerful computer vision algorithms are now small enough to run on your phone


Researchers have shrunk state-of-the-art computer vision models to run on low-power devices. Growing pains: Visual recognition is deep learning's strongest skill. Computer vision algorithms are analyzing medical images, enabling self-driving cars, and powering face recognition. But training models to recognize actions in videos has grown increasingly expensive. This has fueled concerns about the technology's carbon footprint and its increasing inaccessibility in low-resource environments.

These Small Cars Can Help Drive the Autonomous Future


Over the next three years, Houssam Abbas will carefully send 80 modified Traxxas RC rally cars--the Ford Fiesta model--to research facilities around the country. Some will go to Arizona State University, others to Clemson University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, UCLA, Vanderbilt University, or the University of Iowa. In each place, researchers will open their packages, take out the 21-inch, modified, 1/10th-scale car, and begin to run tests. Abbas, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Oregon State University, hopes the toys are the key to cracking the self-driving car. He and colleagues believe their miniature, cheap, open source, self-driving "platform" will give 33 scientists of all stripes chances to experiment with cutting-edge technology at a critical moment: before autonomous vehicles hit the streets en masse.

UPS has won approval to run the first drone delivery airline in the US


It will still be a while before you are able to order drone-delivered packages, however. The news: The Federal Aviation Administration has granted UPS's drone business a Part 135 certification, meaning it is treated as a full-fledged airline, able to operate as many drones in as many locations as it wishes (although there are a lot of obstacles and caveats before that can happen in reality). UPS has dubbed its new drone airline "UPS Flight Forward," and it's the first in the US to gain official recognition. Currently: UPS has been providing a drone delivery service at the WakeMed hospital and campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, since March, moving medical samples around the site about 10 times a day. This new certification means UPS can expand beyond this site.

'It's going to be a revolution': driverless cars in new London trial


Work to bring driverless cars to Britain's streets has reached a milestone with the first demonstration of an autonomous fleet driving in a "complex urban environment" in London. Ford Mondeos fitted with autonomous technology from the UK tech firm Oxbotica operated on public roads around the former Olympic Park in Stratford this week. Driven programme, a partially government-funded consortium, said it had "exceeded their initial plan" and was a significant step in confirming autonomous vehicles could operate in real-life situations in a large European city. Oxbotica said first passenger trials of a separate venture, an autonomous ride-sharing taxi service planned with the cab firm Addison Lee in the capital, could now start in June 2020. The Driven team – a combination of local authority planners, insurers, cyber-security and data experts, as well as Oxbotica – have been conducting trials in Oxford to examine what they called the "ecosystem" around autonomous vehicles, such as potential problems with hackers, communications technology and the legal framework.

Asimov's Three Laws Have Failed the Robots


Prolific science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) developed the Three Laws of Robotics in the hope of guarding against potentially dangerous artificial intelligence. They first appeared in his 1942 short story Runaround. "Many computer engineers use the three laws as a tool for how they think about programming," says Chris Stokes, a philosopher at Wuhan University in China. But the trouble is, they don't work. In "Why the Three Laws of Robotics Do Not Work," published in the International Journal of Research in Engineering and Innovation, Stokes writes that "the Three Laws are not sufficient when it comes to controlling an artificial intelligence."

Sampling-Based Robot Motion Planning

Communications of the ACM

In recent years, robots play an active role in everyday life: medical robots assist in complex surgeries; search-and-rescue robots are employed in mining accidents; and low-cost commercial robots clean houses. There is a growing need for sophisticated algorithmic tools enabling stronger capabilities for these robots. One fundamental problem that robotic researchers grapple with is motion planning--which deals with planning a collision-free path for a moving system in an environment cluttered with obstacles.13,29 To a layman, it may seem the wide use of robots in modern life implies that the motion-planning problem has already been solved. This is far from true.

How Self-Driving Cars "See" the World


Modern cars bear little resemblance to their early ancestors, but the basic action of steering a vehicle has always remained the same. Whether you're behind the wheel of a Tesla or a vintage Model T, turning the wheel dictates the direction of movement. This simple premise, which places humans at the center of control, may be ripe for disruption as tech giants and car companies race toward a future that would render human-controlled vehicles obsolete. How does this next generation of self-driving cars "see" the road? Today's video from TED-Ed explains one of the mind-bending innovations making autonomous vehicles a reality.

Japan faces urgent need to develop autonomous transportation system due to graying society, shortage of drivers

The Japan Times

With an aging population and a growing shortage of drivers, Japan is a country where autonomous transportation services would seem to have a bright future. Demand is particularly high for self-driving trucks in regions with few alternatives to hauling freight by road, such as Hokkaido. Among truck manufacturers, UD Trucks Corp., a Japanese unit of Sweden's AB Volvo, has teamed up with an agricultural cooperative in the northern prefecture that is increasingly concerned about the declining number of delivery truck drivers. The company has been testing its autonomous heavy-duty trucks on a 1.5-km-long (about 1 mile) designated route in and around a sugar factory in Shari, eastern Hokkaido. The truck is capable of Level 4 self-driving, meaning it performs all driving tasks without human intervention within a limited area, even in emergencies.