Robots in the work place can perform hazardous or even 'impossible' tasks; e.g., toxic waste clean-up, desert and space exploration, and more. AI researchers are also interested in the intelligent processing involved in moving about and manipulating objects in the real world.
A new report says Uber plans to roll out a fleet of food-delivery drones by 2021. A drone flies over a city. Uber's flight ambitions expand beyond just shuttling people. It also includes delivering food. According to a job posting spotted by The Wall Street Journal, Uber is looking to hire an executive to help launch its drone food delivery program known internally as UberExpress.
In a quiet corner of rural Hampshire, a robot called Rachel is pootling around an overgrown field. With bright orange casing and a smartphone clipped to her back end, she looks like a cross between an expensive toy and the kind of rover used on space missions. Up close, she has four USB ports, a disc-like GPS receiver, and the nuts and bolts of a system called Lidar, which enables her to orient herself using laser beams. She cost around £2,000 to make. Every three seconds, Rachel takes a closeup photograph of the plants and soil around her, which will build into a forensic map of the field and the wider farm beyond. After 20 minutes or so of this, she is momentarily disturbed by two of the farm's dogs, unsure what to make of her.
Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defense, and more. These machines--some fully autonomous, some requiring human input--extend our grasp, enhance our capabilities, and travel as our surrogates to places too dangerous or difficult for us to go. Gathered here are recent images of robotic technology, including a Japanese probe reaching a distant asteroid, bipedal-robot fighting matches in Japan, a cuddly cat-substitute robotic pillow, an automated milking machine, delivery bots, telepresence robots, technology on the fashion runway, robotic prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons, and much more.
Nearly halfway into the NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys are 3–3 and sit 20th out of 32 on ESPN's power ranking index, which gives them a less than 50–50 shot at making the playoffs. So fans of America's Team don't have a whole lot to get excited about. Unless, that is, they like riding in robot cars. Today, startup Drive.ai is launching a self-driving car service in Arlington, Texas, which sits halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth and is home to the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium. The service will run several routes in multiple parts of the city, bustling to and from big venues including that stadium, Globe Life Park (where baseball's Texas Rangers play), and the Arlington Convention Center.
Three former executives at Google, Tesla and Uber who once raced to be the first to develop self-driving cars have adopted a new strategy: Slow down. At their new company Aurora Innovation, which is developing self-driving technology for carmakers including Volkswagen and Hyundai, the rules are simple: No flashy launches, mind-blowing timelines or hyper-choreographed performances on closed tracks. "No demo candy," said Chris Urmson, a co-founder and former head of Google's self-driving car team. Aurora's long-game technique reflects a new phase for the hyped promise of computer-piloted supercars: a more subdued, more pragmatic way of addressing the tough realities of the most complicated robotic system ever built. In the wake of several high-profile crashes that dented public enthusiasm in autonomous cars, Aurora's executives are urging their own industry to face a reality check, saying lofty promises risk confusing passengers and dooming the technology before it can truly take off.
Delivery drones are real and they're operating on a national level, but they're not dropping off impulse purchases, and some of the most important applications are not in the United States. Zipline, a Bay Area startup, inked a deal with the government of Rwanda in 2016 and now uses small, autonomous planes to deliver medical supplies, and in particular blood, to rural communities across the African country. "It's a pretty cool paradigm shift for people who think all technological revolution is going on in US, and it'll trickle down to poor countries," says Zipline CEO, Keller Rinaudo, presenting his vision for drone deliveries on stage at the WIRED25 summit in San Francisco on Monday. "This is the opposite of that." Amazon created an internet-wide buzz when it announced it wanted to start delivering online shopping via drone, in a 60 Minutes interview in 2013.
America's first autonomous robot farm launched last week, in the hopes that artificial intelligence (AI) can remake an industry facing a serious labor shortage and pressure to produce more crops. Claiming an ability to "grow 30 times more produce than traditional farms" on the strength of AI software, year-round, soilless hydroponic processes, and moving plants as they grow to efficiently use space, the San Carlos, California-based company Iron Ox aims to address some of the agricultural industry's biggest challenges. Such challenges have also caught the attention of investors, who made more than $10bn in investments last year, representing a 29% increase from 2016. In a 2,000-sq ft grow space, leafy greens and herbs are planted in individual pots housed in 4ft by 8ft white "grow modules", which weigh about 800lb. Autonomous machines do the heavy lifting, farming and sensing.
Other companies experimenting in Arizona with similar technology include Waymo. The Google spinoff has been trying out robotic cars to help commuters get to stops on Phoenix's transit system. The company is also conducting a pilot program with Walmart shoppers taking the vehicles to pick up online grocery orders. Supermarket chain Kroger Co. recently partnered with Nuro, a Silicon Valley startup founded by ex-Google engineers, to test delivering groceries with driverless cars in the suburb of Scottsdale.
Wherever artificial intelligence is deployed, you will find it has failed in some amusing way. Take the strange errors made by translation algorithms that confuse having someone for dinner with, well, having someone for dinner. But as AI is used in ever more critical situations, such as driving autonomous cars, making medical diagnoses, or drawing life-or-death conclusions from intelligence information, these failures will no longer be a laughing matter. That's why DARPA, the research arm of the US military, is addressing AI's most basic flaw: it has zero common sense. "Common sense is the dark matter of artificial intelligence," says Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for AI, a research nonprofit based in Seattle that is exploring the limits of the technology.