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Why is Toyota Developing Humanoid Robots?

#artificialintelligence

Have you ever heard of T-HR3?First launched by Toyota in 2017, it's a humanoid robot capable of flexible movements that mirror the actions of its remote human operator, and of sharing the force exerted by and on the robot with the operator using force feedback.The new and improved T-HR3, which the company will demonstrate at the 2019 International Robotic Exhibition in Tokyo, is now able to execute more difficult tasks than before, including walking in a more natural manner.What new robotics functions did the development team achieve, and what kind of future does Toyota hope to realize with this research? One lucky Toyota PR team member met with T-HR3 Development Team Leader Tomohisa Moridaira to find out.


Bay Area drone company Zipline starts delivering medicine in Japan

#artificialintelligence

TOKYO -- Zipline, an American company that specializes in using autonomously flying drones to deliver medical supplies, has taken off in Japan. Other parts of Japan may follow, including urban areas, although the biggest needs tend to be in isolated rural areas. Zipline, founded six years ago, already is in service in the U.S., where it has partnered with Walmart Inc. to deliver other products at the retail chain as well as drugs. It is also delivering medical goods in Ghana and Rwanda. Its takeoff in Japan is in partnership with Toyota Tsusho, a group company of Japan's top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. "You can totally transform the way that you react to pandemics, treat patients and do things like home health care delivery," Zipline Chief Executive Keller Rinaudo told The Associated Press.


Honda's Asimo robot to retire after 20-year career wowing the public

The Japan Times

Honda Motor Co.'s Asimo humanoid robot will retire on Thursday, ending its 20-year career of wowing the public with walking and dancing demonstrations at a showroom at the automaker's Tokyo headquarters. Since its debut in 2000, Asimo has become a symbol of Japan's pioneering robot technology, mastering the abilities to run, hop on one leg, speak sign language using five fingers and pour coffee into a paper cup from a tumbler. But Honda stopped all development of Asimo in recent years after last upgrading it in 2011 to give it the ability to make autonomous decisions such as avoiding bumping into someone while walking. In September of last year, the Japanese automaker announced a plan to develop an avatar robot, allowing a user to operate it virtually from a remote location. The new robot will be equipped with a multifingered hand and an original AI-supported remote control function, the company said.


Honda sees its future in air taxis, rockets and moon robots

The Japan Times

Car and motorbike maker Honda Motor Co. is positioning itself for a vertical takeoff. The Tokyo-based company is embarking on efforts to field a new electric-hybrid air taxi, a robot with human-like hands that may one day toil on the moon and a reusable rocket to carry small satellites into space more economically. Honda's vision of how people will work, travel and spend leisure time in the future will help expand its business beyond cars, lawn mowers and motorcycles. The efforts are a key component of Honda's "2030 Vision" to broaden the definition of mobility and to improve peoples' daily lives. The automaker, which also has a niche business in small planes, is a newcomer to the space industry, dominated today by established defense contractors such as Boeing Co. and well-funded upstarts such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin.


Toyota's self-driving shuttles return to the Paralympics following crash

Engadget

Toyota's e-Palette is back in service. As Roadshow reports, the automaker has resumed use of its self-driving shuttle at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo following a collision with a visually impaired athlete. Not surprisingly, both Toyota and the games' Organizing Committee have made changes in light of the crash -- they've determined that both the autonomous vehicle and the circumstances around it were to blame. The company noted there were only two guide people at the intersection where the collision occurred, making it difficult for them to watch all vehicles and pedestrians at the same time. It simply wasn't possible to ensure safety at this signal-free intersection without everyone working together, Toyota said.


Tokyo 2020: Toyota restarts driverless vehicles after accident

BBC News

In a statement late on Monday Toyota said: "The vehicle's sensor detected the pedestrian crossing and activated the automatic brake, and the operator also activated the emergency brake. The vehicle and pedestrians, however, came into contact before it came to a complete halt."


Toyota to restart self-driving Olympic village vehicles with more safety staff

The Japan Times

Toyota Motor Corp. said on Monday it would resume operations of its self-driving e-Palette pods at the athletes village for the Tokyo Paralympics with greater operator control and more safety staff to ensure they do not hit any more people. The e-Palettes were halted after one of the vehicles collided with and injured a visually impaired Japanese athlete at a junction last week, prompting an apology from Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda. "The vehicle's sensor detected the pedestrian crossing and activated the automatic brake, and the operator also activated the emergency brake. The vehicle and pedestrians, however, came into contact before it came to a complete halt," Toyota said in a statement Monday. Aramitsu Kitazono was not seriously injured in the incident, but had to pull out of the judo event on Saturday because of cuts and bruises, further embarrassing the company, which along with other global automakers is trying to develop autonomous vehicles that can operate safely on public roads.


Toyota pauses Paralympics self-driving buses after one hits visually impaired athlete

The Guardian

Toyota has apologised for the "overconfidence" of a self-driving bus after it ran over a Paralympic judoka in the athletes' village and said it would temporarily suspend the service. The Japanese athlete, Aramitsu Kitazono, will be unable to compete in his 81kg category this weekend after being left with cuts and bruises following the impact with the "e-Palette" vehicle. His injuries prompted a personal intervention from the president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda. As part of its sponsorship of Tokyo 2020, Toyota has been showcasing its autonomous vehicles via a shuttle service, which has been running around the clock in the athletes' village. On Thursday, however, one of the buses pulled away from a T-junction and drove through a pedestrian crossing while Kitazono, a visually impaired athlete, was walking across.


Toyota's basketball robot stuns at the Tokyo Olympics with its flick of the wrist

Washington Post - Technology News

While CUE is experiencing a moment in the spotlight, the robot isn't the best three-point shooter the world has ever known. American podiatrist Tom Amberry set the world record for humans, 2,750 consecutive shots, in 1993 at age 71. Ted St. Martin of Jacksonville, Fla., pushed the consecutive mark to 5,221 in 1996 and still holds the record today. Others have achieved a number of basketball shooting feats, some while blindfolded.


Intel's Mobileye takes its autonomous vehicle testing program to New York City – TechCrunch

#artificialintelligence

Mobileye, a subsidiary of Intel, has expanded its autonomous vehicle testing program to New York City as part of its strategy to develop and deploy the technology. New York City joins a number of other cities, including Detroit, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo, where Mobileye has either launched testing or plans to this year. Mobileye launched its first test fleet in Jerusalem in 2018 and added one in Munich in 2020. "If we want to build something that will scale, we need to be able to drive in challenging places and almost everywhere," Mobileye president and CEO Amnon Shashua said during a presentation Tuesday that was streamed live. As part of the announcement, Mobileye also released a 40-minute unedited video of one of its test vehicles equipped with a self-driving system navigating New York's city streets.