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Boeing's Starliner carried a 'Kerbal Space Program' character to the ISS

Engadget

It was an important milestone for a company that has, at least in the popular imagination, struggled to catch up with SpaceX. So it's fitting how Boeing decided it would celebrate a successful mission. When the crew of the ISS opened the hatch to Starliner, they found a surprise inside the spacecraft. Floating next to Orbital Flight Test-2's seated test dummy was a plush toy representing Jebediah Kerman, one of four original "Kerbonauts" featured in Kerbal Space Program. Jeb, as he's better known by the KSP community, served as the flight's zero-g indicator. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took a small doll with him on the first-ever human spaceflight, and ever since it has become a tradition for most space crews to carry plush toys with them to make it easy to see when they've entered a microgravity environment.


A draft open standard for an Ethical Black Box

Robohub

About 5 years ago we proposed that all robots should be fitted with the robot equivalent of an aircraft Flight Data Recorder to continuously record sensor and relevant internal status data. We call this an ethical black box (EBB). We argued that an ethical black box will play a key role in the processes of discovering why and how a robot caused an accident, and thus an essential part of establishing accountability and responsibility. Since then, within the RoboTIPS project, we have developed and tested several model EBBs, including one for an e-puck robot that I wrote about in this blog, and another for the MIRO robot. With some experience under our belts, we have now drafted an Open Standard for the EBB for social robots – initially as a paper submitted to the International Conference on Robots Ethics and Standards.


Swoop Aero gets green light from Australian aviation authority for drone centre

ZDNet

Since completing a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her fair share of covering various topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet. Drone company Swoop Aero has been given the thumbs up by Australia's Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) to operate its drone logistics remote operations centre (ROC) at the company's campus in Port Melbourne Victoria. According to the company, the approval means the company will be able to "operate like an international airliner" and centralise its operations in one facility, including remotely monitoring its global operations across Oceania, Africa, and Europe, as well as pilot up to five drones by a single pilot beyond the physical view of the aircraft through a web interface. "The ROC will serve as an important function to foster complete visibility of drone operations. From a regulatory perspective, the ROC ensures Swoop Aero is meeting the highest aviation and safety standards at a global level," Swoop Aero chief regulatory officer Zachary Kennedy said.


UK's Royal Mail aims to open up to 50 drone routes for rural deliveries

Engadget

The UK's Royal Mail wants to set up as many as 50 drone routes over the next three years to make deliveries to remote communities. The plan, which requires approval from the Civil Aviation Authority, would see the service secure up to 200 of the autonomous devices from logistics drone company Windracers. The Royal Mail said the first communities to benefit would be the Isles of Scilly (off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England) and the Scottish islands of Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides. Test flights started last year. In the most recent one, held in April, the service was able to use a UAV to deliver mail to Unst, Britain's most northerly inhabited island, from Tingwall Airport on Shetland's largest island.


Jersey Mike's to offer its subs by drone

ZDNet

Greg Nichols covers robotics, AI, and AR/VR for ZDNet. A full-time journalist and author, he writes about tech, travel, crime, and the economy for global media outlets and reports from across the U. You might think you should look down toward the water to spot a sub. If you're in North Carolina, you'd be better off looking up. That terrible joke is brought to you by a drone delivery services company called Flytrex, which just announced a partnership with Jersey Mike's Subs.


Royal Mail is building 500 drones to carry mail to remote communities

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Royal Mail is building a fleet of 500 drones to carry mail to remote communities all over the UK, including the Isles of Scilly and the Hebrides. The postal service, which has already conducted successful trials over Scotland and Cornwall, will create more than 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years as part of a new partnership with London company Windracers. Drones, or UAVs (uncrewed aerial vehicles), can help reduce carbon emissions and improve the reliability of island mail services, Royal Mail claims. They offer an alternative to currently-used delivery methods that can be affected by bad weather – ferries, conventional aircraft and land-based deliveries. They can also take off from any flat surface (sand, grass or tarmac) providing it is long enough.


AI Ethics in Action: Making the Black Box Transparent - DATAVERSITY

#artificialintelligence

In my third article about the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI), I look at operationalizing AI ethics. Human intelligence remains a key factor – to keep a watchful eye on potential biases. Amazon caused a stir in late 2018 with media reports that it had abandoned an AI-powered recruitment tool because it was biased against women. Conceived as a piece of in-house software that could sift through hundreds of CVs at lightspeed and accurately identify the best candidates for any open position, the application had acquired one bad habit: It had come to favor men over women for software developer jobs and other technical roles. It had learned from past data that more men applied for and held these positions, and it now misread male dominance in tech as a reflection of their superiority, not social imbalances.


Rapid adaptation of deep learning teaches drones to survive any weather

#artificialintelligence

To be truly useful, drones--that is, autonomous flying vehicles--will need to learn to navigate real-world weather and wind conditions. Right now, drones are either flown under controlled conditions, with no wind, or are operated by humans using remote controls. Drones have been taught to fly in formation in the open skies, but those flights are usually conducted under ideal conditions and circumstances. However, for drones to autonomously perform necessary but quotidian tasks, such as delivering packages or airlifting injured drivers from a traffic accident, drones must be able to adapt to wind conditions in real time--rolling with the punches, meteorologically speaking. To face this challenge, a team of engineers from Caltech has developed Neural-Fly, a deep-learning method that can help drones cope with new and unknown wind conditions in real time just by updating a few key parameters.


Demystifying Black-Box Models with SHAP Value Analysis - DataScienceCentral.com

#artificialintelligence

As an Applied Data Scientist at Civis, I implemented the latest data science research to solve real-world problems. We recently worked with a global tool manufacturing company to reduce churn among their most loyal customers. A newly proposed tool, called SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanation) values, allowed us to build a complex time-series XGBoost model capable of making highly accurate predictions for which customers were at risk, while still allowing for an individual-level interpretation of the factors that made each of these customers more or less likely to churn. To understand why this is important, we need to take a closer look at the concepts of model accuracy and interpretability. Until recently, we always had to choose between an accurate model that was hard to interpret, or a simple model that was easy to explain but sacrificed some accuracy.


Rapid Adaptation Of Deep Learning Teaches Drones To Survive Any Weather

#artificialintelligence

To be truly useful, drones--that is, autonomous flying vehicles--will need to learn to navigate real-world weather and wind conditions. Right now, drones are either flown under controlled conditions, with no wind, or are operated by humans using remote controls. Drones have been taught to fly in formation in the open skies, but those flights are usually conducted under ideal conditions and circumstances. However, for drones to autonomously perform necessary but quotidian tasks, such as delivering packages or airlifting injured drivers from a traffic accident, drones must be able to adapt to wind conditions in real time--rolling with the punches, meteorologically speaking. To face this challenge, a team of engineers from Caltech has developed Neural-Fly, a deep-learning method that can help drones cope with new and unknown wind conditions in real time just by updating a few key parameters.