The Japan Times

SYDNEY – High-tech shark-spotting drones are patrolling dozens of Australian beaches this summer to quickly identify underwater predators and deliver safety devices to swimmers and surfers faster than traditional lifesavers. As hundreds of people lined up in the early morning sun to take part in a recent ocean swimming race at Bilgola Beach north of Sydney, they did so in the knowledge the ocean had been scanned to keep them safe. "I think it is really awesome," 20-year-old competitor Ali Smith said. "It is cool to see technology and ocean swimming getting together, and hopefully more people will feel safer and get involved." The drones being used are top notch.

Shanghai Subway Surveillance AI Has Database of 2 Billion Faces


The AI algorithm, the name of which can be translated as either Dragon Eye or Dragonfly Eye, was developed by Shanghai-based tech firm Yitu. It works off of China's national database, which consists of all 1.3 billion residents of the Asian nation as well as 500 million more people who have entered the country at some point. Dragon Eye interfaces with the database to detect the faces of individuals. Yitu chief executive and co-founder Zhu Long told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that the purpose of the algorithm is to fight crime and make the world a safer place. "Let's say that we live in Shanghai, a city of 24 million people.

DeepMind Has Simple Tests That Might Prevent Elon Musk's AI Apocalypse


You don't have to agree with Elon Musk's apocalyptic fears of artificial intelligence to be concerned that, in the rush to apply the technology in the real world, some algorithms could inadvertently cause harm. This type of self-learning software powers Uber's self-driving cars, helps Facebook identify people in social-media posts, and let's Amazon's Alexa understand your questions. Now DeepMind, the London-based AI company owned by Alphabet Inc., has developed a simple test to check if these new algorithms are safe. Researchers put AI software into a series of simple, two-dimensional video games composed of blocks of pixels, like a chess board, called a gridworld. It assesses nine safety features, including whether AI systems can modify themselves and learn to cheat.

Getting smart: artificial intelligence and aviation


It is on your smartphone right now, and is likely to be in your aircraft cockpit soon. Artificial intelligence (AI) could be the next step in improving aviation safety, or perhaps the technology that banishes the human pilot from the cockpit. Artificial intelligence can loosely be defined as computers doing things that used to be done by people. But definitions of artificial intelligence are fluid, and the subject has instilled a sense of unease since the premiere of the play Rossum's Universal Robots, nearly a century ago. Capabilities once associated with artificial intelligence, such as calculation, optical character recognition, or indeed, the ability of an autopilot to maintain straight and level flight, have fallen off the definition, as they become commonplace.

Cisco And Tennessee's Transportation CIO Report On Cybersecurity Trends


Digital transformation is rapidly moving the transportation industry from a closed, proprietary and analog ecosystem to open, networked, always-on mobility platform. It is already a prime example of the efficiency and revenue-generating potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) and soon, as we are promised by legacy and upstart automakers, it will become the prototype of the autonomous, AI-driven, robotic future. Becoming digital, however, means a new life in the cybersecurity trenches. Cisco's 2017 Midyear Cybersecurity Report includes interesting findings from a survey of 180 chief information security officers and security operations professionals in the transportation industry. Here are the highlights, buttressed by commentary from Joe Kirk, CIO of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), "moving Tennessee forward" for more than 100 years and winner of a 2017 National Roadway Safety Award.

FaSTrack: Ensuring safe real-time navigation of dynamic systems


Real time autonomous motion planning and navigation is hard, especially when we care about safety. This becomes even more difficult when we have systems with complicated dynamics, external disturbances (like wind), and a priori unknown environments. Our goal in this work is to "robustify" existing real-time motion planners to guarantee safety during navigation of dynamic systems. In control theory there are techniques like Hamilton-Jacobi Reachability Analysis that provide rigorous safety guarantees of system behavior, along with an optimal controller to reach a given goal (see Figure 1). However, in general the computational methods used in HJ Reachability Analysis are only tractable in decomposable and/or low-dimensional systems; this is due to the "curse of dimensionality."

GM Demos Robocars in San Francisco

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Cruise Automation, the self-driving subsidiary of General Motors, has taken observers on rides in a more challenging environment than rival Waymo chose for a similar demonstration a few weeks ago. On Tuesday, Cruise sent a few select journalists through the busy streets of San Francisco. Today, it sent investment analysts as well. Waymo, for its part, conducted its first public rides at a test facility and soon afterward, in the sedate suburban streets of Chandler, Ariz. Both companies deployed versions of GM's Chevrolet Bolt, an all-electric car that can drive an impressively long way on a single charge.

Navya bringing driverless vehicle trials to Perth next year


Perth has been chosen to host a trial of electric-powered autonomous vehicles next year. Run by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) of Western Australia and the Western Australian government, the trial will test Navya's "Autonom" vehicles in "a closed and controlled environment" from April next year. Until then, the state government and the RAC will explore locations for the initial trial and a potential on-road public trial later on. Perth is one of three cities picked for trials of the new type of electric vehicle. The vehicles will be bookable through a smartphone app once rolled out, according to RAC WA, similar to ride-sharing services such as Uber.

Do Self-Driving Cars Dream Of Safe Streets?


Earlier this year at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, Bill Ford said out loud what a lot of people in the auto industry were thinking–or, more precisely, worrying about more than they care to admit. The Ford CEO was talking about the advent of driverless vehicles, a topic that's getting a lot of ink these days as every automaker and some of the biggest players in Silicon Valley pour billions of dollars into the development of "naked" robotic cars (so-called Tier 5 autonomous vehicles, or AVs, without steering wheels or pedals). Engineering the autos will be the easy part, Ford said, because the technology is ramping up quickly. More daunting, though, will be deciding how to program autonomous cars to make life-and-death decisions. "If a vehicle has to choose who does it hit (if it is about to be in an accident), does it save the occupant or 10 pedestrians?



Uber and Volvo announced an agreement where Uber will buy, in time, up to 24,000 specially built Volvo XC90s which will run Uber's self-driving software and, presumably, offer rides to Uber customers. While the rides are some time away, people have made note of this for several reasons. I'm not clear who originally said it -- I first heard it from Marc Andreesen -- but "the truest form of a partnership is called a purchase order." In spite of the scores of announced partnerships and joint ventures announced to get PR in the robocar space, this is a big deal, but it's a sign of the sort of deal car makers have been afraid of. Volvo will be primarily a contract manufacturer here, and Uber will own the special sauce that makes the vehicle work, and it will own the customer.