Ioannis K. Erripis studies mechanical engineering and works as designer & developer at Velocityfarm. He is passionate about robotics and UAVs, they sum up everything that fascinates him, from aviation and space, to science fiction and industrial design.
Ioannis regularly reports on technology related subjects through his blog Robotpig.net. He joined the ROBOTS association in early 2011 as a news reporter for the ROBOTS podcast and robots.net and now leads all technical aspects of the Robohub project, including website design, implementation and branding. He is also responsible for all social media aspects of both the ROBOTS podcast and Robohub.
In a surprise move today, Toyota held a press conference (see video below) announcing a substantial investment in robotics and AI research to develop “advanced driving support” technology, with former Program Manager of DARPA’s DRC Gill Pratt directing the overall project as Executive Technical Advisor. Toyota will allocate USD$50M over the next five years in a partnership with MIT’s CSAIL (headed by Daniela Rus) and Stanford’s SAIL (headed by Fei-Fei Li) to develop research facilities in Stanford and Cambridge.
Fifteen years after it was founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin completed a successful test flight of its ‘New Shepard’ suborbital system and emerged from their secretive modus operandi, where only the absolutely necessary information were released, to take on a drastically more extrovert profile.
Following a Kubrick’s 2001 lookalike teaser video, 3D Robotics (3DR) presented their most ambitious product yet, ‘SOLO’ – an advanced quadcopter that above all focuses on ease of use and hassle-free operation, along with some quite unique features.
Several hours ago, ISS astronauts opened the cargo bay of the Dragon spacecraft that was recently berthed to the space station. It was both the 7th successful Dragon mission and the 5th successful ISS dock (under NASA’s CRS program) — a perfect record, which on its own is exceptional. Dragon missions are becoming so uneventful now that they are starting to look routine. SpaceX is advancing rapidly, however, and despite this weekend’s failed attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon9 rocket on an unmanned barge mid-ocean, it remains the most impressive feature of the ongoing CRS-5 mission.
UPDATE: ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The signal confirming the successful touchdown arrived on Earth at 16:03 GMT (17:03 CET), it’s the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved and it’s a great milestone for space exploration and Europe.
A very unfortunate incident for NASA and the commercial orbital transportation services program took place yesterday. The Antares rocket that was about to send the Cygnus spacecraft on the ISS exploded a few seconds after its launch from NASA’s Wallops flight facilities. No casualties or even small injuries were reported, although the area is being contained and treated with caution. It is a major incident for US spaceflight that breaks a trouble-free period and could have important implications for the private spaceflight sector.
[Jaguar XF, ESC test by EuroNCAP – photo: EuroNCAP ]
Did you know that the majority of the cars we buy and drive today are able to act by themselves and maneuver themselves out of an accident? They can also beat the best human drivers in breaking accuracy and manage even the most finicky engines. Our cars may not yet be fully autonomous but they’re much closer to driving themselves than we realize.
Google completed a major step in its self-driving cars project by presenting its first purpose-built autonomous car. The car, which has no steering wheel or controls, can accommodate two people and some luggage.
UK’s Ministry of Defense invested 1.1M GBP in a new robotic mannequin that will test protective suits and equipment for the UK’s armed forces. The project is named “Porton Man” and is able to emulate the movements of a soldier (march, sit, kneel and pose). It is equipped with more than a hundred sensors that monitor in real-time the performance of the tested article.