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by   -   April 20, 2017

America’s retailers are closing stores faster than ever while demand for warehouse workers by online retailers is higher than ever. Retailers and logistics companies have been opening facilities at a record pace and in this fast-paced world, warehousing and logistics managers are looking for robotics solutions to remain competitive.

by   -   April 19, 2017

Six to ten years ago, exhibitors at Automate were promoting bin-picking in many, many booths. Bin picking wasn’t mentioned this year because it is an available option these days. For the last six years vendors have been promoting human-robot collaboration in manufacturing. Here’s what I saw this year at the big Automate and ProMat trade shows held last month in Chicago.

by   -   April 18, 2017
A complex interplay of various sensor systems ensures that the SCHUNK Co-act Gripper JL1 permanently records the data of its surrounding. Source: Schunk

Tactile sensing and force feedback are – and have been – problem areas for robot grasping. Humans could see, select and pick so much faster. Yet to handle the millions of different everyday items in our factories and warehouses, costly positioning and camera systems have been required. These systems made it easy for fast robots with simple grippers to pick items as they came along – but at great cost.

Luminar, a bay area startup, has revealed details on their new LIDAR. Unlike all other commercial offerings, this is a LIDAR using 1.5 micron infrared light. They hope to sell it for $1,000.

by   -   April 13, 2017
FANUC_R2000iB at work. Source: Wikipedia Commons

CBS News, and reporter David Pogue, displayed some new technologies threatening jobs, while the International Federation of Robotics suggested that deploying robots actually increases jobs. Are either true? Or both? 

by   -   April 10, 2017

March 2017 had 29 robotics-related startups get funding totaling over $222 million – another solid month for 2017 and $658 million year-to-date. Acquisitions also continued to be substantial with Intel’s eye-popping $15 billion acquisition of Israeli Mobileye. Plus, there were three IPOs.

A new report from Navigant Research includes the chart shown below, ranking various teams on the race to robocar deployment. It’s causing lots of press headlines about how Ford is the top company and companies like Google and Uber are far behind. I elected not to buy the $3,800 report, but based on the summary I believe their conclusions are ill founded to say the least.

CBS News profiled a New Jersey vertical farm providing baby kale, arugula, spinach and romaine to nearby Newark and NYC groceries. They boast 130 times more productivity, 95% less water and no pesticides versus field farms. And they harvest 24 times a year, rain, snow or shine.

by   -   March 31, 2017
Robot in assembly at Hall 52 on June 26, 2013. File: 062513GR34

There is growing demand for more flexibility in factories and shops. Collaborative robotics, a sub-set of service robotics in labs, manufacturing and material handling, is where the action is today because co-bots are meeting these new demands, while caged legacy robots are not.

University students experiment with human-robot interaction and autonomous manipulation, two elements of manufacturing’s future. Nikolaus Correll, CC BY-ND

America’s manufacturing heyday is gone, and so are millions of jobs, lost to modernization. Despite what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin might think, the National Bureau of Economic Research and Silicon Valley executives, among many others, know it’s already happening. And a new report from PwC estimates that 38 percent of American jobs are at “high risk” of being replaced by technology within the next 15 years. The ConversationBut how soon automation will replace workers is not the real problem. The real threat to American jobs will come if China does it first.

The law currently recognizes individuals like you and me. Also companies, organizations and governments can negotiate agreements and liability. These non-natural persons are represented by real people (they should be controlled after all). But what about autonomous systems that take over tasks and make intelligent decisions that might be interpreted as a legal act?

First ride: Encountering a school bus on real city streets in Austin, Texas. Credit: Waymo/Google

Recently we’ve seen a series of startups arise hoping to make robocars with just computer vision, along with radar. That includes recently unstealthed AutoX, the off-again, on again efforts of comma.ai and at the non-startup end, the dedication of Tesla to not use LIDAR because it wants to sell cars today before LIDARs can be bought at automotive quantities and prices.

While Asimov’s laws are organised around the moral value of preventing harm to humans, they are not easy to interpret. We need to stop viewing them as an adequate ethical basis for robotic interactions with people, argues Tom Sorell.

by   -   March 21, 2017

In a poignant play traveling throughout the UK, a robot is co-star and companion to the wife of the (now deceased) robot builder, with the wife developing early Alzheimer’s. The play explores very human themes about love, death, and disease, all handled extremely sensitively with RoboThespian playing a large role.

by   -   March 17, 2017

Amongst all the activity in autonomously driven vehicle joint ventures, new R&D facilities, strategic acquisitions (such as Mobileye being acquired by Intel) and booming startup fundings, two big players in the industry, NVIDIA and Bosch, are partnering to develop an AI self-driving car supercomputer.





Kickstart Accelerator
April 17, 2017


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