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by   -   February 20, 2017

Costs for electrifying Caltrain are projected to run over $1.5 billion. In this article, Brad Templeton examines an alternative: a robotic transit line that uses self-driving cars, vans and buses.

by   -   February 10, 2017

I generally pay very little attention when companies issue a press release about an “alliance.” It’s usually not a lot more than a press release, unless there are details on what will actually be built. The recent announcement that Uber plans to buy some self-driving cars from Daimler/Mercedes is mostly just such an announcement.

by   -   February 8, 2017

California published its summary of all the reports submitted by vendors testing robocars in the state. You can read the individual reports. They are interesting, but several other outlines have created summaries of the reports calculating things like the number of interventions per mile. On these numbers, Google’s lead is extreme. Of over 600,000 autonomous miles driven by the various teams, Google/Waymo was 97% of them — in other words, 30 times as much as everybody else put together.

by   -   February 3, 2017

Part 2: Autonomous Systems and Transparency

In my previous post I argued that a wide range of AI and Autonomous Systems (from now on I will just use the term AS as shorthand for both) should be regarded as Safety Critical. I include both autonomous software AI systems and hard (embodied) AIs such as robots, drones and driverless cars. Many will be surprised that I include in the soft AI category apparently harmless systems such as search engines. Of course no-one is seriously inconvenienced when Amazon makes a silly book recommendation, but consider very large groups of people. If a truth (such as global warming) is – because of accidental or willful manipulation – presented as false, and that falsehood is believed by a very large number of people, then serious harm to the planet (and we humans who depend on it) could result.

by   -   January 27, 2017

ehang

Earlier I posted my gallery of CES gadgets and included a photo of the eHang 184 from China, a “personal drone” able, in theory, to carry a person up to 100kg.

Whether the eHang is real or not, some version of the personal automated flying vehicle is coming, and it’s not that far away. When I talk about robocars, I am often asked “what about flying cars?” and there will indeed be competition between them. There are a variety of factors that will affect that competition, and many other social effects not yet much discussed.

by   -   January 26, 2017

With machine intelligence emerging as an essential tool in many aspects of modern life, Alan Winfield discusses autonomous sytems, safety and regulation.

by   -   January 20, 2017
Tesla Model S autopilot-software. Source: Tesla
Tesla Model S autopilot-software. Source: Tesla

NHTSA released the report from their Office of Defects Investigation on the fatal Tesla crash in Florida last spring. It’s a report that is surprisingly favorable to Tesla. So much so that even I am surprised.

by   -   January 17, 2017

3d-printed-divergent3d-ces2017

CES is the big event for major car makers to show off robocar technology. Most of the north hall, and a giant parking lot next to it, were devoted to car technology and self-driving demos.

by   -   January 11, 2017

Brad Templeton offers his learned perspective on recent reports from the Netherlands that a Tesla AutoPilot correctly predicted a collision

by   -   December 29, 2016

car-wash

We tend to assume that automation is a process that continues – that once some human activity has been automated there’s no going back. That automation sticks. But, as Paul Mason pointed out in a recent column that assumption is wrong.

by   -   December 29, 2016

For all of us who participated in the Jibo IndieGoGo crowdfunding and are anxiously awaiting delivery – which has been delayed again – this Chinese knock-off came as quite a surprise.

by   -   December 27, 2016

Alan Winfield introduces the recently published IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems…

by   -   December 26, 2016
Image: Kenguru
Image: Kenguru

Robocars are broadly going to be a huge boon for many people with disabilities, especially disabilities that make it difficult to drive or those that make it hard to get in and out of vehicles. Existing disability regulations and policies were written without robocars in mind, and there are probably some improvements that need to be made.

by   -   December 26, 2016
Image: Festo
Image: Festo

Ask a child to design a robot, and they’ll produce a drawing that looks a little like you or I—the parts may be gray and boxy, but it will have two arms, two legs, and a head (probably with an antenna coming out of the top). Starting from the beginning of robotics, the human form has seemed like an excellent starting point. One of the best places to draw inspiration for robotic design, however, is the kingdom of insects, arachnids, snails, and slugs.

by   -   December 14, 2016

Brad Templeton discusses Waymo and why it is an important move away from being a unit of a mega-company like Google or Alphabet.





ICRA 2016: Landmine Detection Challenge
October 16, 2016


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