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In episode four of season three Neil introduces us to the ideas behind the bias variance dilemma (and how how we can think about it in our daily lives). Plus, we answer a listener question about how to make sure your neural networks don’t get fooled. Our guest for this episode is Jeff Dean,  Google Senior Fellow in the Research Group, where he leads the Google Brain project. We talk about a closet full of robot arms (the arm farm!), image recognition for diabetic retinopathy, and equality in data and the community.

It is unclear if Masayoshi Son, Chairman of Softbank, was one of the 17 million YouTube viewers of Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog before acquiring the company for an undisclosed amount this past Thursday. What is clear is the acquisition of Boston Dynamics by Softbank is a big deal. Softbank’s humanoid robot Pepper is trading up her dainty wheels for a pair of sturdy legs.

Spotmini by Boston Dynamics. Source: Boston Dynamics/YouTube

In a long-awaited transaction, The New York Times Dealbook announced that SoftBank was buying Boston Dynamics from Alphabet (Google). Also included in the deal is the Japanese startup Schaft. Acquisition details were not disclosed.

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.

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

by   -   March 22, 2016

Big_dog_military_Boston_Dynamics

The maker of advanced humanoid and 4-legged robots (BigDog and Atlas), Boston Dynamics, is up for sale. According to the Financial Times, “this is one of those discordant moments that makes you question easy assumptions and the current state of Alphabet and of robots.”

by   -   January 18, 2016
Toyota Executive Technical Advisor and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Research Institute (TRI) Dr. Gill Pratt speaks during a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2016. Photo: Kathryn Rapier
Toyota Executive Technical Advisor and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Research Institute (TRI) Dr. Gill Pratt speaks during a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2016. Photo: Kathryn Rapier

At a press conference last week at CES, Toyota, led by Gill Pratt of DARPA fame and now CEO of Toyota Research Institute (TRI), informed the world what Toyota intended to do with it’s billion dollar investment in their new AI research facilities in Silicon Valley and Cambridge.

lidar
image: Steve Jurvetson/flickr

Security researcher Jonathan Petit claims to be able to hack the multi-thousand-dollar laser ranging – LIDAR – systems that self-driving cars rely on. How does he do it and is it as dangerous as it sounds?

by   -   September 2, 2015

35under35

The MIT Technology Review’s annual list of 35 Innovators Under 35 aims to illustrate the most important emerging technologies of the moment. Released this August, the 2015 list features a number of robotics and AI visionaries. Check them out.

The press were all a-twitter about a report from Reuters that there had been a near miss between Delphi’s test car and one of Google’s, though it was quickly denied that anything happened.

baidu
Earlier this week Baidu announced they will be collaborating with BMW to launch an autonomous vehicle prototype later this year.

Here’s a roundup of news stories in the field of robocars.

by   -   June 9, 2015
S​elf-driving car keeping track of multiple moving objects at once, in this instance two cyclists, depicted as red rectangles. Source: Google.
S​elf-driving car keeping track of multiple moving objects at once, in this instance two cyclists, depicted as red rectangles. Source: Google.

Google has started publicly disclosing details of accidents involving its self-driving cars.

Photo source: Wikipedia [Flckr user jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) CC BY-SA 2.0]
Photo source: Wikipedia [Flckr user jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) CC BY-SA 2.0]

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported on several past crashes involving automated vehicles. (Per SAE Standard J3016, I use the term “automated vehicle” instead of “autonomous vehicle” or “self-driving car” or “driverless car.”) A few thoughts.

DelphiThere has been a ton of robocar news in the last four weeks. Below is just a small subset of the now constant stream of news items and articles that appear about robocars.



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