Robots.net has the latest news on robots.
MachineBrain.com provides news and information on robotic technology, artificial intelligence, and other subjects related to smart machines.
In the following articles, the most recent articles appear first.
In the not-too-distant future, our fields could be tilled, sown, tended and harvested entirely by fleets of co-operating autonomous machines by land and air. And they'll be working both day and night. Driverless tractors that can follow pre-programmed routes are already being deployed at large farms around the world. Drones are buzzing over fields assessing crop health and soil conditions. Ground sensors are monitoring the amount of water and nutrients in the soil, triggering irrigation and fertiliser applications. And in Japan, the world's first entirely automated lettuce farm is due for launch next year. The future of farming is automated. See the full BBC article.
ChihiraAico uses 43 pneumatic actuators for its movements, including 24 in its shoulders, arms and hands and 15 in the face. She can move her hands and communicate in Japanese sign language. She can also be happy, irritated or sad – and even cry.
Google is to start building its own self-driving cars, rather than modifying vehicles built by other manufacturers. The car will have a stop-go button but no controls, steering wheel or pedals. It will seat two people, propulsion will be electric, and at the start it will be limited to 25mph (40km/h) to help ensure safety. The front end of the vehicle is designed to be safer for pedestrians, with a soft foam-like material where a traditional bumper would be, and a more flexible windscreen, which may help reduce injuries. The vehicle will use a combination of laser and radar sensors along with camera data to drive autonomously. It will depend on Google's road maps, built specifically for the programme, and tested on the company's current fleet of vehicles.
Google recently announced that its self driving cars had covered 700,000 miles (more than a million km) of public roads in autonomous mode, and that they were now tackling the tricky problem of busy city streets. The company plans to build a fleet of around 200 of the cars in Detroit, with the hope of using them as an autonomous technology test bed. These vehicles will be on the road within the year.
Advocates claim that autonomous cars have the potential to revolutionise transport, by making roads safer, eliminating crashes, and decreasing congestion and pollution. In the year to June 2013, more than 23,500 people were killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents in the UK. Ron Medford, previously the deputy director of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and now the safety director for the self-driving car team at Google, believes that number could be drastically reduced by removing the chance of driver error. "I think it has the potential to be the most important safety technology that the auto industry has ever seen," he said.
But some researchers working in this field are investigating potential downsides to driverless car technology. They believe they could make traffic and urban sprawl worse, as people accept longer commutes as they do not have to drive themselves.
More than 90 countries already operate remotely controlled robots armed with grenade launchers or machine guns. Such robots are designed to aid soldiers in reconnaissance or surveillance, or to go into heavily booby-trapped areas where it might be too risky to send in troops.
The big question is how long it will be before killer robots exist that are programmed to make their own decisions about what to attack or who to kill, without the intervention of a human supervisor.
Read the BBC article.
We’ve seen bio-inspired hummingbird robots, turtle robots, squirrel robots and more… enough to start an extremely profitable robot zoo. But very few researchers have been able to mimic the human body down to muscles and bones.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo are taking bio-inspired robots to new heights with Kenshiro, their new human-like musculo-skeletal robot. Kenshiro’s underlying structure is the closest to a human's form so far.
Kenshiro mimics the body of the average Japanese 12-year-old male, standing at 158 centimeters tall and weighing 50 kilograms. Kenshiro’s body mirrors almost all the major muscles in a human, with aluminium bones and 160 electrically-driven pulley-like "muscles".
Check out the video above: a headless and armless Kenshiro does squats, looking uncanny enough to give you the shivers.
See HERE for more.
Ray Kurzweil, the world's best-known futurologist, has recently become Director of Engineering at Google. The Guardian's Observer magazine interviewed him in February 2014 and HERE is a summary of that important interview.
At Florida University International, researchers are assessing the viability of hooking up disabled police officers (and soldiers) to “telebots”, so they can control them as they go on patrol.
Agriculture is the world's's biggest industry and it is quickly becoming automated. But there are still huge efficiency gains to be made in reduced use of water and pesticides thanks to the use of robotic drones to survey today's huge farms.
See this great BBC video.
1-10 of 25