Kalashnikov’s new autonomous weapons and the “Terminator conundrum”


The company revealed it had developed a range of combat robots that are fully automated and used artificial intelligence to identify targets and make independent decisions. The revelation rekindled the simmering, and controversial, debate over autonomous weaponry and asked the question, at what point do we hand control of lethal weapons over to artificial intelligence?

Source: Kalashnikov’s new autonomous weapons and the “Terminator conundrum”

Panasonic Uses AI to Keep Drowsy Drivers Awake | News & Opinion | PCMag.com


When fully-autonomous vehicles become the norm, the former human driver can sleep as much as they like behind the wheel. But until that happens, falling asleep while driving poses a serious and potentially deadly risk. The advice we always hear is if you feel tired, pull over. Panasonic believes it has a better solution: use AI to keep the driver comfortably awake at all times.

Source: Panasonic Uses AI to Keep Drowsy Drivers Awake | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Shelf-Checking Robots To Roam The Aisles At Schnucks Supermarkets – Consumerist


Sure, big-box hardware store Lowe’s has a customer service robot that still won’t keep you from hating your partner, but supermarket chain Schnucks, based in St. Louis, is about to put robots to work in a different job. In three stores, it will send a robot down the aisles three times a day to check shelves and find out which products need to be restocked.A robot that actually restocks the shelves would be an interesting use of technology, and maybe that’s next. For now, though, Schnucks will be deploying Tally, a robot that looks unnervingly like a tower fan and will scan store aisles for stock levels and maybe even pricing errors.Want to see it in action? Here’s a video from the company that created the robots, Simbe Robotics.

Source: Shelf-Checking Robots To Roam The Aisles At Schnucks Supermarkets – Consumerist

Continental sends out autonomous minibus for a driverless drive | Robotics & Automation News


The company calls the vehicle Cube, short for Continental Urban Mobility Experience, and describes it as a “robo-taxi”.This particular trial of the driverless minibus took place in Frankfurt, Germany. Dr Andree Hohm, head of the self-driving car project at Continental, says: “The trials will be used to identify all the essential technical requirements that enable safe, driverless passenger transport in urban areas.“This helps us to find answers to questions about our product strategy and to deliver leading technology for individual mobility in the future – including driverless systems.”

Source: Continental sends out autonomous minibus for a driverless drive | Robotics & Automation News

The Autonomous Ship | MUNIN


Autonomous vehicles are already state-of-the-art in many land based transport modes. There exist several examples of automated subways, self-driving intralogistics vehicles or automated guided vehicles (AGV) on modern container terminals. There are also very wide-ranging approaches of autonomous control concepts in modern aviation.Consequently, autonomy is also seen as a possibility for maritime transport to meet today’s and tomorrow’s competitiveness, safety and sustainability challenges.

Source: The Autonomous Ship | MUNIN

Google Has Started Adding Imagination to Its DeepMind AI


Researchers have started developing artificial intelligence with imagination – AI that can reason through decisions and make plans for the future, without being bound by human instructions.Another way to put it would be imagining the consequences of actions before taking them, something we take for granted but which is much harder for robots to do.The team working at Google-owned lab DeepMind says this ability is going to be crucial in developing AI algorithms for the future, allowing systems to better adapt to changing conditions that they haven’t been specifically programmed for. Insert your usual fears of a robot uprising here.

Source: Google Has Started Adding Imagination to Its DeepMind AI

The First Major U.S. Bill on Self-Driving Cars Just Got House Committee Approval


A bill that will introduce breakthrough legislation in support of autonomous vehicle technology just received approval from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee.Click to View Full InfographicIt’s the first significant federal legislation on self-driving cars, and it is designed to facilitate the deployment of driverless vehicles while preventing states from blocking such efforts.“Our aim was to develop a regulatory structure that allows for industry to safely innovate with significant government oversight,” U.S. congressman Greg Walden, chair of said committee, told Reuters.Concretely, the bill would allow car manufacturers to put up to 25,000 autonomous vehicles on the roads in the first year of deployment. Over three years, that number would increase to a 100,000 annual cap. These vehicles would not be required to meet existing car safety standards.

Source: The First Major U.S. Bill on Self-Driving Cars Just Got House Committee Approval

Robots Learn to Speak Body Language – IEEE Spectrum


If your friend says she feels relaxed, but you see that her fists are clenched, you may doubt her sincerity. Robots, on the other hand, might take her word for it. Body language says a lot, but even with advances in computer vision and facial recognition technology, robots struggle to notice subtle body movement and can miss important social cues as a result.  Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed a body-tracking system that might help solve this problem. Called OpenPose, the system can track body movement, including hands and face, in real time. It uses computer vision and machine learning to process video frames, and can even keep track of multiple people simultaneously. This capability could ease human-robot interactions and pave the way for more interactive virtual and augmented reality as well as intuitive user interfaces.One notable feature of the OpenPose system is that it can track not only a person’s head, torso, and limbs but also individual fingers. To do that, the researchers used CMU’s Panoptic Studio, a dome lined with 500 cameras, where they captured body poses at a variety of angles and then used those images to build a data set.They then passed those images through what is called a keypoint detector to identify and label specific body parts. The software also learns to associate the body parts with individuals, so it knows, for example, that a particular person’s hand will always be close to his or her elbow. This makes it possible to track multiple people at once.

Source: Robots Learn to Speak Body Language – IEEE Spectrum

Tap Into Waze Via Android Auto | News & Opinion | PCMag.com


Google’s traffic and navigation app Waze is headed to Android Auto, allowing you to “navigate with Waze via your vehicle’s in-car display, touch screens, steering wheel buttons, and other console-mounted controls,” Google says.To try it out, make sure you have the latest versions of Waze and Android Auto installed on your phone. For a list of cars that support Android Auto, head here.From there, use a wire to connect your phone to your car’s USB port. Then, select “Navigation App” from the footer of your screen; Waze will start right away if it’s your most recently used navigation app. If not, tap the navigation menu at the bottom left and select “Waze.”

Source: Tap Into Waze Via Android Auto | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Just Tested Its First Car Elevator


On Wednesday, Elon Musk shared a video showing The Boring Company’s first car elevator being tested. The elevator, installed on June 30, is part of the Boring Company’s electric sled concept, which was designed to ferry vehicles — and eventually even people — down to the tunnel system.

Source: Elon Musk’s Boring Company Just Tested Its First Car Elevator

HERE to use connected car sensors for real time traffic maps


A company formerly owned by Nokia wants to create a more accurate, up-to-the-minute map of traffic conditions.  The key? Getting multiple automakers to pool traffic data collected by their cars’ sensors. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz will all contribute to the realtime map, a first for the navigation and auto industries — but the collaboration shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, since the automakers teamed up to buy the company, HERE, back in 2015. The company says data collected by the connected vehicles about their surroundings will lead to “significantly higher accuracy and more precise information about traffic conditions” than other services like Google Maps and Waze, which depend on satellite data and user reports for their traffic maps. SEE ALSO: Waze for Android Auto brings realtime road alerts to your dashboardHERE already has a fleet of millions of connected cars spanning 60 countries to gather data from. That’s expected to grow as new cars with sensor systems hit the roads, making it all the more likely an area will be covered by a connected vehicle.  The company also expects to bring automakers from outside of its ownership group into the fold, although that might be easier said than done. While the improved traffic data will be available in 60 countries, 30 of them will offer more in-depth features, like detailed incident information and safety notifications, which are triggered by hard-breaking sensor data.

Source: HERE to use connected car sensors for real time traffic maps

Autonomous vehicle legislation set in motion


The legislation borrows heavily from the wish list of automakers and tech companies that want leeway to operate on highways without being tied too closely to rules designed for vehicles controlled by humans.

Source: Autonomous vehicle legislation set in motion

Wisconsin Company to Microchip Employees | News & Opinion | PCMag.com


Constantly misplacing your work badge? Workers at a Wisconsin company called Three Square Market (32M) may never have that problem again.Because 32M, which sells vending kiosks for office break rooms, wants to implant microchips into its employees’ bodies. The tiny, implantable RFID chips (which you can see above) use near-field communications—the same technology found in contactless credit cards and mobile payment systems—to let employees make purchases in the company’s break room mini market, open doors, log in to their computers, use the copy machine, and more.They’ll be implanted underneath the skin in the space between the thumb and forefinger; the implantation procedure is over “within seconds,” 32M said in a press release.

Source: Wisconsin Company to Microchip Employees | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Mercedes-Benz self-driving valet cars will park themselves in Germany


Eventually, Mercedes plans to have the service recognize any Mercedes-Benz vehicle with the proper systems after it drives into a special valet zone in the parking garage. The parking system would communicate with eh car, syncing with the sensors built into the garage to complete the parking job.There are no headaches circling a cramped garage for spots, no handing of keys to expensive luxury cars over to strangers, no memorizing parking lot zones — just a few taps on a smartphone, a quick ride, and patrons are free to explore the museum.  Parking is just one of many mindless driving tasks self-driving cars are slated to eliminate in the near future, not just removing the banal task of parking but also eliminating the need to park at or close to your destination since you’ll be able to simply summon your car when you’re ready to go home.Bosch’s system can work today since it doesn’t entirely depend on the car’s self-driving systems to get around. The car communicates with the sensor system built into the parking garage itself, so driving systems of varying sophistication will theoretically be able to navigate the space with equal precision

Source: Mercedes-Benz self-driving valet cars will park themselves in Germany