Robot Ships - using self driving car technology, robotic cargo ships are the next step in the evolution of autonomous / remote piloted vehicles. Environmental concerns are limiting the maximum speed at which Earth’s ocean going vessels can travel, prolonging travel time and leading to a shortage of qualified captains willing to spend the majority of their life at sea. Now the same technology used to enable self driving cars or flying drones is being extended to allow navigating a behemoth cargo ship from the comfort of your land based office.
If artificial intelligence is sophisticated enough to guide a car through Bay Area traffic, surely it can pilot a ship safely from port to port on the open sea. That’s the premise of a European Union-funded project called MUNIN tasked with designing largely automated cargo ships by the beginning of 2015.
The project got a push from Rolls-Royce plc, the major British military contractor that splintered from the car company with the same name in 1973, when an executive hinted that Rolls-Royce may design such systems and that they would bring down the industry’s costs. “Sometimes what was unthinkable yesterday is tomorrow’s reality. So now it is time to consider a roadmap to unmanned vessels of various types,” Oskar Levander, the company’s vice present of innovation, engineering and technology said in a recent company publication.
Levander indicated that Rolls-Royce would begin supporting vessels that can be sailed from an onshore office. “When ‘fleet optimization’ is considered, the advantages compound. The same person can monitor and steer many ships. As conditions ashore are often preferred, it will also help retain qualified and competent crew, and is safer,” he said.
Would You Do as a Robot Commands? An Obedience Study for Human - Robot Interaction
Snip from Fast Co:
In the future, we will have robot overlords. This uncomfortable experiment (captured in hilarious video) shows just how easily humans will roll over when we work for the machines.
University of Manitoba:
Would you do as a robot commands? Robots are beginning to play a larger role in society, finding their way into hospitals, the military, and our daily lives; it’s not too far off to think that they may one day be put in positions of authority over people. We know all to well the dark side of authority from classical psychology experiments such as the Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments, but one question remains: can the authority figure effect apply to robots as well as people? As a preliminary study we decided to test this theory out; we had our robot pressure participants to continue a highly tedious (and unpleasant) task, and compared the results to having a human experimenter. Did they obey the robot? Check out the paper and project video to find out!
German engineering firm Festo is creating a robot army. Sounds scary, right? But there’s no need to fear a “Skynet”-type apocalypse quite yet, because these robots want to do good by making laborious tasks easier in the factories of the future. And they’re using nature as their inspiration.
Festo summarizes the motivation behind their research on their website: “Gripping, moving, controlling and measuring – nature performs all of these tasks instinctively, easily and efficiently. What could be more logical than to examine these natural phenomena and learn from them?”
This Robot Arm Can 3D-Print Molten Metal in Midair
The only thing cooler than using a huge robot arm to sculpt? Using a huge robot arm to sculpt with liquid hot metal.Joris Laarman Studio's prototype software instructs a robotic arm to recreate 3D models in midair, using molten metals of all kinds. .. Full Story: Gizmodo
German researchers have developed a robot that mimics the simple nervous system used for olfactory learning in the honeybee, using color instead of odors. The researchers have installed a camera on a small robotic vehicle connected to a computer. The computer program replicates, in a simplified way, the sensorimotor neural network of the insect brain and operates the motors of the robot wheels to control its motion and direction based on the colors.
Description from the FU Berlin Team on Youtube:
Here, we present a robotic platform designed for implementing and testing spiking neural network control architectures. We demonstrate a neuromorphic realtime approach to sensory processing, reward-based associative plasticity and behavioral control. This is inspired by the biological mechanisms underlying rapid associative learning and the formation of distributed memories in the insect.
Additional material for the paper : Conditioned behavior in a robot controlled by a spiking neural network Lovísa Irpa Helgadottir , Joachim Haenicke, Tim Landgraf, Raul Rojas and Martin P Nawrot (Submitted 2013)
China’s lunar rover functioning day after being declared dead
The Guardian: A day after it was declared dead, China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover communicated with the nation’s space program, state media reported Thursday.
After a night of extreme cold on the moon, China’s space program reported its first moon rover had lost function. Citing a combination of mechanical issues in addition to the low temperatures, the program reported the rover dead. However, on Thursday, the program said that “it came back to life.”
It is unclear how much function returned to the rover, but the program said it now believes it is possible to save it.
Photo: China’s Jade Rabbit moon rover after it landed on the lunar surface. (AP/Xinhua)