Predictions are that Robots, Automation and Artificial Intelligence will have an increasing role in our lives.
This week is National Robotics Week. This has been an annual recognition since 2010. Events are going on all over the country this week, most aimed at K-12 STEM. The list can be found here.
A large “hoverbike” like quadcopter is being developed for the military, the JTARV(Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle) intended for autonomous delivery of supplies to troops. The current vehicle can carry up to 300 pounds over short distances. The goal is to increase the range to 125 miles and to increase the payload to 800 pounds.
The prototype was flown recently at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
If the development is successful, and the goals are met, then these could serve many uses in the front lines.
We have all seen the hype about deliveries by drone. Now Amazon has begun some trial deliveries in the UK and hope to expand these efforts. The ‘Prime Air’ autonomous drone deliveries are just a trial for now. I don’t think that this will put UPS or FedEx out of business anytime soon, but it is a step towards automated delivery.
Artificial Intelligence . . . Christmas . . . music, you would think that would make a winning combination. Maybe not so much if you listen to the new “Christmas Carol” above that was created by a machine.
Researchers at the University of Toronto used a neural network to ‘write’ the song. It did so after being exposed to several other Christmas songs to ‘learn’ how to write one itself.
Not exactly a tune you will be singing around the Christmas tree this year, but it has to start somewhere. This is not the first music related AI article this year. Just a heads up to everyone that AI and robotics is beginning to have an impact over a wide range of job categories.
Disney – Disney Springs is the expanded and rebranded Downtown Disney shopping, dining and entertainment area within Disney World Florida. Now that the FAA has relaxed overflight regulations, Disney has announced that drones will be part of the light show for the upcoming Holiday season.
As Intel has recently demonstrated, hundreds of drones can be controlled by a single operator in complex re-programmed displays. I am not surprised that Disney is looking to augment and someday even replace the nightly fireworks displays with drone light shows.
In early October 2016 Intel demonstrated its new “Shooting Star” drone. This drone has been designed specifically for multi-drone light shows. The drones weigh less than a pound and are capable of displaying more than 4 billion colors from the build in LED lights. This drone is designed specifically for entertainment and has a 20 minute flight time.
In the demonstration conducted near Munich, Germany, 500 drones were flown by a single pilot, setting a new Guinness Book of World Records for the most drones operated at one time by a single pilot.
Intel had set a record almost a year ago flying 100 drones in an exhibit. One can easily imagine light shows in the near future at many events that are drone based instead of fireworks.
The White House has just (Octoberr 2016) issued the report entitle “Preparing For the Future of Artificial Intelligence“.
In short the report:
- highlights the benefits of AI
- talks of the need for standards
- brings up how AI should be regulated
- raises the issue of job loss due to automation
If you are interested in Robots, AI and Automation, your time would be well spent reading this 48 page report.
The Dubai Police may be deploying a robot as early as 2017. The robot shown above was on display at Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) Tech Week in recently Dubai. There may only be the one unit in use next year, but by 2020 more extensive use of robots is planned.
The robot could salute and shake the hands of conference attendees. The touch screen on its chest can be used to report crimes and pay for traffic violations. The robot also has the capability for facial recognition. The Dubai police are working with IBM Watson as well as Google to enhance the robots skills, particularly with verbal communication.
This is another example of robots beginning to work side-by-side with humans. It is also another example of how robots could begin to gradually displace humans in some jobs.
The World Robotics Conference has been going on since October 21 and ends today in Beijing. As you would expect, there have been demonstrations of robots that continue to be ever more human like. The event was cosponsored by the IEEE Robotics and Automation (RAS) Society.
While the commentator in the above video is Chinese, the subtitles give an explanation of the two human-like robots being displayed. One wonders how soon it will be before we begin to encounter these human-like robots?
It seems that advances in robotics are being announced every day. The optical navigation system demonstrated in this video shows how the small robots aboard the ISS, SPHERES, may soon be able to navigate autonomously in zero gravity. The three SPHERES robots have been in experimental operation aboard the ISS since 2006.
There is significant long term benefits from repair to assisting humans with their jobs in space. We have all seen similar roving robotic eyes in Science Fiction video. This is a step in moving fiction to fact for future space missions.
- Space drone learns how to see with one eye in zero-G
- SPHERES at NASA
- SPHERES at MIT