Photokina 2014 highlights

Autonomous Vehicles

MIT researchers have developed a semiautonomous safety system which allows a human driver ...

We all like to think we're in control ... never more so than when we're behind the wheel of a car, but there are occasions when errors in judgement can lead to a gentle bump, or something far worse. MIT researchers have developed a semiautonomous collision avoidance system where the human driver has full control of the vehicle until the system detects that the car is headed for a collision or is too close to an obstacle for safety. When such a hazard is detected, the system will take control of the vehicle, bring it back within a calculated safe zone, and then hand control back over to the driver.  Read More

The JPods concept centers around a four to six seat electric vehicle suspended beneath an ...

Autonomous vehicles and personal transportation pods featured quite heavily in our recent round-up of the Top Ten railways of the future, and the JPods concept from Bill James has both. At the center of the scheme is a driverless, on-demand electric four to six seat vehicle suspended beneath an overhead rail structure, which is topped with photovoltaic panels. A user would let the JPod know the desired location via a touchscreen interface and the vehicle's networked computer system would determine the best route and motor there without further input from the passenger.  Read More

Cadillac's 'Super Cruise' semi-autonomous driving technology is currently undergoing road ...

While much work is being done to bring autonomous vehicles to the roads, the closest most of us have yet got is cruise control, which has actually been around since the 1950s, appearing as “Auto-Pilot” in 1958 Chryslers and Imperials. Now Cadillac is looking to update things with road testing currently underway on a semi-autonomous technology dubbed “Super Cruise” that offers fully automatic steering, braking and lane-centering in highway driving – under certain conditions.  Read More

TEX II is a robotic lake lander, designed for autonomously exploring bodies of water on ot...

Ask someone to picture a robotic roving vehicle, and chances are they’ll think of something with wheels, like the Mars Rover. If an alien civilization were sending a craft to explore Earth, however, they might be better off using a boat – after all, the majority of our planet’s surface is covered with water. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, similarly has a pretty wet surface, as it contains lakes of liquid hydrocarbon. Wolfgang Fink, an engineer with the University of Arizona, has designed an aquatic rover for exploring those lakes.  Read More

Some of the musically-gifted GRASP quadrotors

When we last heard from the University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab, researchers there had provided video of a swarm of quadrotor robots, which they had programmed to perform some pretty impressive precision flying. Well, now the GRASP quadrotors are back, performing a feat that’s certainly much more ... entertaining. In a video that was presented yesterday at the TED2012 conference in California, a group of the little guys are shown performing the James Bond theme on musical instruments.  Read More

The state of Nevada has approved regulations that set out guidelines for testing self-driv...

Nevada is now officially the first state in the USA where the operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads is regulated by law. The regulations approved by the Legislative Commission of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles set out guidelines for companies who want to test autonomous vehicles on public roadways. They also include a set of requirements for people who'd like to "drive" such vehicles.  Read More

Flashing arrows displayed on the road indicate the vehicle's future path

Amongst the modern furniture and “design-art” on display at this year’s Design Miami/ international design show visitors were also treated to the Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) vision for the future of urban mobility. Dubbed “Urban Future,” the international architectural firm’s installation, created with the cooperation of Audi, provided a glimpse of how its concept for the city street of the future that networks with vehicles and pedestrians might actually work.  Read More

Toyota finally appears ready to play its hand in the autonomous vehicle revolution

Toyota is to show an autonomous (self-driving) Prius at Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Toyota AVOS (Automatic Vehicle Operation System), the car will be available for members of the public to take "back seat" rides at the show, demonstrating first hand how the Prius can avoid obstacles, be summoned from a parking garage and park itself. There will also be a demonstration of communications-linked electric cars, scooters and electric-assisted bicycles including what is expected to be Yamaha's first production electric scooter.  Read More

GM has started work on the next generation of its EN-V concept vehicle that will be triall...

Last year, GM unveiled its EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) concept in three flavors conceived by design teams around the world. In an effort to ascertain the real-world practicality of the two-seat, electric urban mobility concept, GM has begun work on the next-generation EN-V concept vehicle that the company plans to test in pilot demonstration programs in megacities around the world.  Read More

The self-steering autonomous tractor could soon see tractors working the fields on their o...

Many of us are eagerly awaiting the widespread adoption of autonomous cars to free us from the hassle of driving to and from work. This kind of technology also has applications beyond the roadway, especially in areas like farming where driving is the work ... and it's not on paved surfaces with markings and signs laid out. Dealing with the uneven and inconsistent terrain of a field poses unique problems that a team from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) and Flanders' Mechatronics Technology Centre (FMTC) in Belgium are claiming to have overcome with their robotic self-steering tractor.  Read More

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