If you should encounter a crewless ship out on the Atlantic Ocean in a few years, don’t worry about it being the ghostly Flying Dutchman … it may be the Mayflower, however. No, not the square-rigger that brought Pilgrims to America, but the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship (MARS). Plans call for the wind- and solar-powered trimaran to sail itself from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2020 – the 400th anniversary of the original ship’s journey – carrying out a variety of research projects along the way.
The robotic vacuum cleaner continues to be a category of product that is
really cool at a conceptual level, but still fails make the traditional
manual vacuum – or even the centuries-old technology in your household
broom – fully obsolete. Unfortunately, even robotic vacuums like the
Ecovacs Robotics Deebot D35 are no exception.
High end cars are creeping towards full autonomy, unlocking new abilities every generation that allow them to drive themselves under certain conditions. Now, using the sensors and hardware that let the car park itself, Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated a very nifty remote control app that lets you get out of your car, stand beside it and drive it using your smartphone. It's an incredibly handy way to get this huge thing in and out of tight parking spots, or negotiate particularly rough terrain while keeping an eye on what's happening. You can literally be your own spotter.
Revealed at this year's Geneva Motor Show, the Audi R8 e-tron is already a technological tour de force. Its combination of battery-powered range and speed is equalled only by the Tesla Model S. At the inaugural CES Asia show, Audi made the R8 e-tron even more high-tech, rolling its autonomous driving suite into the electric coupe. The R8 e-tron piloted driving concept can unleash 456-hp worth of performance on the street ... without a driver stepping on the pedal.
Doctors and nurses in Japan – or in other countries, for that matter –
may soon have some robotic company when making their rounds. That's
because researchers at Toyohashi University of Technology are developing
an omnidirectional robot named Terapio, that's designed to take the
place of a traditional medical cart.
Google has followed up news of its "self-driving lessons learned" with an announcement that it is to begin testing its self-driving cars on public roads in California. The first complete prototype was unveiled late last year. The new pilot will allow Google to study public responses to the cars and have them face real-world challenges.