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.
As internet commerce matures, consumers are expecting more immediate delivery of goods, but a fleet of drones
won't do any good unless the packing warehouses
can keep up. The latest effort to help speed up this process comes from Fetch Robotics, which has unveiled Fetch and Freight – a robotic tag team that takes over the boring task of collecting and delivering stock.
The US Navy's X-47B
Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft has gone out on a high note (and added yet another acronym to the military lexicon) by conducting the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) exercise. The autonomous aircraft rendezvoused with an Omega K-707 tanker plane off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, successfully taking on 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) of jet fuel as it completed the project's final test objective.
This is the year that automotive companies will tantalize eyes and minds with full visions of autonomous cars. Mercedes opened up the year with the intriguing F 015 design study
, and Italdesign Giugiaro showed its own version of autonomy with the Geneva-debuted GEA
. Chevrolet has an equally intriguing self-driving vision, and it calls it the FNR. The "futuristic capsule" is loaded with next-generation styling, technology and ideas.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has revealed that it has been conducting demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at various locations over the past month. The demonstrations were part of the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program, which is developing quick launching UAV swarm technology to overwhelm adversaries.
Many people have likely watched aerial video shot by drones, and dreamed of getting such footage with a drone of their own. What they might not realize, however, is that controlling the little UAVs can be difficult, particularly if the user is trying to both fly the drone and
keep a subject centered in the frame. That's why a group of entrepreneurs are creating the pre-programmable Ares quadcopter.