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Autonomous

Fact: no one is driving this car (Photo: Gizmag)

Gizmag took a trip to Gothenburg to see six pieces of autonomous driving technology demonstrated by Volvo on Tuesday. A self-parking car and a car that drives itself (albeit under certain conditions) were among the tech on display, rounded out by new detection systems for animals, pedestrians at night, road edges and barriers, as well as a behind-the-scenes car-to-car communication system. All are positioned as pieces of safety technology, Volvo's goal being that no one will die or be seriously injured in a new Volvo come 2020. But it's also clear that Volvo is deadly serious about full autonomy, and given that some of the tech Gizmag saw will be on the market next year, a driverless future feels closer today than it did when the week began. But it's a future that will take some getting used to …  Read More

The modified Jetstream that flew 500 miles (800 km) under ground supervision (Photo: BAE S...

In April of this year, a BAE Systems Jetstream research aircraft flew from Preston in Lancashire, England, to Inverness, Scotland and back. This 500-mile (805 km) journey wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't for the small detail that its pilot was not on board, but sitting on the ground in Warton, Lancashire and that the plane did most of the flying itself. Even this alteration of a standard commercial prop plane into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) seems a back page item until you realize that this may herald the biggest revolution in civil aviation since Wilbur Wright won the coin toss at Kitty Hawk in 1903.  Read More

The Ziphius is a remote-control aquatic drone, that’s capable of autonomous behavior

It wasn’t all that long ago that the product category of “consumer aerial drone” was created, thanks to the introduction of smart-but-relatively-cheap quadcopters such as the AR Drone. These remote-control aircraft can be a lot of fun, but ... what about those of us who prefer the water to the skies? That’s where the Ziphius comes in. It’s a smartphone or tablet-controlled camera-equipped aquatic drone, that’s capable of autonomous behavior.  Read More

Vehicle sensors and cameras scan for pedestrians and vehicles, then trigger braking and st...

Volvo Car Group, known for building safe cars, has been busy expanding its autonomous portfolio. Last year Volvo finished its multi-vehicle “Safe Road Train” (SARTRE) program in Europe with reasonable success. Next week Volvo will again bolster its autonomous program with its self-parking concept car.  Read More

The iRobot Ava 500 in an informal conversation

Business grows more global everyday and what was once done by a single corporation is now more likely to be spread over many small businesses. Ideally, managers and remotely-based employees would like a virtual presence at a location, but telepresence robots are often more like smartphones on remote-controlled sticks, so they lack a feeling of personal presence and naturalism. At the InfoComm 2013 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, iRobot, in collaboration with Cisco, have unveiled the Ava 500; a telepresence robot that combines auto navigation and a high-definition screen for a more natural telepresence.  Read More

The Firefighting Robot is designed to create 3D virtual reality maps of the interiors of b...

“Quick, send in the robots!” Far-fetched as it may sound, fire-fighting robots are indeed coming closer and closer to common use. While some of them are intended to actually put out the flames, others are designed more to scout out structures before human firefighters enter, letting those people know how to safely get around and where to concentrate their efforts. One of the latest machines in the second category is the self-balancing Firefighting Robot (FFR), being developed at the University of California, San Diego.  Read More

One of Prof. Mohseni's 'hurricane drones'

When we think of aircraft that study hurricanes, most of us probably either picture powerful manned airplanes that fly straight through them, or perhaps unmanned drones that fly safely over them. The University of Florida’s Prof. Kamran Mohseni has something else in mind, however. He’s developing tiny unmanned aircraft – and submarines – that will be swept up with the hurricane, gathering data on the strength and path of the storm as they go.  Read More

Makani Power's Wing 7 prototype Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) will now benefit from the back...

Having already put its Google Wallet where its mouth by backing a solar power tower plant in California to the tune of US$168 million, Google has now turned to wind power. According to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek, the search giant has acquired Makani Power, a California-based startup whose Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) technology first caught our interest in 2011.  Read More

X-47B leaving the flight deck after a touch-and-go landing (Image: US Navy by Mass Communi...

On Friday May 17, the US Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator took another historic step as it conducted its first touch-and-go landings on the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia. This maneuver is a critical achievement in the Navy’s program to develop an autonomous, unmanned, jet-powered combat aircraft capable for operating from a carrier.  Read More

X-47B  flies over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (Photo: US  Navy cour...

Naval aviation history was made today, as an autonomous unmanned aircraft took off from a US Navy nuclear aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) took to the air from the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and is part of a program to develop carrier-based unmanned combat aircraft capable of carrying out missions according to pre-programmed instructions rather than being under constant control by a ground-based pilot.  Read More

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