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Autonomous

Robotics

Over 1,000 robots swarm together in Harvard lab

Ants, schooling fish and flocking birds all have something in common – they can achieve things by working together that they could never do on their own. With that in mind, researchers are now looking into ways of allowing "swarms" of communicating robots to accomplish tasks that are difficult or even impossible for single robots. Harvard University recently performed an unprecedented demonstration of that behavior, in which a batch of over 1,000 tiny Kilobots arranged themselves into a variety of pre-assigned two-dimensional shapes. Read More

Space

ESA tests new rendezvous system as ATV-5 docks at Space Station

ESA’s last Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)-5, Georges Lemaître, has arrived at the International Space Station. In what the space agency describes as a "flawless demonstration of technology and skill," the unmanned cargo ship autonomously docked itself while supervised by mission control in Toulouse, France and by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov inside the space station.Read More

Driverless cars to hit UK roads from next year

Driverless cars are an exciting glimpse of the future, with great potential to improve road safety. It seems the UK has caught on to this, announcing a £10 million (US$17 million) scheme to test driverless cars on public roads from January 2015.Read More

Drones

Drones take flight over Belize coastline to monitor illegal fishing activity

Unsustainable fishing in Belize has placed growing pressure on local anglers and the country's celebrated coral reef systems. Decades of decline has led to the introduction of catch limits and even the European Union blacklisting seafood imports from Belize for a perceived lack of action against illegal fishing. In an effort to better regulate the industry, the Belize Fisheries Department has begun using drones to monitor coastal areas for unlicensed and unlawful activity.Read More

Project Tango smartphones prepare to explore the ISS

Last week, Orbital Sciences' second commercial resupply mission delivered two Project Tango Google smartphones to the International Space Station. The sensor-filled phones will be used to create a detailed 3D map of the spacecraft, which will then help two soccer ball-sized, free-flying satellites autonomously navigate through some very tight spots. Read More

Drones

Aerial drones may find use as smart photographic light sources

As any professional photographer knows, setting up lights can be a hassle. This is often the case in the studio, but especially when shooting on location. Before too long, however, it may be possible to use hovering autonomous drones as light sources. In fact, that's just what a team from MIT and Cornell University has already done. Their system not only does away with light stands, but the light-equipped aircraft automatically moves to compensate for movements of the model or photographer. Read More

Automotive

Daimler Future Truck 2025 completes first autonomous highway run

Self-driving cars are the next big thing, but with all the talk of sipping latte and reading the morning paper while our cars drive us to work, it's easy to forget about the huge impact this technology will have on other road transport segments such as freight distribution. As part of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 program, Daimler Trucks has taken the most advanced of its autonomous trucks for a spin in "completely realistic driving situations" on a section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany.Read More
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