Highlights from Interbike 2014

Autonomous

Artist's concept of ERO the demolition robot in action

When it comes to demolishing buildings, there are almost as many ways to take them apart as put them up. We knock them down, blow them to bits, and build machines to take them apart. But what about a robot that eats buildings? Omer Haciomeroglu of Sweden’s Umeå Institute of Design has come up with the concept ERO concrete de-construction robot, which uses high-pressure water jets to strip concrete from rebar and recycle it on the spot.  Read More

The Nerf Vulcan Sentry Gun automatically locates targets and unleashes a stream of foam da...

Anyone who plays video games will know that few things protect an area like a well-placed sentry gun. In the real world, though, even a person's bedroom or office could use a little protection sometimes, which is why one designer has built the Nerf Vulcan Sentry Gun. Using a custom program and some servos, the sentry can automatically locate targets and unleash a stream of foam darts at over seven times the usual speed, while keeping its owner out of the crosshairs.  Read More

The X-47B making the first UAV arrested carrier landing

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator put another page in the history books on Wednesday with its first unmanned arrested-wire carrier landing. The drone flew 35 minutes from Patuxent River Naval Air Station to the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia, where is landed at about 145 knots (167 mph, 268 km/h) with an arresting wire catching its tail hook and bringing it to a stop in 350 ft (107 m).  Read More

GROVER on the move during a sustained test of the power consumption (Photo: NASA Goddard/M...

NASA scientists have unleashed a new robot on the arctic terrain of Greenland to demonstrate that its ability to operate with complete autonomy in one of Earth's harshest environments. Named GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, the polar robotic ranger carries ground-penetrating radar for analysis of snow and ice, and an autonomous control system. All of that is placed between two solar panels and two snowmobile tracks.  Read More

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

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