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Autonomous

Robotics

"Ladybird" autonomous robot to help out down on the farm

Ladybirds are happily welcomed by gardeners into their yards, knowing that they will consume the most prolific plant pests like white flies, mites, and aphids. Imagine, then, how useful an autonomous, solar-powered, intelligent robotic ladybird could be on a farm. Enter the University of Sydney’s "Ladybird," not actually an eater of insect pests, but a robot capable of conducting mobile farm reconnaissance, mapping, classification, and detection of problems for a variety of different crops. Read More

Automotive

Start-up offers aftermarket kit for autonomous Audi cruising

Automotive tuners and aftermarket companies offer many ways of adding performance, luxury and personalization to cars and trucks. Each year, the SEMA Show highlights the latest and loudest. Now there's a start-up advertising an aftermarket kit designed to tune your car into a self-driving chauffeur … kind of. Cruise's Audi automation kit lets the car take over most of the driving but still requires a human driver at the ready. Read More

Automotive

Meet Ray: Düsseldorf Airport's autonomous robot car parking concierge

You've just caught the "red-eye" flight home. The baby in the next row screamed all of the way, your inflight meal was awful, and you're beyond tired. You drag yourself off the plane and schlep your heavy baggage over to the car park – only to realize that you’ve forgotten where you parked your car. At times like this, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just have your vehicle magically appear? Well, if you're at Düsseldorf Airport in Germany you can. That's because "Ray" the parking robot concierge installed there knows when your flight arrives, picks up your car in its mechanical arms and delivers it right to you.Read More

Drones

HEXO+ drone autonomously follows the action, for under $500

If you watch almost any video promoting a consumer drone, chances are you'll see the aircraft flying along above a moving motorbike rider, snowboarder or other fast-moving athlete. It makes for some impressive aerial footage of the person, but also requires a fair bit of piloting skill. Additionally, if you buy one of those drones, you'll end up shooting other people doing those things – what if you want footage of yourself? Well, that's where the HEXO+ hexacopter comes in. It autonomously flies above its user, shooting video of them as they do their thing. Read More

Robotics

Robot Linda to meet the public at London's Natural History Museum

Having a robot around the house might be nice, but not if it keeps stepping on the cat and tripping over the coffee table. This month, the public will get the chance to meet a robot at the Natural History Museum in London that may be a bit kinder to furniture and tabbies. The University of Lincoln’s Linda robot, which will mingle with visitors, is designed to learn about its surroundings and make it easier to work human environments.Read More

Space

Morpheus makes first night landing

Spacecraft lifting off at night are a beautiful sight, but equally impressive is when one lands in the dark under its own power. NASA’s robotic Morpheus prototype planetary lander did both of those in its first night-time free flight at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which included an autonomous landing in an artificial lunar landscape.Read More

Science

Autonomous boats get disguised as crocodiles and used to study hippo poop

Although hippos may look slow and docile, they're actually very aggressive, killing more people every year than any other large African animal. So, it would follow that you wouldn't want to swim anywhere near them. That's why when researchers from Yale University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies wanted to study the effects of hippo dung on water quality in Kenya's Mara River, they sent in three autonomous air boats instead of people. To help those boats blend in, they were dressed up as crocodiles. Read More

Electronics

Quadrotor gets autonomous navigation capabilities with Google's Project Tango

We’ve seen a lot of eye- and brain-catching robotics fun from the GRASP lab at the University of Pennsylvania, including a swarm of nano quadrotors playing the James Bond theme and a quadcopter swooping raptor-like onto prey. Dr. Vijay Kumar now gives us proof of concept of the utility of Google’s Project Tango in aerial systems by outfitting a quadrotor with the device to provide autonomous navigational capabilities.Read More

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