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Autonomous

— Automotive

Stanford's autonomous DeLorean can't time travel, can do donuts

It doesn't have a flux capacitor and may not be able to travel through time like its inspiration in the 1985 feature Back to the Future, but Stanford University's converted DeLorean Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw (MARTY) can cut some wicked donuts without the aid of a driver. The creation of professor of mechanical engineering Chris Gerdes and his students, the autonomous, electric, drifting automotive research vehicle is part of a student-driven research project into the physical limits of autonomous driving that aims to improve the safe operation of self-driving cars under all conditions.

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— Marine

Autopilot system for recreational boating responds to threats before they occur

Autopilot systems for yachts and inboard boats are a common backup that gives the captain an occasional rest. But these systems are designed to react to changes in conditions after they occur, which may be too late in certain circumstances, whereas the safest, most ideal system will preempt threats and react in anticipation of a coming danger. Google and others have been developing such systems for driverless cars for years, and now a startup spun out of the University at Buffalo hopes to sell preemptive marine autopilot systems to small and mid-size recreational boat owners.

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— Robotics

Aquatic robot seeks and destroys reef-killing starfish

On Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Crown-of-thorns starfish is the scourge of the deep as it eats and destroys large swathes of coral and threatens the overall health of the reef. This starfish is proving difficult to find and eradicate with conventional methods, so Queensland University of Technology researchers have created a hunter-killer robot – dubbed the COTSbot – that's designed to automatically search out and destroy these aquatic pests. Read More
— Marine

Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship to cross Atlantic without a crew

If you should encounter a crewless ship out on the Atlantic Ocean in a few years, don’t worry about it being the ghostly Flying Dutchman … it may be the Mayflower, however. No, not the square-rigger that brought Pilgrims to America, but the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship (MARS). Plans call for the wind- and solar-powered trimaran to sail itself from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2020 – the 400th anniversary of the original ship’s journey – carrying out a variety of research projects along the way.

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— Automotive

Remote-control Range Rover can be driven with a smartphone app

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.

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— Automotive

Audi's R8 e-tron electric sports car now drives itself

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.

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