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View of 'Cooperstown' taken by Curiosity's navigational camera (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

After over a year on Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover has pretty much run through its list of firsts. As it continues its “long trek” to Mount Sharp, however, it’s still showing a few surprises. This week, NASA announced that Curiosity picked up the pace of its travels by completing its first two-day autonomous drive, in which the unmanned explorer did one leg of an autonomous drive on Sunday, then completed it on Monday.  Read More

Panasonic has launched the HOSPI-R, an autonomous delivery robot, for use in Japanese hosp...

Panasonic's ongoing effort to automate Japanese hospitals continued this month with the launch of the HOSPI-R, an autonomous delivery robot that is now on sale. In its press release, Panasonic contends that robots like this one are needed to maintain and improve the quality of nursing services due to Japan's rapidly aging society. The latest in the company's line of HOSPI robots is designed to transport samples and drugs so that lab technicians and nurses won't have to.  Read More

The Flexrotor UAV takes off autonomously from the skiff

Northrop Grumman's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) may have grabbed headlines earlier this year with its first launches from and landings aboard an aircraft carrier, but Aerovel Corporation has completed an equally impressive launch, flight and landing of its Flexrotor UAV from a somewhat smaller carrier. And in this case, not only was the aircraft unmanned, so was the boat.  Read More

Toyota's advanced active safety research vehicle

The race to the car that drives itself continues to heat up. Automakers around the world are eager to tease their latest autonomous capabilities. Most recently, we've seen a self-parking system from Volvo and a glimpse at Nissan's plans. Last week, Toyota became the latest automaker to show its hand, providing a look at its Automated Highway Driving Assist, a feature that should be available within the next two or three years.  Read More

A Flirtey UAV near the Sydney Opera House

University textbooks can be quite expensive to purchase, so Australian startup Zookal now offers an increasingly popular option – textbook rentals. The problem is, some of the money that students save by renting just goes into shipping charges for the rented books. That's why Zookal has joined with another Ozzie startup, Flirtey, to offer free textbook delivery by drone.  Read More

A rendering of a Valet Park4U user

Valeo recently introduced its Valet Park4U system, becoming one of the latest manufacturers to reveal its vision for self-parking cars. More of a self-contained vehicle technology than other autonomous parking systems, the Valet Park4U system eliminates the need for advanced car-to-lot communications, relying entirely on onboard systems.  Read More

While traveling in a 'swarm,' as the developers are calling it, the robots will wirelessly...

Over the past few years, jellyfish populations along South Korea's coastline have risen to the point where they are adversely affecting the fish populations and marine industries in the area, costing the country over 3 billion won (about US$2.8 million) each year. A team led by Associate Professor Hyun Myung of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology however may have a solution with the JEROS (Jellyfish Elimination RObotic Swarm), a series of autonomous robots that work together to track down jellyfish in the ocean and grind them into a fine pulp.  Read More

Navigating outdoors on the MIT campus (Photo: MIT SENSEable City Lab)

The latest personal tour guide to zoom around the MIT campus flies a few feet off the ground, uses GPS and responds to phone calls. Aptly named Skycall, the drone that functions as a hovering tour guide is the brainchild of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, which created the system to help students find their way on campus. It lets users summon it through a call, flies to where they are and leads them to their destination at an unhurried pace, while they trail along behind it.  Read More

Major the dog, suited up with the control system

Trained dogs can do a lot of things – they can locate victims at disaster sites, sniff out drugs or explosives, and subdue criminals. One thing that they can’t do in all situations, however, is hear commands made by their handlers. That’s why scientists at Alabama’s Auburn University have created a control system to guide them.  Read More

Titan Aerospace's Solara in flight

Conventional satellites may be decent at their jobs, but they do have some drawbacks – the spacecraft themselves are quite expensive, getting them into orbit is also a costly process, and they can’t be reclaimed once they’re in use. Titan Aerospace, however, is offering an alternative that should have none of those problems. The company’s Solara unmanned high-altitude aircraft is intended to serve as an “atmospheric satellite,” autonomously flying in the sky’s upper reaches for as long as five years continuously.  Read More

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