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Autonomous

Rolls-Royce, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Aalto University are expanding on their ideas for a virtual bridge that could soon lead to a future where the line between manned and robotic ships becomes completely blurred. Combining automated ship systems and constant high-data level communications, it's part of what Rolls-Royce see as the "next major transition for the shipping industry." Read More
Although it's tempting to refer to vehicle in the photo above as an ROV – a Remote-Operated Vehicle – the whole idea behind it is that it doesn't require an operator. Created by a team at Japan's Okayama University, the MOS/AUV (Move on Sensing/Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) is designed to find its own way along the bottom of the sea or a lake, performing various tasks as it does so. Read More
Inventories are a necessary evil that need to be carried out at least once a year. Despite their necessity, they are also tedious, time consuming, labor intensive, and often involve businesses shutting their doors for whole days as they count how many unsold widgets are in the back room. The Fraunhofer Institute's InventAIRy Project plans to change that by developing a new flying robotic drone that not only takes over the drudgery of stock taking, but also acts as a new tool for record keeping and streamlining warehouse operations. Read More
From 1-Click shopping to the Fire phone, Amazon is known for its culture of innovation. Even its order fulfillment and logistics processes are highly refined, with talk of deliveries eventually being made by drones. Today, the firm has revealed how an army of robots runs its fulfillment centers. Read More
Carnegie Mellon University has unveiled Andy, a four-wheeled unmanned rover designed to explore the rough terrain and recently discovered pits of the Moon. Developed in cooperation with Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology, the solar powered robot is CMU's entry for the US$20 million-plus Google Lunar XPrize, and may one day help pave the way toward permanent outposts on the Moon. Read More
In order to maintain a consistent buoyancy as their cargo loads change, ocean-going ships pump seawater in and out of their ballast tanks. Needless to say, that salty water isn't exactly the least-corrosive liquid in the world. That's why crews of inspectors regularly have to go inside those steel tanks, to check for damage. Thanks to the German/Dutch RoboShip project, however, autonomous robots may soon be performing the task. Read More
Among the swarm of consumer drones to emerge this year, a number have been aimed squarely at action sports devotees. What defines these vehicles is a tracking feature that enables the drone to autonomously follow athletes from above, but these generally require the user to carry a smartphone to communicate their GPS position. Streaming from a built-in camera to a smartphone app, the Mind4 drone instead allows users to select any object to follow onscreen, a feature that could lead to new possibilities in aerial drone photography. Read More
You've gotta hand it to Kaman's K-MAX UAS unmanned helicopter ... it's been used to deliver cargo in a combat zone, it's set altitude and payload weight records for airdrops, and it's been part of an autonomous air/ground mission. Now it's teamed up with a quadcopter in an exercise which suggests that the two could be used to fight forest fires, without endangering human pilots. Read More
A team of engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA are developing a robotic system for electric cars that can independently find its way around unknown spaces, navigating around obstacles in order to find its goal. It is hoped that it will soon be capable of finding a parking space or charging station and parking there, safely without a single scratch. Read More
Swiss company senseFly is best known for its fixed-wing industrial drones, such as the eBee and swinglet CAM. Parrot, on the other hand, has made its name with its consumer quadcopters. So, now that Parrot has owned senseFly for a couple of years, what's the result? The new senseFly eXom quadcopter, which uses multiple visual and ultrasonic sensors to avoid obstacles and maintain precise autonomous flight. Read More
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