‘Robot soldiers could make up quarter of British army by 2030s’

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General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the Defence Staff,

Thirty thousand “robot soldiers” could form an integral part of the British army in the 2030s, working alongside humans in and around the frontline, the head of the armed forces said in a television interview on Sunday.

Gen Sir Nick Carter said the armed forces needed “to think about how we measure effects in a different way” – and he called on the government to proceed with the previously promised five-year integrated defence review.

Speaking to Sky News on the morning of Remembrance Sunday, the chief of the defence staff suggested that “an armed forces that’s designed for the 2030s” could include large numbers of autonomous or remotely controlled machines.

“I mean, I suspect we could have an army of 120,000, of which 30,000 might be robots, who knows?” Carter said, although he stressed he was not setting any particular target in terms of future numbers.

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How a hyperrealistic robo-dolphin is paving the way for animatronic aquariums

Imagine, if you will, that David Attenborough or Jacques Cousteau was put in charge of a technologically advanced theme park like the one on the TV series Westworld, offering visitors a plethora of robots to interact with that are so compellingly lifelike as to be indistinguishable from the real thing.

Now imagine that, instead of an old American West setting like Westworld, this high-tech theme park was a robotic version of SeaWorld, filled with dozens of intelligent (or, at least, artificially intelligent) marine mammals, from dolphins to orcas, that look and act just like their ocean-dwelling counterparts. But, you know, without the need to take these animals out of their natural habitats and put them into cramped tanks for our amusement.

That could be the future of marine parks — and it’s one that San Francisco-based engineering company Edge Innovations wants to help make science reality instead of science fiction.

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Robot courier delivering food from shop to home

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From the last week of September onwards, customers of REDI shopping centre may have spotted a small, wheeled robot moving about on its own. Its task is to deliver meals on demand from K-Supermarket to the Majakka high-rise building. Customers can place an order via the building’s Asumi service on their computer or mobile device, and the delivery robot courier will take the products directly to the customer or to the collection point in the building’s shared facilities.

This is an ongoing robot delivery pilot in Kalasatama district in Helsinki implemented by technology company Dimalog in collaboration with Omron and service design agency Muotohiomo. The pilot is coordinated by the city of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki with its partners SRV and KONE. SRV is involved regarding the smart living services directed at Majakka residents, while KONE Oyj offers the lift interfaces for the delivery robot to move about in Majakka. Another essential partner is REDI’s K-Supermarket, which has the opportunity to test the robot in its services.

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How South Korea’s smart crossings are cutting road deaths

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Crossings in South Korea alert drivers when people are approaching, and warn pedestrians when cars are nearby

The crossing has been preparing for you before you set foot on it. Radar and thermal cameras detect your approach and notify a central control system, which triggers rows of LED warning lights on either side of the walkway to alert approaching drivers to your presence. To keep you alert, the system sounds an alarm and projects a warning image on the ground in front of you. It also sounds an alert on your smartphone. As the driver comes within 30 metres, a blinking electronic sign notifies them of your crossing.

This pedestrian crossing is located in three locations across South Korea, designed by the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT). It aims to minimise road traffic accidents in response to rising pedestrian casualties, 52.9 per cent of which occur at crossings. Many of these are caused by people crossing while looking at their phones (South Korea has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate, and some of the highest road fatality and injury rates among developed countries). “So, I came to think of a smart crossing system that recognises the urgency of pedestrian safety on the crosswalk,” Kim Jong-hoon, a senior researcher at KICT says.

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World’s 1st fully autonomous fruit-picking drones are smarter than humans

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Israel-based agricultural drone manufacturer Tevel Aerobotics Technologies Ltd. is completing its third round of funding – a $20 million financing round raising its valuation to a cool $45 million

These orders are meant for autonomous drones developed by Tevel Aerobotics which are equipped with a one-meter long mechanical claw. This mechanical extension can be used to pick fruit or for thinning and pruning tasks in orchards.

Tevel claims to use artificial intelligence capabilities on a ground-based mobile unit that acts as the autonomous brain of the drones. The brain lets them identify fruit types, blemishes, and the level of ripeness.

Even though the global fruit-cultivation is expected to grow, the company expects the number of agricultural workers in the field to reduce, projecting a a potential for $3 billion in annual sales to growers in the U.S. and Europe

The wide range of utility that drones offer is sure to make them a popular instrument in the coming years. As a testimony to this, Israel-based agricultural drone manufacturer Tevel Aerobotics Technologies Ltd. is completing its third round of funding – a $20 million financing round raising its valuation to a cool $45 million.

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Autonomous pothole-repairing robots that can detect cracks and fix roads automatically could hit Britain’s streets by 2021

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Artist’s impression of the autonomous road repair system, which looks part-tank, part road roller. The Robotiz3d vehicle should be seen on UK roads next year

 

Scientists are building autonomous repair robots that will use AI to identify and fix potholes in UK roads.

  • Liverpool spin-out Robotiz3d is planning to put its robots on UK streets in 2021
  • The weird vehicles look like a cross between a road roller and a heavy duty tank
  • They use AI to identify potholes and can deposit and flatten asphalt as a quick fix

The electric, self-driving bots – which are being built by a spin-out company from the University of Liverpool called Robotiz3d – can find small cracks in the road and cover them with asphalt.

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These 6 skills cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence

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An interior view shows a self-driving car owned and tested by Yandex company during a presentation in Moscow, Russia August 16, 2019.

Self-driving cars will eliminate many jobs.

Mass unemployment will occur because of robotics and AI.

Hospitality, management and creativity cannot be substituted by AI.

We need to acquire and refine more sophisticated abilities in these areas.

The COVID-19 crisis is going to accelerate a number of changes and transformations in human society. Notably, the pandemic is expected to significantly accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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Sam’s Club will deploy autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in all of its US locations

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The past six months have seen a fairly aggressive acceleration in the option of robotics and automation as companies look for ways to augment (and, likely, replace in some instances) human workers. The appeal is certainly clear during massive pandemic-fueled shutdowns.

Sam’s Club has been into robotic floor cleaning for a bit longer, having already deployed Tennant’s T7AMR scrubbers in a number of locations. But this week the Walmart -owned bulk retailer announced that it’s adding another 372 this year, bringing the technology to all of its 599 U.S. stores.

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GM to run robot cars in San Francisco without human backups

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General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit says it will pull the human backup drivers from its vehicles in San Francisco by the end of the year.

 Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a statement that the company got a permit Thursday from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to let the cars travel on their own.

The move follows last week’s announcement from Waymo that it would open its autonomous ride-hailing service to the public in the Phoenix area in vehicles without human drivers.

Waymo, a unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., is hoping to eventually expand the service into California, where it already has a permit to run without human backups.

Cruise has reached the point where it’s confident that it can safely operate without humans in the cars, spokesman Ray Wert said. There’s no date for starting a ride service, which would require further government permission, he said.

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LA debuts first firefighting robot in the country, deploys it in downtown blaze

The Thermite RS3 is capable of spraying 2,500 gallons per minute

 A firefighting robot got its first major test Tuesday in Los Angeles when it was put to use for the first time in the United States to battle a major blaze.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said the Thermite RS3 robot was supposed to have its official public introduction in the afternoon but got called into duty a few hours early due to a blaze downtown.

“It had already gotten dirty at an early morning major emergency commercial structure fire that morning – proving its value from the start,” the department said.

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Alphabet’s Mineral moonshot wants to help farmers with robotic plant buggies

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The tech could lead to more sustainable farming practices.

 In 2018, Alphabet’s X lab said it was in the process of exploring how it could use artificial intelligence to improve farming. On Monday, X announced that its “computational agriculture” project is called Mineral. The Mineral team has spent the last several years “developing and testing a range of software and hardware prototypes based on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, simulation, sensors, robotics and more.”

One of the tools that has come out of the project is a robotic plant buggy. Powered by solar panels, the machine makes its way across a farmer’s field, examining every plant it passes along the way with an array of cameras and sensors. In conjunction with satellite, weather and soil data, Mineral says the buggy and its AI software can identify patterns and give farmers insights into their crops.

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Drone truck startup Einride unveils new driverless vehicles for autonomous freight hauling

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The company’s cab-less prototypes are set to hit the road in 2021

Einride, the Swedish autonomous trucking startup, unveiled a new vehicle type that the company hopes to have on the road delivering freight starting in 2021. The vehicles, dubbed Autonomous Electric Transport (AET), came in four different variations. And much like Einride’s previous prototypes, they come without steering wheels, pedals, windshields, and, in general, no cab at all.

Einride has been in the business of releasing interesting, eye-catching prototype vehicles since it was founded in 2016. There was the cab-less Pod, released in 2017, which has been used in partnership with German logistics firm DB Schenker. The company also has electric trucks hauling freight for Oatly, the Swedish food producer. A year later, the company unveiled the T-Log, built to be more powerful than its predecessor for the job of (you guessed it) hauling tons of giant tree logs. Now it has a next-generation vehicle that it hopes it can put into production.

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