Honda has one-upped themselves with the UNI-CUB, an advanced version of their 2009 U3-X. The battery-powered personal mobility device can move in all directions and is meant to carry one where perhaps Segways cannot. The third wheel aids in better steering and this new version has a soft seat. Starting next month, the UNI-CUB will be taken to Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation for display and testing before unleashing it on the public. We wonder if ASIMO could hitch a ride.
Somehow is seems only fitting that a techno-rich company receive the first self-driving car in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company says that it has already completed over 200,000 hours of computer led-driving with its Prius. In the video, Santa Clara Valley Blind Center head Steve Mahan takes it through its paces.
The license plate itself is red, features AU (for autonomous) and the infinity symbol. The cars are still in the testing stage, however we expect that as other car companies get involved it won't be long before the streets are filled with automated road rage.
A group from the University of Illinois developed an avian MAV that can land on a human's hand. The autonomous bot has undergone test flights that demonstrates its two phases. First it flies while maneuvering with articulated wings then it pitches up and slows down before landing. Still in the early stages, the team plans to continue to fine tune their project in the future.
Planetary Resources has great plans to mine asteroids for both precious metals and water and we are not surprised that filmmaker James Cameron is getting involved. The group of celestial miners include engineers, former NASA astronauts and other techies. They plan to send unmanned spacecrafts with telescopes to start. Smaller ones can be dragged closer to earth and robot miners will be dispatched to the larger ones.
While this will undoubtedly be a pricey project, Planetary plans to make some of that telescope observation time accessible to the little people. Another plus is helping to save Earth's environment and if we go in search of asteroids, there should be a lot less odds of them damaging us. The first phase involves sending an Arkyd Series 100 Leo space telescope up within the next two years for observation. Mining may be reachable within the next decade.
China's BYD displayed its Qin plug-in (named after the first Empire) at the recent Beijing Motor Show. The hybrid sedan features a lush interior with two TFT LCDs on the dashboard. After the Qin is turned on, an actual small robot appears on its dashboard that, according to China Car Times, appears to be the terminal of its "i" networking system, including wireless internet, cloud computing, GPS, voice control and music downloads. Price should run between $24,000 - $32,000.
It is never too soon to invest in your own Drone for battling nosy ones or giving you an advantage of spying back. The quad copter can be controlled both indoors and out by a Wifi iPad, iPhone, touch or Android device. The AR.Drone autopilot allows simplified takeoff and landing and the front view camera offers a live video feed. The 22.4 x 22.4 x 5.4" mini-drone is available in orange with blue/green/yellow combinations and comes with battery, charger, four adapters and two hulls.
Nevada has become the first state to authorize autonomous vehicles. The recently finalized regulations originally signed into law last June by Governor Brian Sandoval state that companies and individuals can test their riderless cars after licensing. An operator must be present in the self-driving car in case of an emergency and even though this is Nevada, there will be no magic button to push should someone imbibe a little too much. Cellphone usage is acceptable though. A black box must be included in the that can track the vehicle.
Google, Carnegie-Mellon and most of the main players in the automotive industry are certainly happy about the news as they have already been testing the technology. So if you see a red license plate (test vehicle) or green one (licensed) give it a wide berth.
Visitors to France's FRAC Center in Orleans get the privilege of witnessing "Flight Assembled Architecture," a 20 ft. high building being assembled by flying robots. Four quadrocopters are placing 1,500 polystyrene foam blocks into the futuristic city that could house 30,000 humans if it were real and to scale. Although they are autonomous they learn placement according to the blueprints. The exhibit is the brainchild of ETH Zurich, roboticist Raffaello D'Andrea and the architect team of Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, and will run through February 19.
NASA's Curiosity rover is well on its way to Mars after a successful launch and separation from the Atlas V rocket last Saturday. It will take almost nine months to reach the planet after it travels 354 million miles. As we mentioned last week, the car-sized rover plans to explore the planet for about 2 years. It will land inside a crater where scientists believe ice was traced to look for other signs. You just never know what form of life they might find.
Whoa! Who isn't impressed by the Real Steel, due out October 7 and starring Hugh Jackman and those incredible Rockem' Sockem' Robots? You can bet that any licensed toys that come out of it will be hot for the holidays. (A poster is already available.) More video trailers have been released like the one above and we think it will be too kewl for skewl if viewed it at an IMAX theater.