Drones to deliver goods – DHL, Amazon and Google

Have you ever wondered on “Drones to deliver goods” - must see these videos of how 3 big companies – Google, DHL and Amazon – are testing drones to deliver goods.

Google’s “Project Wing” 

Thursday 29, 2014 – Google’s “Project Wing” or drone is on test to deliver candy, water, medicine, dog treats and other items to two farmers in Queensland, Australia.

Deutsche Post DHL

Monday December 9, 2013 - Germany’s express delivery and mail company Deutsche Post DHL is testing a drone to deliver urgently needed goods to hard-to-reach places. The drone or aircraft has four propellers (while Amazon’s robot has eight) and can carry approximately 3kgs ,

Amazon “Prime Air”

December 2, 2013 - the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon is testing unmanned drones “Prime Air”to deliver goods to customers- despite legal obstacles in the U.S.

Autonomous Vehicle Research in Singapore

SINGAPORE : On 27 Wednesday,  Aug  2014, Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)  announced the Singapore Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI) and agree to collaborate and  develop autonomous transport for Singapore’s roads. The LTA will be working towards a framework for such vehicles to be tested on public roads over the next year. Where as A*STAR will be  working on development of Autonomous Vehicle technologies, formulate roadmaps and conduct R&D test-beds.

Other than SAVI, universities in Singapore such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have already begun test-bedding driverless vehicles within their campuses. For example, the SMART-NUS car, a Mitsubishi electric model, as a driverless car, within NUS.  At the Nanyang Technological University, a driverless shuttle (max speed  speed of 12.5 mp) that can seat up to 10 passenger is also being tested.

See the video below – the SMART-NUS car in action  

See the video below – the NTU’s driverless ride with Navia  in action  

Mobileye’s next evolution DAS technology – autonomous driving

Mobileye has been working on driver assistance systems (DAS) and now jumped into the Autonomous Vehicle (AV)/Driver-less car venture. The new evolution DAS technology – the autonomous driving –  whole system relies only on a camera (this is going to be very competitive on cost and robustness as compared to its contemporaries), which can offer a cost-effective autonomous driving solution. Mobileye is expecting to launch their first working prototype in 2016 (for highway).

It appears that the DAS system heavily rely on lane-markers for navigation and it has pretty good features for pedestrian, bike, vehicle detection and collision warning etc,

Mobileye has the world’s largest machine vision development center in Israel and offices in the United States, China, Germany and Japan.

For more info on Mobileye

Funded PhD positions at The University of Auckland, NZ

Two funded PhD positions are available in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Students hired to fill these positions will work with a team of researchers to address fundamental learning and knowledge representation challenges in human-robot collaboration. Students will have the opportunity to design, implement and evaluate novel algorithms and architectures for different (i.e., wheeled, humanoid and aerial) robot platforms deployed in diverse application domains such as healthcare and agriculture.

Essential (and Optional) Requirements:

– Excellent undergraduate or Masters degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics or a related discipline.
– Expertise in probability theory and statistics.
– Excellent programming skills.
– Knowledge of fundamental principles of robotics, AI and/or machine learning, e.g., a course in any of these topics.
– Satisfy requirements for admission to the doctoral program at The University of Auckland.
– (Optional) Prior expertise with physical robots will be a plus.

A high-level description of possible research projects is available online:
https://apps.foe.auckland.ac.nz/pgresearch/moreInfo.php?id=890

If you are interested, you may send a brief statement summarizing your expertise and interests, along with a link to your CV (please do *not* send email attachments), to Dr. Mohan Sridharan: m.sridharan@auckland.ac.nz

**********************************************

Dr. Mohan Sridharan
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Auckland, New Zealand
http://homepages.engineering.auckland.ac.nz/~smohan/
**********************************************

Levels of Autonomous Vehicles by NHTSA

Autonomous or self-driving vehicles have long been predicted and discussed in popular science media. And, major corporations, such car manufactures, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) system providers,  have announced plans to begin selling such vehicles in a few years.

In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lays out ground rules for autonomous vehicles;

  1. Level 1 – Function-specific Automation: Automation of specific control functions, such as cruise control, lane guidance and automated parallel parking. Drivers are fully engaged and responsible for overall vehicle control (hands on the steering wheel and foot on the pedal at all times).
  2. Level 2 – Combined Function Automation: Automation of multiple and integrated control functions, such as adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Drivers are responsible for monitoring the roadway and are expected to be available for control at all times, but under certain conditions can disengaged from vehicle operation (hands off the steering wheel and foot off pedal simultaneously).
  3. Level 3 – Limited Self-Driving Automation: Drivers can cede all safety-critical functions under certain conditions and rely on the vehicle to monitor for changes in those conditions that will require transition back to driver control. Drivers are not expected to constantly monitor the roadway.
  4. Level 4 – Full Self-Driving Automation: Vehicles can perform all driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip, and so may operate with occupants who cannot drive and without human occupants.

These guidelines themselves don’t carry the weight of any driving or state laws, but they appear fairly reasonable and common-sense.

Fore info, pls visit at  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Google is testing autonomous vehicle in a “Matrix-style” digital simulation.

In April 2014, Google reported that their autonomous car has travelled 700,000 miles accident free on real road.

And, now Google has been intensively using “Matrix-style” simulation  to mimic real-world driving, by modelling the whole California road into the software and virtually driven over 4 million miles the company’s Mountain View location.

More interestingly, Google is now lobbying the California state’s regulators to certify them based on virtual rather than real driving, “Computer simulations are actually more valuable, as they allow manufacturers to test their software under far more conditions and stresses than could possibly be achieved on a test track”…

For more info, pls visit at Google lobbies to test self-driving cars in Matrix-style virtual world

 

Robotics enrichment courses in Singapore

There are many enrichment centres in Singapore are proving Robotic lessons. The following list provides some info on these centres;

#1 Effectual Education

Effectual Education is the education arm of Effectual Devices with focus on robotics, science and technology education. Our clients include Tertiary Institutions, MOE and private schools in Singapor

Avilable Courses

NTRODUCTORY

- Provides a foundation and concepts of robotics combined with fun and engaging hands-on projects and challenges.

FOUNDATION

- Equip participants with strong grasps of concepts and fundamentals. Includes frendly challenges and competitions.

INTERMEDIATE

- Explores the robot function and features in detail. Includes challenges to test and hone the problem solving abilities of participants.

COMPETITION

- Prepares participants for LEGO robotics competitions like the First LEGO League and the NJRC. We use the LEGO Green City Challenge set and our customed designed challenges.

ADVANCED

- Optimize robot function and features in depth. Modify, improvise and incoporate non-standard features for best performance.

For more info, visit at Effectual Education 

#2 Nullspace’s Centre for Robotic Learning (C2RL)

Nullspace’s  is C4RL providing robotics training and enrichment classes to Singapore schools since 2008. C4RL specialises in teaching LEGO Mindstorms Robotics.

Available Courses

LEGO® Robotics Certificate Program

In house LEGO® Robotics Program developed by Nullspace to develop robotics proficiency in kids. Total of 6 levels, each level consists of 4 x 2.5 hour sessions.
September Holiday Robotics Bootcamp
LEGO® Robotics Program: Pre-Beginner
LEGO® Robotics Certificate Program: Beginner 1
LEGO® Robotics Certificate Program: Beginner 2
LEGO® Robotics Certificate Program: Intermediate 1
LEGO® Robotics Certificate Program: Intermediate 2
LEGO® Robotics Certificate Program: Advanced 1
LEGO® Robotics Certificate Program: Advanced 2

For more info, visit at Nullspace

#3 Robotics Conection Pte Ltd

Robotics Connection is passionate to provide robotics enrichment courses for all ages. Our mission is to nurture a creative child through new technologies such as bluetooth, intelligent sensors and computer programming.We have conducted numerous robotics workshops and courses in schools, after-care centers, community clubs and country clubs over the past 8 years.

Avilable Courses and more info, visit at Robotics Connections

#4 Children’s Worklab

Children’s Worklab is an education centre focused on developing and delivering applied-technology curricula to children aged 4-12. I

Available Courses

Basic Robotics
Advanced Robotics

For more info, visit at Worklab

Robotics Research Labs/Centres in Singapore

There are few Robotics Research Labs/Centres in Singapore. Although, this is not the comprehensive list but the list below provides some information on robotics labs/centres  in Singapore(in random order);

#1 Robotics Research Centre (RRC), Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Robotics Research Centre (RRC) was established in May 1994 with a start-up fund of S$1.68 million. The RRC is jointly managed and funded by the School of Computer Engineering (SCE), the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE), and School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE).

The main objectives of the RRC are:

  1. to consolidate, focus and accelerate robotic research activities within the University;
  2. to bring together researchers and academics in the area of robotics into a conducive environment equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities;
  3. to cooperate with industrial partners and government agencies in fields of strategic importance to robotics;
  4. to provide consultancy services to local industry in robotics and related areas

People

Associate Professor Chen I-Ming (Director, RRC)
Associate Professor Deepu Rajan (Deputy Director, RRC)
Associate Professor Wang Dan Wei (Deputy Director, RRC)

For more info on RRC

#2. Social Robotics Laboratory (SRL), National University of Singapore (NUS)

The Social Robotics Laboratory (SRL), Interactive Digital Media Institute, the National University of Singapore, is a research laboratory focused on socially competent, personal, healthcare and edutainment robotics internationally for scientific, social and economical impacts through the synergy from arts, engineering, medicine and sciences.

The main objectives of SRL are: Advanced cross disciplinary research of social robotics for improving the lives of humans worldwide; Sophisticated common R&D platforms under one roof for more cohesive and vibrant research across arts, engineering, medicine, and sciences; Dedicated human capital development for creativity, leadership, and visionary in the area of social, personal, healthcare, and edutainment robotics; High intellectual properties throughputs for technology transfer and start ups in making social and economic impact; and Magnet for joint research and international collaboration.

People

Professor Shuzhi Sam Ge
Professor Hang Chang Chieh

For more info on SRL

#3.CENTRE FOR ROBOTICS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE , Singapore Polytechnic (SP)

The Centre specializes in development of cutting edge technologies including navigation and mapping in dynamic environments, object recognition and manipulation, human robot interaction, human intent recognition, adaptive behaviours, ambient intelligence, standardization and system integration. Our students participate in local and international robotics competitions winning numerous awards over the years and we have been one of the top players over the years. We have participated in RoboCup in the soccer and @home leagues; in Singapore Robotics Games we participated in pole balancing, intelligent robot, and wall climbing challenges.

People

Mr Carlos Acosta

For more info on centre CENTRE FOR ROBOTICS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

SaviOne robot : your room service butler

SaviOne robot butler by robot company Savioke, soon start doing room service deliveries. It’s designed to provide door-to-door delivery of whatever you desire (and can fit in its cargo bin), and it drives around autonomously.

The SaviOne prototypes is developed within 7 months of study, mainly focusing on the ergonomic loading and unloading of the robot, providing an empathetic experience for the user and and ensuring that interaction was quick and easy for staff and intuitive and fun for guests. The robot is about 3 feet and weighs less than 45 kilograms, and it travels at a human walking pace.

Look at the videos below to see SaviOne robot in actions

Ice Bucket Challenge With Robots

As Ice Bucket Challenge continues to spread around the world, now Pepper Robots and  Nao robots are taking part on the challenge too.

Take a look the following videos;

In Tokyo, several Pepper robots help dump water on Softbank executive Kaname Hayashi. Pepper is the first social humanoid robot designed to live with humans, who can converse with you, recognize and react to your emotions, move and live autonomously.

In Paris, Nao robotscheer as Aldebaran Robotics CEO Bruno Maisonnier gets soaked. NAO is a 58-cm tall, cute humanoid robot. NAO is intended to be a friendly companion, who can move, recognise you, hear you and even talk to you!

Find more about Pepper robots  and Nao robots