Tag Archives: robot
Self-driving cars are nothing new: Google, Lexus and Audi have all showcased the technology in prototype form before. But these autonomous vehicles are all designed to operate on public roads and handle unforeseen obstacles using advanced sensors like LIDAR. What about cars operating in a controlled environment like a private track? Ford engineers answered this question when they partnered with Autonomous Solutions Inc. to develop robot drivers to test vehicle durability. The GPS-based system (accurate to one inch) allows up to eight autonomous cars to operate simultaneously on the same track.
Durability testing is traditionally rough on both test vehicles and human drivers. The new technology, which is three years in the making, is now being used to test upcoming models (like Ford’s 2014 Transit van). It enables testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week with perfect repeatability. Vehicles send their position and speed to a central computer (monitored by a single person) via a low-latency wireless connection and receive instructions on what maneuvers to perform. This is actually quite similar to what Anki Drive is doing with toy cars. Motors control the steering wheel, gear shifter and pedals to simulate a driver following a predetermined route.
Ford plans to equip the cars with more sensors (such as radar and cameras) to allow a mix of human and robot drivers to operate safely on the same track together. Check out the gallery below and the company’s video and PR after the break.
Via: New York Times
Someone call MIT’s researchers and tell them their terrifying cheetah robot has a long-lost teensy sibling in Switzerland. Developed in the laboratories of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the “cheetah-cub robot” is a four-legged metallic critter modeled after a house cat. The scientists focused on designing legs that can move like our feline friends’, paying particular attention to their stability while moving on uneven surfaces. While it has a long way to go before it becomes a graceful daredevil, it’s a fast little bugger that can run seven times its body length in one second. The researchers hope their creation gives rise to more robots for exploration and search-and-rescue missions in the future — a far more noble goal than some cat-owners’ dream to have their pets’ pictures land on the front page of Reddit.
When Anki Drive was demoed live on stage during Apple’s WWDC, we saw a modern take on classic slot cars using iOS devices and Bluetooth-equipped toy vehicles — basically a racing video game rendered with real world objects. But there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Earlier this week, we talked briefly with Boris Sofman — Anki’s CEO and cofounder — about the product and the startup’s history and ambitions. While playing the game and taking pictures was off limits, we got the opportunity to examine the cars up close. Read on after the break.
Gallery: WWDC 2013: Anki Drive App
There’s a new kid on the Arduino block, and it’s called the Arduino Robot. Launched yesterday at Maker Faire Bay Area, it’s the company’s first product that extends beyond single microcontroller boards. The Roomba-like design, which we first saw in November 2011, is the result of a collaboration with Complubot. It consists of two circular boards, each equipped with Atmel‘s ubiquitous ATmega32u4 and connected via ribbon cable.
The bottom board is home to four AA batteries (NiMH), a pair of motors and wheels, a power connector and switch plus some infrared sensors. By default it’s programmed to drive the motors and manage power. The top board faetures a color LCD, a microSD card slot, an EEPROM, a speaker, a compass, a knob plus some buttons and LEDs. It’s programmed to control the display and handle I/O. Everything fits inside a space that’s about 10cm high and 19cm in diameter.
Pre-soldered connectors and prototyping areas on each board make it easier to customize the robot platform with additional sensors and electronics. It even comes with eleven step-by-step projects and a helpful GUI right out of the box. The Arduino Robot is now on sale at the Maker Faire for $275 and will be available online in July. Take a look at our gallery below and watch our video interview with Arduino founder Massimo Banzi after the break.
Gallery: Arduino Robot at Maker Faire 2013
When it comes to
hunting down humans running speeds, MIT’s cheetah might come second to Boston Dynamics’ own high-velocity quadruped, but by substituting pneumatics with motors, MIT’s version apparently runs far more efficiently. At the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the Institute of Technology showed of its newest version, which reached a top speed of 13.7 mph. To accomplish this, the runner still needs parallel support bars to constrain movement in one dimension, reducing any roll, yaw — and the chances of a pretty expensive fall. The team says the new version’s cost of transport (COT is power consumption divided by weight, times velocity) is around 0.52. In comparison, Honda’s Asimo has a hefty COT of 2.
This impressive efficiency is down to the use of electric motors over hydraulics, with a new “three phase permanent magnet synchronous motor” providing the necessary torque. Researchers also used biometric principles to conserve energy and reduce stress on joints, including Kevlar tendons across the back of the legs. With all those efficiency increases, it mean that MIT’s cheetah can theoretically run while carrying its own power source. We’ve added a video after the break, where you can see the bot hit its top speed while carrying some battery dummy weights.
Filed under: Robots
Via: Spectrum IEEE
Source: MIT Biomimetics