Robotics/AI – SciPol Weekly, November 25 – December 1


Bloomberg – Thune floats self-driving car bill for unanimous consent

The Senate’s top transportation lawmaker is gauging support this week among colleagues for his self-driving car bill, to see whether it could pass under unanimous consent, he told Bloomberg Government Nov. 28. “We’re trying I think this week to start to hotline on it to see what issues we have, but we’d like to get it moving as soon as we can,” Thune said. “If we can get consent, we would like to move it that way.”

FutureStructure – Arizona Tech Towns Open to AV Testing on City Streets

Uber, the ride-hailing app that has invested heavily in AV technology and its development, has deployed cars in Tempe, home to Arizona State University, which the U.S. News & World Report ranks first in "innovation." Meanwhile, Waymo, which fits under the Alphabet company umbrella, has been testing its technology in Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix, since 2016. The cars — Chrysler Pacifica minivans — have been driverless since mid-October.

MotorTrend – Lyft Gains Permission to Test Autonomous Vehicles in California

 Lyft is the latest to receive permission in California and joins companies like Waymo and Apple, as well as automakers Subaru, Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors. The license comes right after the ride-hailing company announced a number of strategic partnerships with companies like Ford. These partnerships were created in order to test autonomous vehicles because Lyft intends to incorporate them into their vehicle fleet and use them as part of their ride-hailing business.


ABB – ABB and Kawasaki announce collaborative robot automation cooperation

ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, two global industrial automation and robot suppliers, announced today that the companies will join forces to share knowledge and promote the benefits of collaborative robots, in particular those with dual arm designs. Under the new cooperation, which is the world’s first to focus on ‘cobots,’ both robot makers will continue independently manufacturing and marketing their own offerings while working together on joint technical and awareness opportunities. This includes educating policy makers, NGOs and the general public about the benefits of collaborative automation, and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications.

Car and Driver – GM and Cruise Finally Give a Peek behind the Curtain of Their Automated-Driving Program

On Monday, the automaker and its Cruise Automation subsidiary finally shared more about its current-generation program and allowed a small group of reporters to go for rides near its San Francisco headquarters. As in Waymo’s automated Chrysler Pacificas, GM has equipped each seat with a tablet that provides a display of what the sensors are seeing, the paths the car is considering, and the currently chosen path. All of this is meant to help build trust by assuring riders that the car is “seeing” everything moving around the car.

Fortune – GM Wants to Bring an Uber-Like Self-Driving Car Service to Big Cities in 2019. Will It Work?

The company said it’s aiming for a future of “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion” enabled by a system entirely controlled by GM, beginning with assembly line production all the way to deployment using its own ride-hailing service. “We think this represents one of the biggest business opportunities of all time, since the creation of the Internet,” Dan Ammann, GM’s president and chief of autonomous vehicle strategy, told investors. “No longer will you have to have conversations with drivers that you don’t want to have,” Ammann said. “No longer listen to music you don’t want to listen to."

Reuters – Facebook to expand artificial intelligence to help prevent suicide

Facebook began testing the software in the United States in March, when the company started scanning the text of Facebook posts and comments for phrases that could be signals of an impending suicide. Facebook has not disclosed many technical details of the program, but the company said its software searches for certain phrases that could be clues, such as the questions “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?” If the software detects a potential suicide, it alerts a team of Facebook workers who specialize in handling such reports.

USA Today – Facebook says artificial intelligence has sped up removal of terrorist content

"We are encouraged by these numbers but we know we have to work to do and we are working on getting better and faster," said Monika Bickert, who runs global policy management. She would not say how much terrorist content — how many posts, images, videos and the like — is removed from Facebook. "The 99% and 83% that are removed are pretty impressive on the surface but the question is: Are we talking about 1,000 videos or 10,000, or 100,000?" says Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the program on extremism at George Washington University. "What's glaringly missing are the actual hard numbers."

ZDNet – Intel eyes in-cabin experiences for autonomous vehicles, partners with Warner Bros

Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich outlined the Warner Bros., partnership. He said, "So much of the discussion around autonomous driving has naturally focused on the car as a mode of transportation, but as driverless cars become a reality, we must start thinking of the automobile as a new type of consumer space... In this respect, autonomous driving is today's biggest game changer, offering a new platform for innovation from in-cabin design and entertainment to life-saving safety systems."


Forbes – Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning Set To Change The Customer Experience

Because we now live in a 24/7, 365 day a year on-demand world, companies are turning to AI and machine learning to step in and automate repetitive tasks and alleviate mundane functions from customer service agents which allows them to build better relationships with customers and focus on tackling more complex customer conversations. Customer service centers will have deeper foresight into future customers outcomes, more recommendations on the team’s next best course of action, and can be more efficient due to the automation of simple support tasks.


Forbes – Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun: How To Be 'Robot-Proof'

Joseph E. Aoun, author of Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and the seventh President of Northeastern University, said, "We have a responsibility to our students to be thinking about how to prepare them for the coming tsunami of smart machines and how it will transform the future of work. To make people robot-proof, higher education needs to change. In my book, I offer a blueprint for how we can accomplish this. We will need to re-envision the curriculum, invest in experiential education, and put lifelong learning at the heart of what we do."

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Mill Bridge in Tempe, AZ
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conekt, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0