Who will the courts blame when the first driverless car kills someone? That's “when”, not “if”, as deaths from driverless cars are a near certainty, and the logic behind *who the car decides to kill* is a good introduction to the fascinating and terrifying world of our coming robot future.
Cockroaches slip through the cracks. While this is a huge problem for anyone trying to keep the insects out of their home, it makes roaches a great subject of interest for robotics research. If humans could make a robot that worked like a cockroach, it could slip into places otherwise inaccessible, aiding rescue workers and potentially saving lives after earthquakes or other disasters. By studying just how roaches work even after they've been compressed, researchers made a robot that can slip through an opening half its height.
While we might have already seen our first robot in the 2016 US presidential election, a serious supercomputer is hopping in the fray.
Google DeepMind thinks the best way to teach machines how to learn about the world is to place them in a virtual one, namely in video games. Since the entire experience is virtual, it's easy to reproduce exact scenarios and get a nearly unlimited amount of data from a single game. In the past, DeepMind has developed algorithms to learn from (and beat) 2D Atari games like Breakout and Pac-Man.
It is a bad idea to fly a drone near the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday. The FAA, responsible for regulating the safe shared use of America's skies, recently put out a Notice to Airmen restricting all flights within a 37-mile radius of Levi's Stadium during the game this weekend. That restriction applies to private jets, commercial airliners, and small drones alike. Pilots violating this airspace restriction will potentially face civil and criminal penalties. But despite headlines to the contrary, it almost certainly does not mean anyone is going to use deadly force against a drone or a drone operator.
NASA's Greased Lightning is an all-electric transforming drone from the aviation side of the venerable space agency. With lots of little motors and tilt-wings, it can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, then shift them to fly level through the air like a plane. We've raved about it before, and marveled at both the name and the abilities of the little plane. It's pretty impressive, for a craft with only a 10-foot wingspan. Now you can see what the view looks like from the drone's 360-degree camera, thanks to a panoramic video released earlier this week.