How Open-Source Robotics Hardware Is Accelerating Research and Innovation

Erico Guizzo for IEEE Spectrum: We've seen how, over the last several years, open source software-platforms like the Robot Operating System (ROS), Gazebo, and OpenCV, among others-has played a huge role in helping researchers and companies build robots better and faster. Can the same thing happen with robot hardware?

Drone Use Will Skyrocket By 2021, Government Says

Jonathan Vanian for Fortune: In addition to data about hobbyist-owned drones, the FAA said that it expects roughly 442,000 drones to be used by businesses by 2021 for tasks like taking pictures of farmland or inspecting cell phone towers. That's nearly ten times as many drones than the 42,000 the FAA said businesses used in 2016.

Drone Defense Startups Flock to the Rescue

Reuters: Airspace is among some 70 companies working on counter-drone systems as small consumer and commercial drones proliferate. But unlike others, it aims to catch drones instead of disabling them or shooting them down.

First Robot Cop to join Dubai Police Force in May

Janice Williams for Newsweek: The first robot cop is expected to join Dubai's police force in May. Officials in Dubai unveiled plans to introduce a robotic police officer to the United Arab Emirates during a policing forum recently and said they intend to have robot cops serving as about 25 percent of the force by 2030.

How Sensors, Robotics And Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Agriculture

In a new initiative called FarmView, researchers are working to combine sensors, robotics and artificial intelligence to create a fleet of mobile field robots they hope will improve plant breeding and crop-management practices.

Perceptual Robotics, Autonomous wind turbine inspection

SUAS News:  Perceptual Robotics is applying leading edge autonomy concepts to industrial applications.  Currently based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, our passion is to bridge the divide between academia and industry. Perceptual Robotics is applying leading edge autonomy concepts to industrial applications. Currently based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, our passion is to bridge the divide between academia and industry.  Through our Innovate UK project, we will be developing a fully autonomous system for the intelligent, efficient and reliable inspection of wind turbines.   Cont'd...

America may miss out on the next industrial revolution

Preparing for automation means investing in robotics   Nick Statt for The Verge:  Robots are inevitably going to automate millions of jobs in the US and around the world, but there’s an even more complex scenario on the horizon, said roboticist Matt Rendall. In a talk Tuesday at SXSW, Rendall painted a picture of the future of robotic job displacement that focused less on automation and more on the realistic ways in which the robotics industry will reshape global manufacturing. The takeaway was that America, which has outsourced much of its manufacturing and lacks serious investment in industrial robotics, may miss out on the world’s next radical shift in how goods are produced. That’s because the robot makers — as in, the robots that make the robots — could play a key role in determining how automation expands across the globe.   Full article:  

New Study Shows U.S. is World Leader in Robotics Automation - With $732 Billion of Robots

A new study from Redwood Software and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) finds that the U.S. is the world leader in robotics automation investment, with an estimated robotics stock of $732 billion* - larger than the economy of Switzerland, which stood at $446 billion* in 2015. U.S. investment in robotics was $86 billion in 2015, up from less than $40 billion in 2009, when investment hit a low following the financial crisis, and more than 15 times higher than the OECD average. Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. investments in robotics rose 30%. "The U.S. is the world leader in robotics investment, and spending has recovered quickly since the financial crisis in 2009," said David Whitaker, Managing Economist at CEBR. "The sheer size of the economy and its large base of production in the automotive and electronic sectors make it a natural candidate for increased automation." Full Press Release:

ABB sells its first ever robot manufactured in the US to Hitachi Powdered Metals USA

ABB has sold its first robot manufactured in the United States. The IRB 2600 robot is the first to be produced at the ABB Auburn Hills, Michigan facility, and was sold by ABB Value Provider, CIM SYSTEMS, INC. to Hitachi Powdered Metals USA. The compact robot, which is painted with special commemorative red, white and blue paint, will be used for material handling of in-process engine component parts at the Hitachi Greensburg, Indiana facility. It is the 180th ABB robot at the Hitachi plant, which installed its first ABB robot in 2005. "The sale of ABB's first robot produced in the US to Hitachi is a tremendous milestone in the development of our manufacturing presence in the Americas," Full News Release:

Grocery 4.0: Ocado reshapes retail with robotics and automation

Jon Excell for The Engineer: Online grocer Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player. Jon Excell reports If prompted to name a UK company at the cutting edge of robotics and automation, few of us would cite one of the country's best-known grocery retailers. But, as The Engineer learned on a recent visit to one of its key facilities, online supermarket Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player: harnessing and developing machine-learning systems, Internet of Things concepts and robotic hardware to a degree that leaves many traditional engineering businesses in the shade. Full Article:

Are Robotics a Key to the Next Phase of Recycling?

Arlene Karidis for Waste360:  About 10 years ago, computer scientist Matanya Horowitz became intrigued at how far robotics had come within some industries and he started thinking about its potential in recycling, particularly for recognizing and sorting materials. Horowitz postulated that intelligent systems could have a huge impact if they could be designed to identify any material in a waste stream and pull it out. But there were unique challenges to address within the recycling niche, and Horowitz went to work to troubleshoot them. After years of tweaking, the proprietary technology he created under the Denver-based company, AMP Robotics, is running in several material recovery facilities (MRFs). The robotic system, called the AMP Cortex Robotic Sorter, has the attention of several stakeholders, including the Closed Loop Foundation and a federal government agency.   Cont'd...

Crashing Drones Into Test Dummies for Safety

Alan Levin for Bloomberg:  Hank sat impassively on a Virginia Tech athletic field, ready to take it on the chin for the future of drone commerce. About 30 yards away, an eight-rotor unmanned copter hovered, buzzing like a swarm of bees. The 21-pound drone tilted forward, accelerated sharply and slammed into Hank’s head, smacking the crash-test dummy’s neck backward and embedding shards of shattered propeller in his plastic face. There is little disagreement that the small- and medium-sized drones flooding the U.S. market can seriously injure or even kill someone. Understanding and minimizing the risk will be key to convincing regulators to expand their permitted uses, clearing the way for plans by Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. to have them deliver packages or news outlets such as Time Warner Inc.’s CNN to use them for aerial video.   Cont'd...

Miso Robotics Unveils "Flippy" in CaliBurger Kitchen, Plans Worldwide Rollout

Miso Robotics and Cali Group today unveiled Flippy, an artificial intelligence-driven robot that will work alongside kitchen staff to grill burgers at CaliBurger restaurants. Flippy had its debut at the CaliBurger location in Pasadena, California. A video demonstration captured the robotic kitchen assistant flipping burgers and placing them on buns. Flippy will roll out in early 2018 and expand to more than 50 CaliBurger restaurants worldwide by the end of 2019.  Miso Robotics is pioneering the use of computer vision and deep learning software to bring low-cost, adaptable robotics into restaurants. The company's collaborative kitchen assistant handles the hazardous, tedious and time-sensitive aspects of grilling and cooks burgers to perfection every time. It easily integrates into CaliBurger's current kitchen layout without needing to reconfigure existing equipment.   Full Press Release:

Rise of the Robots

If manufacturers are going to flourish in America, they’ll need to buy a lot more robots. Here are six ways to play this hot trend. Jack Hough for Barron's:  For long-term investors, robots could be one key to securing healthy corporate profit growth, and stock returns, even as wages rise. There are specific opportunities, too. Japan’s Fanuc (ticker: 6954.Japan) is far and away the U.S. market leader in industrial robots, and it’s quickly ramping up production. Its shares have been outperforming, and they could offer 20% more upside over the next year. Germany’s Kuka (KU2.Germany), which sold a majority stake last year to China’s appliance giant, Midea Group (000333.China), has similar return potential. Other stocks with high exposure to industrial robotics and factory automation include Rockwell Automation (ROK), Switzerland’s ABB(ABB), and Yaskawa Electric (6506.Japan). And for one-stop shoppers, there’s the Robo Global Robotics & Automation Index exchange-traded fund (ROBO), which tracks 85 stocks, charges annual expenses of 0.95%, and has returned 37% over the past year.   Cont'd...

Brain-controlled robots

CSAIL system enables people to correct robot mistakes using brain signals. Adam Conner-Simons via MIT News:  For robots to do what we want, they need to understand us. Too often, this means having to meet them halfway: teaching them the intricacies of human language, for example, or giving them explicit commands for very specific tasks. But what if we could develop robots that were a more natural extension of us and that could actually do whatever we are thinking? A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Boston University is working on this problem, creating a feedback system that lets people correct robot mistakes instantly with nothing more than their brains.   Cont'd...

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