Sunday, April 22, 2018

Pakistan has Tested a Nuclear Capable Submarine Launched Cruise Missile

Pakistan announced Thursday that it had successfully conducted another test-firing of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), which has a range of 450 kilometers.

The indigenously developed Babur missile was fired from an underwater platform and “engaged its target with precise accuracy,” a military statement said.

The rocket is capable of delivering “various types of payloads” and provides Pakistan a “credible” second-strike capability.

Military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor, while referring to the country’s archrival India, said the development of Babur was a response to “provocative nuclear strategies and posture being pursued in the neighborhood.” He also released some footage of the testing.

Pakistan said its nuclear and missile development programs are India-specific and have effectively deterred the bigger neighbor, with its larger military power, from imposing another war on the country.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Robopocalypse Report #102


One airline exec is calling for harsher penalties on drone operators for near misses between drones and aircraft.

An alliance has been formed between drone makers.

Amazon got a patent for drones people can wave down.

Aronofsky used drones for filming.

The Borey-10 drone is intended for mapping, monitoring and surveying.

China has issued its first drone delivery permit.

Chinese smugglers were using drones to smuggle $80 million worth of Iphones from Hong Kong to Shenzen.

The Commercial Drone Alliance wants the FAA to regulate hobbyist drone pilots so they can implement a drone air traffic control system.

DJI will allow developers to customize drones.

Delivery by drone may be better for the environment.

Drones are being used to stop poaching.

Drones with computer vision are being used to monitor caribou migrations.

Drones may be part of the security for Coachella 2018.

Drones have an interior life?

A drone pilot was fined for flying over an Ed Sheeran concert.

Your next airline pilot might be drone software.

DroneBase and DroneDeploy have partnered.

The FAI drone racing world cup kicks off in April.

First responders used a drone to save someone's life in the Ozarks for the first time.

You can control drones with a VR headset and an exosuit called FlyJacket.

France's drone registry would require remote ID of drone operators.

Germany had less of an increase in drone related incidents last year than anticipated.

HBO as part of a publicity stunt has delivered pizza via drone to fans of the Silicon Valley TV show.

Irish researchers just received a grant for a drone traffic control system.

Japan will end beyond line of sight regulations for drones by the beginning of 2019.

NASA just completed a TC 3 level test of a UAV traffic management system.  TC 3 means it has a long, long ways to go.

Russia Post's delivery drone went splat on its debut.

Skydio's R1 seems to impress.

senseFly has released new software for drone flight management.

The Trump administration wants to extend the military's rights to down drones to the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department.

The University of Michigan has officially opened its M-Air Lab for drones.

Using drones as artificial guide stars for adaptive optics in astronomy.

Vapor.IO has teamed up with Hangar to act as a drone ATC system.

Zipline announced faster than ever drone delivery.

Anti drone tech is being used to protect the NASCAR races.

Self Driving Cars:

Self driving cars may be slow to be adopted by car buyers due to liability concerns.

Some are poo-pooing the self driving car hype.

Alibaba is testing its own self driving cars.

Aptiv says Uber kept disabling safety features in its software.

Arizona's governor has suspended Uber's license to test self driving cars in the state.

Aurora, the self driving car company, has hired a SpaceX exec and opened Pittsburgh and San Francisco offices.

Automated electric taxis may be great for the environment.

BMW has opened an autonomous driving lab in Germany.

Britain will not regulate self driving cars until they are market ready.

California's DMV will now allow fully driverless vehicle testing.

California is also proposing regulations for driverless cars picking up passengers.

Connecticut may be the next state to allow testing of self driving cars.

Cruise's CTO has been ousted after only 6 months.

One of Cruise's self driving cars got a ticket.

Cruise just bought, but not for its tech!  But rather for the people.

Einride claims its self driving cargo vehicle will start deliveries this fall.

Ford's self driving car service will launch at scale in 2021.

Intel is responding to the Uber crash.

Mobileye has demonstrated with the video from Uber of the cyclist that their software would have picked up the issue at least a second before impact.

Nvidia has suspended self driving car tests.

Nvidia's Huang is urging caution in judging Uber's engineers.

Nvidia has a simulation framework to test self driving cars virtually before taking to the road.

Nvidia is pitching others to use their self driving car software.

Nvidia's Huang has also clarified that Uber is not using Nvidia's software.

Phantom Auto will be able to drive your self driving car remotely if it gets stuck.

Scotty Labs has raised a round of funding for its remote piloting of self driving cars.

Self driving cars could shrink parking lots.

A Tesla Model X crashed while using autopilot on Highway 101 in California.  The driver was killed.  The driver reportedly repeatedly complained about Autopilot.  The NTSB is rather unhappy that Tesla has been releasing details about the accident while its investigation is ongoing.  The NTSB says they kicked Tesla out of the investigation due to Tesla's habit of revealing information before the investigation was complete.  Tesla says they left voluntarily and then blamed the driver for the crash.  Watch a Tesla under autopilot veer for the exact same spot where the person was killed by the Model X.  There is growing evidence Autopilot doesn't handle lane dividers well.  Here's one take on the Model X crash.

Tesla has made it easier to use Autopilot in the Model 3.

Some are angry over a NYT review of the Model 3's Autopilot.

Tesla's turning lose of autonomy in its cars before its ready could seriously backfire.

Uber will not reapply for its permit to test self driving cars in California.

Uber may have been testing proprietary safety features on its self driving car when the lethal crash took place.  Or was it because there was a blind spot in the lidar?  There are reports Uber reduced the number sensors in the car.

Uber has settled with the family of the woman killed by their self driving car.

The head of Uber Freight is out.

VW will debut self parking by 2020.

Waymo is starting to eclipse Uber in the race to self driving taxis.

Waymo is certain their car tech would have not killed the woman that Uber's self driving car did.

Waymo is continuing with their rollout of the self driving car service.

Waymo is teaming up with jaguar for a high end self driving suv and self driving car service.

Waymo and Honda may team up for an autonomous delivery vehicle.

Waymo has promised not to harvest data from self driving cars.

Waymo has reportedly applied to run its self driving cars without drivers in California.

3d Printing:

A 3d printed house in France will soon have its occupants move in.  It gets reviewed.

A one bedroom 3d printed house was shown off in Italy.

Print the house!

is 3d printing for housing overhyped already?

LBNL is testing a 3d printer for all liquid (!) structures.

LLNL has developed a glass 3d printing tech for optical quality glass.

Mini's head of design talks how 3d printing could change cars.

MX3D's printed bridge is nearing finishing.

NASA's Orion capsule has a lot of 3d printed parts.

A new smart ink adds texture and color to 3d printers' products.

Is 3d printing or CNC machining better for making auto parts?

3d printed bandages are a being developed.

A high end restaurant in the Netherlands is looking at adding 3d printed food to the menu.

A Spanish startup 3d prints houses in 12 hours or less.

What is the future of open source 3d printers?

Nike has developed 3d printed textiles.

Hyundai Mobis is opening a workshop for 3d printed car parts.

Print that!?!


6 River Systems raised $25 million for its warehouse robot business.

Alibaba has a car vending machine.  Not kidding.

Aquabotix just unleashed its swarming, autonomous boat robots.

Autonaut is an autonomous surface vehicle (roboboat).

Autonomous ships will arrive before self driving cars.  Supposedly.

There are now grippers for robots that use artificial muscle.

An Alexa enabled, DIY robot will bring you beer.

Botboxer...anyone remember the scene from Dune, the movie that is...

Festo has unveiled a new generation of robotic animals.

Fetch just added two more robots to its catalog for warehouses.

Gecko inspired coatings are helping grippers for robots.

Honeybot is a honey pot robot for cyber security for industrial robots.

University of Houston has developed a new softbot.

A new company wants to make the Lego Mindstorms for everyone.

Massterly may be the first robotic ocean cargo company.

Monarch is a new surgerical robot.


Watch out, TaskRabbit!  NTU Singapore has a robot that can autonomously assemble an Ikea chair in 20 minutes.

Patients are more likely to accept robotic dentistry for noninvasion procedures.

Playground is betting big on robots.

Researchers have developed a robotic system for picking up irregularly shaped 3d printed parts.

Robots may help grow wine in California shortly.

New software from CMU translate 3d shapes into patterns for a knitting machine on demand.

CMU has teamed up with Sony to research cooking robots.

NIST has two robots to help develop the 5G standard.

Meet Scribit!

Now there's a bot to park your trailer.  Remote controlled for now...

Tapster's bots are designed to touch screens.  whuh?!

Some analysts are saying Tesla is overusing automation in its Model 3 assembly line.  Musk now agrees and states that is what has been slowing down production of the Model 3.  Tesla has temporarily stopped its Model 3 line.

UUV's are being used to map the ocean by sound.


There's now a exoskeleton for skiers.

And there's an exoskeleton for fire fighters.


A FDA approved 3d printed prosthetic arm will go on sale shortly.

DARPA has a memory enhancing brain prosthesis.

A brain implant has returned sensation to a paralyzed man's arm.

Software Bots:

Using AI to predict biological age based on your smartphone and wearable tech.

AI is rapidly changing the location and types of job that is the best paying.

Can AI predict where life is likely on other worlds?

AI is spreading to nontech businesses.

To protect AI, show it fake data.

Can AI predict your life span?

An AI has been created to work on chemistry.

AI might become sexist, racist due to data being fed to it.

Some claim AI needs your data to be useful.

Adobe is starting to use AI in its products.

Amazon's Alexa can play music, podcasts, etc. now.

Alexa can also take charitable donations.

Alexa can control DVRs.

Alexa's hands' free mode is coming to Fire Tablets 7 & 8.

Alexa can now be given new skills without needing to know how to program.

Amazon is shipping DeepLens, a camera intended for use with machine learning, in June.

Apple has stolen Google's head of AI research.

Apple is on a hiring spree for Siri.

What Apple's Siri can learn from Google's Assistant.

Asana has an productivity monitoring AI.  The Computer has a phylogenic basal relative.

Baidu is showing off its pocket translator.

BenevolentAI has just raised $115M for its efforts to use bots to develop energy and

Bots on twitter are the source for 2/3's the popular article shares.

Can Bot stuntmen improve computer games?

A bot makes Flintstone cartoons from textual descriptions.

Can bots make a smart phone into a microscope?!

The Brits are worried about bias in AI.

California is putting forward a bill to force Twitter and Facebook to ID bots on their systems.

Computer vision systems can be tricked by changing the color of the object its meant to ID.

A Deep Learning paper spawned a large online collaboration.

Facebook has delayed its own digital assistant.  Couldn't possibly understand why.

Facebook's Zuckerberg thinks AI will curb hate speech online in 5 or so years.

Facebook is developing its own processors and hardware for its AI work.

France wants to become an AI hub.

Google X Labs is using AI to improve agriculture.

Google is turning to users outside the US to improve its AI.

Google has rolled out a natural language processor called "Talk to Books."

Google's AI can pick voices out of a crowd.

Google AI is being applied to cellular biology.

Google has a DIY AI kit.

HelpSelf is being marketed as an AI app to help with legal problems.

LawGeex is creating a software bot for contract review.

The Linux Foundation has launched a deep learning foundation.

Machine learning with supercomputers is being used for ag as well.

Machine learning helped speed up the discovery of metallic glass.

How to tell if your machine learning algorithm is actually working?

Microsoft now has public courses on AI.

Microsoft is touting a breakthrough for making chatbots more conversational.

Microsoft's AI knows when to politely interrupt a conversation.

Microsoft has a beta Cortana for Android.

MIT has severed ties with the 'always fatal' uploading startup, Nectome.

Nvidia's vision of AI gets discussed.  They want to put it in ARM level chips and in new petaflop computers.

OpenAI is challenging developers to play the 90s classic Sonic the Hedgehog using neural nets.

China's SenseTime startup just raised $600 million.

"The Surprising Creativity of Digital Evolution" is a new paper on arxiv about how algorithms were a bit more complex than their creators realized.

Should we worry about our algorithms, erm, 'mental health?'

The, uh, "case" for an AI to be US President.

Node just grabbed two AI researchers for its bot driven search tool.

Porsche invested in the Israeli company, Anagog.

Pursuing the perfect voice for software bots.

Researchers developed an algorithm for bots to detect face swaps on pictures.

Russia's S7 Airlines is looking at adding bots to improve customer communications.

Sinovation just raised $50M for its AI fund from BBVA.

Software bots are now able to generate 3d models of a person with a few seconds of video.

A new software bot can detect fakes, supposedly, on social networks.

Software bots don't handle crises very well.

Software bots are being used to find malware.

Who will benefit from enterprise level software bots?

A software bot to create chatbots for restaurants.

Using software bots to detect heart disease.

Stripe has developed bots to detect fraud.

Supermarkets will be taken over by AI, at least in the produce aisles.

Suplari is trying to bring "AI" to procurements.

The Univesity of Washington used data from DOGS to train an AI.

Xiaomi has developed its own assistant for China.


Georgia Tech's Gil Weinberg talks robopocalypse in a podcast.

The ex head of Google in China says the list of countries that are going to do well in the Robopocalypse is comprised of two: America and China, everyone else is screwed.

Techcrunch has teamed up with UC Berkeley to present on the Robopocalypse at Zellerbach Hall on May 11, 2018.

Is tricking a bot hacking?

Proposed tariffs by the US against China target robotics.

The Chinese are starting to talk about Universal Basic Income to deal with the Robopocalyptic job genocide in Hong Kong.

However, Finland is scrapping their experiment in Universal Basic Income.

How automation will effect your city (in the US)?

What is the effect of the robopocalypse on innovation?

The EU is struggling with the idea of software being people.

Eastern Europe is embracing the robopocalypse due to a worker shortage.

The British House of Lords is worried about the robopocalypse.

Friday, April 20, 2018

NASA Might Build Multiple Propulsion Modules for the LOPG/Deep Space Gateway

s NASA prepares to request proposals from industry to develop the first element of its proposed cislunar gateway, the agency says it may be open to buying more than one of the modules.

NASA’s Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, previously known as the Deep Space Gateway, will incorporate several modules, starting with one called the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE). That element will provide power for the gateway and also use electric propulsion to maneuver the complex in cislunar space.

During a March 27 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council’s human exploration and operations committee, Michele Gates, director of the Power and Propulsion Element at NASA Headquarters, said the agency was ready to move ahead with procurement of the module after five industry studies wrapped up earlier this month.

The four-month studies, led by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Space Systems Loral, examined nearly two dozen topics, ranging from the overall design approach for the PPE to specific engineering details.

Some of those companies were involved in previous studies for NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, which also intended to use electric propulsion on its robotic spacecraft to retrieve a boulder from a near Earth asteroid. “Our strategy is to leverage all of the work that’s been done, including on the Asteroid Redirect Mission,” said Gates, who previously managed those efforts.

For the PPE, NASA plans to develop the module in a public private partnership with industry. Once the module is launched and its performance demonstrated in space, NASA would have the option to then buy the module for use in the gateway.

Gates said that NASA expects to issue a draft solicitation for the PPE in April, with an industry day to take place in late April or early May. A final solicitation will then follow, with proposals due to NASA in late July.

NASA envisions a 2022 launch of the PPE on a commercial launch vehicle. There is “substantial” funding planned to support its development, she said, including $51.5 million for the current fiscal year and $542.1 million projected through fiscal year 2022.

However, NASA is not restricted to buying a single PPE. The proposal synopsis, released in February, states that NASA is planning “potentially one or more contract awards” for PPE development.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

SLS EM-1 Mission Making Progress, but STILL Behind Schedule

Top NASA human exploration administrators briefed the Human Exploration Operations (HEO) committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) on March 26, providing an update on development, testing, and preparations for the first integrated flight of the Orion crew spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is currently expected to launch in 2020.

The pacing items for reaching launch readiness, referred to as “critical paths” in the schedule, continue to be construction of the first SLS Core Stage and the first Orion European Service Module (ESM). The agency is targeting the end of 2019 as a target launch date, but both critical path items are running around three months behind that schedule.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Orbital ATK Plans Next Generation Launcher Debut in 3 Years

Orbital ATK is preparing for the next phase of development for their Next Generation Launcher (NGL) – a solid and liquid fueled rocket designed for National Security, NASA science missions, and commercial flights. Under the current plan, Orbital ATK intends to introduce NGL from LC-39B at the Kennedy Space Center, FL, with certification flights in early 2021, with operational flights set to begin later that year.

NGL aims for debut in three years:

The progeny of NGL can be traced back to 2004, when then U.S. President George W. Bush announced the Constellation program, consisting of the crew launch vehicle known as Ares I – a five-segment Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) rocket, atop which sat a Liquid Oxygen/Liquid Hydrogen (LOX/LH2) upper stage.

A test flight variant of Ares I, known as Ares I-X, completed a successful test flight on 29 October 2009, shortly after which the Constellation program was cancelled by then U.S. President Barack Obama in favor of developing a more robust rocket that could carry both crew and cargo, the SLS, to locations Beyond Low Earth Orbit and shifting International Space Station crew rotation missions from NASA-made rockets to commercial rockets and capsules – a goal SpaceX and Boeing plan to fulfill.

Despite the Constellation program’s cancellation, Orbital ATK, the predecessor of which would have built the five-segment SRB for Ares I and the company that is now building the five-segment dual SRBs for SLS, continued to see a usefulness for the overall Ares I design. This initially translated in 2011 to the Liberty rocket, a five-segment SRB first stage with an Ariane V core serving as the upper stage.


addendum: the new rocket is called the OmegA.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hints of China's Space Program Come From National People's Congress

China’s legislature wrapped up its annual session in Beijing in mid-March after making headlines for lifting a two-term limit on the Chinese presidency, making Xi Jinping the People’s Republic’s most powerful leader since founder Mao Zedong.

But in the shadow of the major political stories, the involvement of dozens of space sector officials in the high-profile 18-day long rubber-stamp political gathering also provided a rare opportunity for updates on various aspects of China’s space program and an outline of its reliably nebulous scheduling.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Russian Gov Issued a Contract for a Nuclear Space Tug

The Russian government has issued a contract to RSC Energia to develop a new class of rockets for lunar exploration and the contract documents indicate that a nuclear-powered space tug will be develop as well.