Struggling to keep on top of all the news about robotics? These essential blogs covering news about robotics make it easy.

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Drones and AI Take On Killer Sharks Down Under

Drones and AI Take On Killer Sharks Down Under
Whether or not shark attacks are a major problem in Australia (spoiler alert: they're not), the Australian government has devoted an enormous amount of resources into trying to mitigate the risk of sharks near popular beaches. They've tried nets to keep the sharks out, they've tried electronic gadgets to dissuade them, and they've tried lots of different ways of killing them, without much in the way of evidence that any of it is particularly effective.  After six months of …
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Video Friday: Robogami, Flying Snake Robots, and Autonomous Car Eclipse

Video Friday: Robogami, Flying Snake Robots, and Autonomous Car Eclipse
Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): IEEE ICARM 2017 – August 27-31, 2017 – Hefei, China IEEE RO-MAN – August 28-31, 2017 – Lisbon, Portugal CLAWAR 2017 – September 11-13, 2017 – Porto, Portugal FSR 2017 – September 12-15, 2017 – Zurich, Switzerland Singularities…
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Africa Leads the World on Drone Delivery: Flights to Begin in Tanzania in 2018

Africa Leads the World on Drone Delivery: Flights to Begin in Tanzania in 2018
Drone delivery is finally getting off the ground. And the action is happening in East Africa. Zipline, a pioneering drone startup that began delivering blood packs to Rwanda’s remote hospitals in October 2016, today announced a major expansion into Tanzania. In early 2018 the company will begin flying its delivery drones to more than 1000 health care facilities around Tanzania, bringing urgently needed medicines and supplies to big hospitals and tiny rural clinics alike. K…
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Blossom: A Handmade Approach to Social Robotics from Cornell and Google

Blossom: A Handmade Approach to Social Robotics from Cornell and Google
As excited as we are about the forthcoming generation of social home robots (including Jibo, Kuri, and many others), it's hard to ignore the fact that most of them look somewhat similar. They tend to feature lots of shiny white and black plasticky roundness. That’s for admittedly very good reasons, but it comes at the cost of both uniqueness and visual and tactile personality. Guy Hoffman, who is well known for the fascinating creativity of his robot designs, has been worki…
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Pepper Now Available at Funerals as a More Affordable Alternative to Human Priests

Pepper Now Available at Funerals as a More Affordable Alternative to Human Priests
Robots excel at predictable, repetitive tasks, and what could be more predictable and repetitive than death? In Japan, a plastic moulding company called Nissei Eco (which also does funeral arrangements, I guess) is planning to introduce SoftBank's Pepper robot as a cheaper substitute for human priests reading sutras at Buddhist funerals. The average cost of a funeral in Japan is somewhere between two and three million yen, as of the most recent study of the industry, whic…
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Industry Urges United Nations to Ban Lethal Autonomous Weapons in New Open Letter

Industry Urges United Nations to Ban Lethal Autonomous Weapons in New Open Letter
Today (or, yesterday, but today Australia time, where it's probably already tomorrow), 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries released an open letter urging the United Nations to ban lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS). This is a follow-up to the 2015 anti-"killer robots" UN letter that we covered extensively when it was released, but with a new focus on industry that attempts to help convince the UN to get something done. H…
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AI in Space

AI in Space
If a distant comet is on course to collide with Earth, scientists will be able to detect it only about a year in advance. That doesn’t leave much time to prepare. Artificial intelligence researchers believe they have the key to providing astronomers more foresight: machine learning algorithms that can more quickly identify and cluster the debris that comets leave in their wake. By speeding up analysis of meteor showers, researchers hope to pinpoint the orbits of distant, …
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Video Friday: AI vs. Dota 2, Cassie gets Bored, and Georgia Tech's Robotarium

Video Friday: AI vs. Dota 2, Cassie gets Bored, and Georgia Tech
Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): IEEE CASE 2017 – August 20-23, 2017 – Xi'an, China IEEE ICARM 2017 – August 27-31, 2017 – Hefei, China IEEE RO-MAN – August 28-31, 2017 – Lisbon, Portugal CLAWAR 2017 – September 11-13, 2017 – Porto, Portugal FSR 2017 – Septem…
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Reliable Perching Makes Fixed-Wing UAVs Much More Useful

Reliable Perching Makes Fixed-Wing UAVs Much More Useful
UAV designs are a perpetual compromise between the ability to fly long distances efficiently with payloads (fixed-wing) and the ability to maneuver, hover, and land easily (rotorcraft). With a very few rather bizarre exceptions, any aircraft that try to offer the best of both worlds end up relatively complicated, inefficient, and expensive. The ideal fantasy UAV would be a fixed-wing aircraft with the magical ability to land on a dime, and a group of researchers from the Uni…
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Self-Driving Wheelchairs Debut in Hospitals and Airports

Self-Driving Wheelchairs Debut in Hospitals and Airports
Autonomous vehicles can add a new member to their ranks—the self-driving wheelchair. This summer, two robotic wheelchairs made headlines: one at a Singaporean hospital and another at a Japanese airport. The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, or SMART, developed the former, first deployed in Singapore’s Changi General Hospital in September 2016, where it successfully navigated the hospital’s hallways. It is the latest in a string of autonomous vehicles mad…
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