Mercedes makes driverless car tech central objective

Dr Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
Picture: Dr Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the exhibition of the annual meeting of shareholders

Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche says the company “will continue to be the pioneers of mobility” as he announced that autonomous driving will be a central objective for the future.

Speaking at an annual meeting of shareholders, Dr Dieter Zetsche said autonomous driving will be one of the “four pillars” of Daimler, which owns the Mercedes marque.  Continue reading Mercedes makes driverless car tech central objective

Audi integrates new autonomous technologies into A3 models

audi a3 autonomous tech
The new Audi A3, which now has lots of autonomous tech

Audi has integrated a range of new autonomous technologies into its A3 model as part of a major upgrade. 

The company says it has added new driver assistance systems and engines as well as newly designed headlights and taillights.

Also new on board is what Audi says is an “innovative operating and display concept”, the Audi virtual cockpit.  Continue reading Audi integrates new autonomous technologies into A3 models

Fanuc to open new industrial robot facilities and restructure business locations

FANUC Robotics America

The world’s largest industrial robot company is restructuring its business operations.

Fanuc America will open four new facilities, relocate three facilities to larger offices, and add three new regional training centers in 2016. The expansion will allow the company to better serve its growing customer base, says Fanuc.  Continue reading Fanuc to open new industrial robot facilities and restructure business locations

Rethink’s Baxter industrial robot ‘simplifies complexity’ for Donnelly

baxter donnelly
Baxter hard at work at the Donnelly factory

Two-armed collaborative robot making light work of difficult injection moulding tasks 

A US manufacturer says its use of the Baxter industrial robot “simplifies complexity” in its factory operations.

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Donnelly Custom Manufacturing, a company which specializes in short-run injection molding of thermoplastics for industrial original equipment manufacturers, is using Rethink Robotics’ two-armed Baxter robot for flexible automation at its facility in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Donnelly’s focus is on short-run injection molding for customers with low to medium volumes, as well as an array of related engineering and manufacturing services.  Continue reading Rethink’s Baxter industrial robot ‘simplifies complexity’ for Donnelly

Robotic telescope catches comet as it hurtles close to Earth

virtual telescope

One of Earth’s closest-ever encounters with a potentially dangerous alien body is currently happening 

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The Virtual Telescope project is right now reporting one of the closest alien encounters in history as a dangerously large comet lunges within potentially dangerous proximity to Earth.

The organisation’s website is providing live coverage of the comet’s journey, and reports the comet – called P/2016 BA14 Panstarrs – is only 2 million miles away.

The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 is streaming live pictures of the close encounter, calling it a “historic” event.

In an obvious attempt to reassure anxious alien watchers, an article on the organisation’s website claims the comet is passing at a distance that is “absolutely safe”, but added that it was “the third closest comet ever in history”.

The potential of predictive analytics for machine builders

Martyn Williams, managing director of Copa-Data UK
Martyn Williams, managing director of Copa-Data UK

Martyn Williams, managing director of industrial automation software expert Copa-Data UK, discusses how machine builders can use predictive analytics to minimise the maintenance and downtime costs of their products

The cost of production downtime varies significantly from one industry sector to another, but without a doubt, when it occurs, downtime is a troublesome and expensive inconvenience for all manufacturers.

More often than not, halts in production could be avoided, so imagine just how much manufacturers could save if machine data was available to anticipate breakdowns.

The good news for industry is that the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is allowing machine builders to design and manufacture intelligent machines with predictive analytics capabilities. Continue reading The potential of predictive analytics for machine builders

EchoStar launches new smart home system

echostar sage

EchoStar Technologies has launched its new Sage by Hughes security and smart home system.

EchoStar describes Sage as “a secure, affordable, flexible and easy-to-use security and smart home solution” that can be controlled from the TV and an app on iOS or Android mobile devices.

The Sage Hub, which connects through any video source via HDMI to the TV, creates a video-centric smart home control system at the center of the home.

To support the product launch, EchoStar is rolling out Sage’s Easy Is Awesome marketing campaign across the US in various print, digital and out-of-home media outlets.

Continue reading EchoStar launches new smart home system

Taylor Morrison and Legrand ‘revolutionize’ home automation

taylor morrison interactive home 2

Taylor Morrison, a US homebuilder and developer, and Legrand, a high-performance network infrastructure hardware company, have partnered to “revolutionize household automation” through the launch of Taylor Morrison’s newest high-tech product, the Interactive Home 2.0.

The new Interactive Home 2.0 features Intuity Home Intelligence, an intuitive home automation system by Legrand. With its in-wall interface and applications for tablets and mobile devices, users can effortlessly control their comfort, security, lighting and entertainment within their homes.

The Intuity Home Intelligence system takes in-home automation to the next level with innovative features that enhance the homeowner’s ability to connect and customize their living experience. Continue reading Taylor Morrison and Legrand ‘revolutionize’ home automation

ABB integrates building automation into Microsoft’s Danish offices

abb knx
The Microsoft offices in Denmark where ABB has installed its KNX building automation system

Company claims to have sold its KNX intelligent building products to thousands of others already 

ABB has supplied a number of its building automation solutions, including daylight harvesting, to “increase the energy efficiency and comfort” for new Microsoft offices near Copenhagen, Denmark.

ABB’s KNX building control platform is used in several thousand installations worldwide, claims the company.

It utilizes what it calls “the Internet of Things, Services and People (IoTSP)” to adapt control functions in line with the natural rhythm of the day.  Continue reading ABB integrates building automation into Microsoft’s Danish offices

Nasa to send robots to Moon, Mars and comets to fetch water

honeybee robotic spacecraft
Honeybee robotic spacecraft could land on a comet and extract water and bring it back to Earth

Honeybee robotic spacecraft to fly around space and extract water from anything it lands on  

Nasa has decided to pour money into a project by Honeybee Robotics to build robots that fly around space, collecting water from different planets and celestial objects.

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Neither Nasa nor Honeybee has made public the exact amount of money to be placed in the pot, but a source close to the story said it was a “sweet deal” and that it would be spread over many years.  Continue reading Nasa to send robots to Moon, Mars and comets to fetch water

Europe needs to maintain its leading position in robotics, say experts attending the European Robotics Forum 2016

European Robotics Forum 2016
European experts are calling for greater efforts to continue leading in the robotics industry

European Robotics Forum 2016 opens in Ljubljana 

The capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana, is the picturesque setting for this year’s European Robotics Forum. Considered to be one of the most important events in the European robotics industry calendar, it is attended by around 700 European robotics experts, politicians and business people. 

The event, which started earlier today (March 21), was opened by the representatives of European institutions and the Slovenian Government, who pointed to the importance of digitised industry, the smart specialisation strategy, research investment and innovation in robotics. Robotics has a tremendous impact on our economy and society.

Robots are known to save costs, to improve the quality of products and working conditions, and to minimise resources and waste. From today’s €22bn worldwide revenues, according to some estimates, robotics industries are set to achieve annual sales of between €50bn and €62bn by 2020. In the field of industrial robotics, which is currently growing at 8 per cent per annum, Europe’s share of the world market is about 32 per cent.

Delegates attending the event spoke of how important it is that Europe maintains its strong position in the robotics industry, and outlines ways it could be done. Here, we convey some of their comments. Continue reading Europe needs to maintain its leading position in robotics, say experts attending the European Robotics Forum 2016

Fear not the cobot, says European Automation

collaborative robot

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of industrial automation supplier European Automation, discusses the newest and perhaps most exciting realm of industrial robotics –collaborative robots

The world’s first industrial robot was an idea conceived after a conversation about science fiction novels between inventors George Devol and Joseph Engleburger in 1954. Six years later, Unimate had secured its place in the robotic hall of fame as the world’s first industrial robot.

It was then put to work on the General Motors assembly line in 1961. Inevitably, the public were sceptical of the safety issues surrounding Unimate. And with only Gort, the laser-firing robot from the 1950s sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still for reference, who can blame them? But after 50 years of practice, today’s industrial robots are a much less scary affair.  Continue reading Fear not the cobot, says European Automation

Copa-Data to unveil new software for smart factories at Hannover Messe event

Copa-Data has launched its new zenon software and will be presenting it at Hannover Messe
Copa-Data has launched its new zenon software and will be presenting it at Hannover Messe

Copa-Data will present scalable software solutions with zenon for vertical data integration for the Smart Factory at the Microsoft booth at the Hannover Messe, between April 25 and 29, 2016.

Copa-Data will demonstrate how existing and new sensory systems can be integrated seamlessly into an overall solution, right up to the cloud. Existing production equipment is thereby also made available in the cloud for industrial IoT scenarios and for cross-site analyses according to local data protection rules.

Customised products and flexible sales markets with concurrent complex production processes characterise modern industrial production. The solutions of the independent software developer for industrial automation allow bi-directional networking from the field level, to HMI/SCADA, right up to the cloud.  Continue reading Copa-Data to unveil new software for smart factories at Hannover Messe event

Goodyear sketches out our spherical wheels idea after we mention it on this website

we came up with the idea first
We came up with the idea first

Well, if you ever doubted this website’s ideas, you probably won’t any more, especially after we show you this.

Good ideas are hard to come by, and one gem of concept nonchalantly offered to readers of Robotics and Automation News was spherical wheels.

In an article about how German technologists are looking to develop wheels that operate independently, one of my colleagues suggested spherical wheels, like ball bearings, held to the car using magnets.

Maglev trains were not mentioned, but they don’t need to be, since it’s the first thing that comes to mind when you say magnets in such a context. Think of those giant maglev train networks in China – that’s exactly what the writer was thinking at the time.

We haven‘t looked into it much, not even googled it, but we believe our website could be the first to ever mention spherical wheels in a serious technology context.

Exhibit A: The spherical wheel idea was ours 

Goodyear has just shown some designs for a spherical wheel, as reported on Dezeen.com. It only takes a few minutes to create images using computer software – on any application. It’s as easy as a gear shift manoeuvre.

But it takes a genuinely creative mind to achieve paradigm shifts, and come up with ideas that change the whole game. And we would obviously claim that maybe, just maybe, we came up with that idea first.

Or perhaps it was a coincidence. Who knows? Seriously. Who knows?

Alex Jones channel claims robots want to ‘destroy humans’

alex jones
Talk show host Alex Jones has been railing against what he sees as anti-human robots and artificial intelligence used by technocratic elites in a scientific takeover of the world

Outspoken American talk show host Alex Jones has been on a verbal rampage against what he calls “anti-human robots” in the hands of the “technocracy” – a mysterious cabal secretly controlling society. 

In his latest tirade against what he has dubbed a “breakaway civilisation” of elite groups bent on enslaving the rest of humanity, the influential commentator says the present political and economic situation on Earth is equivalent to an “alien invasion”.

His television/radio channel, Infowars.com, has been consistently broadcasting reports for more than a year about the  “robot takeover”, with Jones condemning what he says is a “metric, scientific, mathematic algorithm of tyranny” that humanity faces today.  Continue reading Alex Jones channel claims robots want to ‘destroy humans’