New poll finds majority of people would be reluctant to be a passenger in a driverless car

driverless car concept

Institution of Mechanical Engineers/ICM Unlimited survey of 2,002 people finds 55 per cent would be unlikely to want to be a passenger in a driverless car

UK Government and companies such as Google, Ford and Uber are all championing driverless car technology, but according to this latest public survey much more work is needed to convince the public of the benefits of driverless vehicles.

According to the survey, carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 55 per cent of the 2002 people surveyed said they were unlikely to want to be a passenger of a driverless car, with 40 per cent said they were very unlikely to want to be a passenger. Just 21 per cent of the people surveyed said they would be happy to ride in a driverless vehicle.  Continue reading New poll finds majority of people would be reluctant to be a passenger in a driverless car

Locus Robotics raises $8m funding for logistics robot solution

locus robotics

Technology veteran Rick Faulk joins Locus Robotics as new funding raised to accelerate growth and development 

US-based e-commerce fulfillment robotics company Locus Robotics has hired Rick Faulk to serve as the company’s chief executive officer.

The company is heading towards production and sales of its solutions and has appointed Faulk to lead it in this next stage of growth and development.

Locus also says it has raised $8 million in Series A funding. The round was led by additional funding from seed investors. The new capital will be used to expand product development and go-to-market initiatives.  Continue reading Locus Robotics raises $8m funding for logistics robot solution

Toyota teams up with Uber with a view to driverless taxi future

toyota uber

Toyota and Uber have entered a partnership with a view to developing driverless taxis of the future, although the initial developments will be in ridesharing services. 

The two companies say they will explore collaboration, starting with trials, in the world of ridesharing in countries where ridesharing is expanding, taking various factors into account such as regulations, business conditions, and customer needs.

As part of the partnership, Toyota Financial Services Corporation and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership are making a strategic investment in Uber.  Continue reading Toyota teams up with Uber with a view to driverless taxi future

Infineon develops breakthrough radar technology for cars and devices

infineon soli radar

Infineon has developed radar technology for cars and devices. The company has reached separate agreements with Google and Imec on applications for the technology. 

With Google, Infineon has developed gesture control technology, which would allow users to control their devices by waving their arms about, and more subtle movements.

The radar technology – called “Soli” – was demonstrated at Google I/O through a smartwatch and a wireless speaker.  Continue reading Infineon develops breakthrough radar technology for cars and devices

nuTonomy raises $16m funding to develop self-driving car software

Startup company nuTonomy has raised $16 million is initial funding and plans to offer world’s first fully autonomous taxi service in 2018.

nuTonomy, a developer of software for self-driving cars, says it has completed its $16m Series A funding led by Highland Capital Partners.

The funding included significant participation from prior investors Fontinalis Partners and Signal Ventures. In Singapore, where nuTonomy has strong governmental support, the round included participation from EDBI, the dedicated corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board. Samsung Ventures also participated in the Series A round.  Continue reading nuTonomy raises $16m funding to develop self-driving car software

Distribution requires a warehouse control system

hytrol wcs

By Thomas R. Cutler

Automated conveying systems in distribution and warehouse environments need to pivot. Dropping in a conveyor system without a warehouse control system (WCS) makes no sense.

Bill Maple, director of software solutions for conveyor company Hytrol, shared new approaches connecting business systems to warehouse automation.

Working closely with a network of integration partners this approach is obvious for new implementations.  That said with a strong economy, Maple noted that existing systems are being reconfigured to operate differently, or legacy systems are requiring technology or automation upgrades.  Continue reading Distribution requires a warehouse control system

TU-Automotive Detroit conference and exhibition returns for 2016

sensors in a connected car
Sensors in a connected car. Picture courtesy Here 360.

Penton’s TU-Automotive has announced the agenda and speaker line-up for TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 (June 8-9, Nov, MI), the world’s largest conference and exhibition dedicated to innovation in automotive technology, covering connected cars, autonomy and mobility.

At TU-Automotive Detroit 2016, the city’s automakers (Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) will join international OEMs such as Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz to discuss their vision for how the car can become the leading “node” of the Internet of Things.

Leading technology disruptors such as Zipcar, Amazon, Via and Renovo Motors will also take center stage during discussions as the ecosystem widens to embrace new players.

The 80+ session agenda and 150+ speaker line-up can be viewed at TU-Automative Continue reading TU-Automotive Detroit conference and exhibition returns for 2016

Global HMI market could reach $6 billion by end of decade

hmi
The human machine interface market is forecast to reach $6 billion by the end of the decade

The global human machine interface (HMI) market is expected to grow at a rate of 6 per cent a year from 2016 to 2020, according to a report by Big Market Research

In a separate report by Transparency International, the HMI market is forecast to reach $6 billion by the end of the decade.

HMI is a significant tool for communication between humans and machines. It is adopted in plant automation to assist humans to interact with automation machines and gain understanding of plant floor automation process. Operation efficiency is increased and cost associated is reduced with the help of HMI.

The Big Market Research report provides information on the leading market players: Rockwell Automation, GE, Siemens, and Schneider Electric among others. 

A study of other prominent vendors, such as Advantech, Atmel, Beijer Electronics, EAO, Eaton, Elektrobit, Elipse Software, Bosch Rexroth, Digital Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric, Progea, Omron, and others has been covered.  

Fetch signs deal with SAP on logistics robot warehouse system

fetch freight robot

Fetch Robotics has entered a partnership with SAP that incorporates SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) application with the Fetch and Freight robots from Fetch Robotics.

Fetch Robotics builds robot systems for the logistics industry. Unveiled in May 2015, the Fetch Robotics system is comprised of an autonomous mobile platform (called Freight) and an advanced mobile manipulator (called Fetch).

Fetch and Freight use a charging dock for continuous operations, allowing the robots to charge when needed and then continue on with their tasks. In addition, the system includes accompanying fleet management software, fetchcore, to support the robots and integrate with the warehouse environment.  Continue reading Fetch signs deal with SAP on logistics robot warehouse system

MiR opens US office, launches autonomous mobile robot into North America

mir robot

Mobile Industrial Robots, MiR, has opened its first US office and is launching its autonomous mobile robot – the MiR100 – in the North American market.

MiR says its robots are already in use in 19 countries at prominent manufacturers such as Leoni, Flextronics, and Continental.

MiR says its products are at the forefront of a new generation of autonomous mobile robots whose ease of use, flexibility and payback of less than a year. The company believes it will secure a leadership role in North America.

The emerging mobile robot industry is expected to achieve total sales of 14,500 units and revenue of $20 billion over the next three years according to the International Federation of Robotics.  Continue reading MiR opens US office, launches autonomous mobile robot into North America

CeMAT theme to be smart supply chain solutions

cemat

CeMAT Update

Automatic guided vehicles that optimize their own routes. Warehouses that automatically recognize missing inventory and order refills in real time. Systems that develop into complete service providers, thanks to innovative IT. CeMAT 2016 brings all the fascinating trends in intralogistics together at the same time and place.

The future belongs to the Smart Factor – but only after perfectly integrated logistics processes create the necessary preconditions. This makes the intelligent control of inventory flows an absolute must.

Manufacturers, dealers, service providers: All of these are on the lookout for new technologies and ideas. And CeMAT is the only place that brings together groundbreaking solutions for the entire supply chain – under the keynote heading of Smart Supply Chain Solutions.   Continue reading CeMAT theme to be smart supply chain solutions

Water-based reconfigurable robot could offer new solutions to underground pipe network inspection

sheffield uni marine robot concept

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created an aquatic robot which could be used to inspect otherwise inaccessible pipe networks to deal with blockages.

The researchers revealed their findings later this week at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2016) – the world’s largest gathering in robotics, held this year in Stockholm, Sweden.

The study looks at a set of robotic modules that, similar to Lego, can be assembled into robots of arbitrary shape. This allows robots to be customised to meet the changing demands of their task.  Continue reading Water-based reconfigurable robot could offer new solutions to underground pipe network inspection

Engineers’ institute welcomes laws requiring driverless vehicles to have certificates

driverless car test
Driverless car software will require certificates from the Ministry of Transport before being allowed on the road. Picture courtesy: E&T IET

The UK is to introduce laws and regulations that will require driverless vehicle software makers to obtain Ministry of Transport certificates 

New laws announced in the Queen’s Speech recently will allow fully autonomous vehicles to be insured under normal policies in the UK.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) says the announcement is an “important step forward” which will ultimately improve road safety and reduce congestion. 

But the IET adds that the Government also needs to introduce legislation to improve cyber security in autonomous vehicles.  Continue reading Engineers’ institute welcomes laws requiring driverless vehicles to have certificates

The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers

Inside 03 backcountry warehouse small
Inside the Backcountry.com warehouse

By Thomas R. Cutler

Park City, Utah-based Backcountry.com is a great example of the powerful growth in the online e-tailing sector. Twenty years ago the company comprised of two men, a stack of avalanche beacons, and a garage in Park City; the company has grown to become one of the leading online specialty retailers in the United States, selling clothing and outdoor gear for hiking, camping, road biking, mountain hiking, rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, skiing, avalanche safety, snowboarding, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, road and trail running, and more.

Jeff Carter, senior vice president of global fulfillment, at Backcountry.com, says: “Our mission is to connect people to their passions and enable them to get outdoors and enjoy the gear.”

When Carter started with the company in 2001, it shipped 265 packages on its busiest day. This past year, the company shipped about 60,000 on its busiest day. The journey has involved quite a transformation in material handling and distribution. The role of automation has made this all possible.  Continue reading The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers

‘Smart manufacturing is all about an intelligent connected supply chain’

gatehouse logistics small

Lars Mohr Jensen, product manager at GateHouse Logistics, looks into the challenges of  the next industrial revolution and the implications on the connected enterprise

As it stands, factories are dumb – or at least far less intelligent than current technology could actually make them. The current industrial production is inflexible and too expensive and a root cause is supply chain invisibility.

But that’s about to change thanks to Industry 4.0, an initiative with its roots in Germany that aims to bring about the fourth industrial revolution. It heralds the era where manufacturing becomes intelligent and every link in the supply chain talks to each other and is connected.

The smart factory concept means industrial or manufacturing processes will be organized in a smart way compared to tired, traditional methods. In opens the era of intelligent manufacturing where the entire production chain, including suppliers, logistics and product life cycle management are connected across frontiers.  Continue reading ‘Smart manufacturing is all about an intelligent connected supply chain’