Denso opens automotive research and development lab at Michigan university

university-of-michigan

Global auto supplier Denso has opened a new research and development lab at the University of Michigan, in the US. 

Denso, which used to be part of Toyota, says the new research facility will “accelerate development of new auto safety technologies and create new research opportunities for engineering students”.

The company says the Denso R&D Lab gives Denso an opportunity to more closely collaborate with the university and North American automotive manufacturers on key safety technologies like machine learning, advanced driver assistance systems, and automated drive.

As part of the lab, 12 university students have been selected to participate in research projects, which will begin this month and run throughout 2017.  Continue reading Denso opens automotive research and development lab at Michigan university

Kuka wins competition to find the most obscure board game ever invented

Professor Dr Martin Weiss (left) and Markus Webert working with the Kuka small robot KR Agilus. Source: Kuka Robotics
Professor Dr Martin Weiss (left) and Markus Webert working with the Kuka small robot KR Agilus. Source: Kuka Robotics

Becoming one of the world’s largest industrial robot companies takes time and a lot of dedication. Work, work, work. No time for play. And having got to the top, the most annoying thing for a company, like Kuka, must be to see a startup company, like DeepMind, which has yet to deliver a single commercial product, make worldwide headlines for building an artificially intelligent computer that plays an ancient Chinese board game no one understands.

So what does Kuka do to make its own headlines? Of course: find another obscure board game no one understands and teach one of its robots how to play that, and get students at a local university to do all the programming.

The board game in question is Settlers of Catan. While at least spome people had heard of Go, Settlers of Catan sounds like an old cowboy movie that no one saw because it was terrible.  Continue reading Kuka wins competition to find the most obscure board game ever invented

DoE awards Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute $3m to train students in nuclear clean-up operations

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, DoE deputy secretary, seen here with Nathan Michael, CMU assistant research professor of robotics
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, DoE deputy secretary, seen here with Nathan Michael, CMU assistant research professor of robotics

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has selected Carnegie Mellon University to provide specialized training for graduate students in robotics to support environmental remediation of nuclear sites.

Deputy DoE Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall announced the selection during an appearance at Carnegie Mellon recently.

The five-year agreement for the Robotics Traineeship program is valued at up to $3 million and will provide full or partial support for as many as 20 PhD and master’s degree students in robotics, said Martial Hebert, director of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute.  Continue reading DoE awards Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute $3m to train students in nuclear clean-up operations

Stanford engineers test autonomous car algorithms in quest for safer driving

Stanford University’s autonomous car
Stanford University’s autonomous car

When Stanford’s autonomous car Shelley nears speeds of 120 mph as it tears around a racetrack without a driver, observers’ natural inclinations are to exchange high-fives or simply mouth, “wow”.

Chris Gerdes and his students, however, flip open laptops and begin dissecting the car’s performance. How many g-forces did Shelley pull through turns 14 and 15? How did it navigate the twisty chicane? What did the braking forces look like through the tight turn 5?

For the past several years, Gerdes and his students have been testing their autonomous driving algorithms with Shelley, a custom-rigged Audi TTS, on the 3-mile track at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California. Although the speedometer needle sometimes flies past 110 mph, the car spends a good deal of the course maneuvering at speeds of 50 to 75 mph.  Continue reading Stanford engineers test autonomous car algorithms in quest for safer driving