Weekend Stories: Autonomous Drifting, Robot Builds Robots, and more Car Concepts

Immortus Solar Powered 3D Printed Sports Car Concept

RC Car Autonomous Drifting

The first story of today is perhaps the most interesting thing I’ve seen lately. Researchers at MIT’s AeroAstro laboratory have presented an implementation of their new learning algorithm for optimizing control policies based on reinforcement learning effectively obtaining a robotic Ken Block. The starting point for the reinforcement learning algorithm is represented by a set of determined optimal control policies for drifting a remote control car. A set of simulation runs is performed after which the control model optimized by the algorithm is transferred to the physical car. In the demonstration below steady drifting is achieved quite rapidly and we can see how efficiently the algorithm compensates for external factors. Of course the end of the video is just as interesting.


via Automaton

Robot Builds Robots

…well not exactly robots but rather locomotion agents as they are called in a very interesting study published by researchers at Cambridge University and ETH Zurich, led by Dr. Fumiya Iida. The research was focused on artificial evolution driven by development and evaluation of characteristics of physical models (phenotypes) with respect to a target function. The experiment involved an autonomous mother robot that assembled children robots and observed how far they traveled before power ran out. This information was taken into account by the evolutionary algorithm which optimized the assembly process. Over the course of 10 generations the research team reported over 40 percent increase in distance traveled by the locomotion agents.


Source BBC News, via SimpleBotics

Android Erica Is Relatively Cute and Friendly

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro does what he knows best – androids. Erica is a research and development platform that is capable of speech and gesture recognition and voice synthesis. The interesting fact is that it… or she does not look too creepy, in fact she seems pretty friendly and can also perform small movements of eyes, eyelids and head thus adding to the “lifelike” factor.

via Automaton

Futuristic Looking 3D Printed RC Car

Grad student Jakub Ratajczak designed and built a very nice looking RC car with 3D printed bodywork.


via 3D Print

Apparently Apple Is Working on a Self-Driving Car

Reports say that in May this year representatives from Apple’s Special Project group met with officials at GoMentum Station high security autonomous vehicle testing facility near San Francisco.

Solar Powered 3D Printed Sports Car Concept Unveiled by EVX Ventures

Australian startup EVX Ventures unveiled a sports car concept called Immortus which employs solar panels and 3D printed nodes for its chassis, maybe something similar to Divergent Microfactories’ system mentioned a while back.

Immortus Solar Powered 3D Printed Sports Car Concept

Immortus Solar Powered 3D Printed Sports Car Concept | Photo: EVX Ventures

Car Manufacturers Working to Increase Computer Security on Vehicles

Or at least working to implement some of it, we could say. In a way it is understandable that cars are still pretty vulnerable to attacks since the automotive field has come up only recently to hackers’ attention.

Chinese Factory Replaces 600 Humans with 60 Robots

According to Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily 600 line workers were replaced with 60 robots resulting in 5 times error reduction and over 250 percent production increase.