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Automation


Latest significant advancements in automation. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of improvements in automation on society and humanity.

The UK’s First Autonomous Passenger Bus Started Road Tests This Week

Driverless buses may beat driverless cars in becoming a commonplace mode of transportation. It would make sense; buses run on fixed routes, always stop in the same places, don’t need to go too fast,...

GM Just Patented a Self-Driving Car That Teaches People How to Drive

For more than a decade, people have been trying to teach cars how to drive. In the not-too-distant future, this effort may come full circle, with cars teaching people how to drive; last week,...

There’s Now an Algorithm to Help Workers Avoid Losing Their Jobs to an Algorithm

As AI and robotics continue to advance, there are concerns that machines could soon replace humans in a wide range of occupations. Now there's a new way to tell how likely your job is...

Japan Wants to Make Half Its Cargo Ships Autonomous by 2040

The Covid-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus how unavoidably global the world economy has become. Production freezes on one side of the globe wreaked havoc on the other, and supply chains haven’t yet recovered....

Flippy the Fast Food Robot Just Got Hired in 100 Restaurants

Before the pandemic started (ah, those glorious days…) a collective panic was mounting over automation and robots gradually replacing workers in various fields, or “stealing our jobs,” as the common refrain went. These worries...

Drones as Big as 747s Will Fly Cargo Around the World With Low Emissions, Startup Says

The global supply chain is currently experiencing all kinds of glitches, from material shortages to labor shortages and beyond. Moving goods from point A to point B has become more expensive, and there’s no...

This Autonomous Delivery Robot Has External Airbags in Case It Hits a Person

Autonomous delivery was already on multiple companies’ research and development agenda before the pandemic, but when people stopped wanting to leave their homes it took on a whole new level of urgency (and potential...

A Chinese Company Says It Will Be Selling Driverless Cars by 2024

As recently as 2015, auto industry insiders predicted fully self-driving cars would be on the road by 2020. As you know, that didn’t come to pass, and two years later we’re still waiting for...

Your Holiday Gifts Could Be Shipped by Robot Semi, Courtesy of UPS and Waymo

Between a supply chain full of holes, labor shortages across various sectors of the economy, and rising inflation, it’s shaping up to be a somewhat chaotic holiday season. Technology can’t fix all of these...

This Restaurant Robot Fries Your Food to Perfection With No Human Help

Four and a half years ago, a robot named Flippy made its burger-cooking debut at a fast food restaurant called CaliBurger. The bot consisted of a cart on wheels with an extending arm, complete...

GE’s New Autonomous Electric Pods Have No Steering Wheel, Pedals, or Cab

Self-driving cars are taking longer to become a reality than many experts predicted. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t steady progress being made; on the contrary, autonomous driving technology is consistently making incremental advancements...

Walmart Is Launching an Autonomous Delivery Service in Three US Cities

Walmart has been America’s biggest retailer since the 1990s, its focus on low costs and ultra-efficient logistics helping it edge out competitors and keep customers coming back. But Amazon has been gaining on Walmart,...

Tele-Driving Startup to Deploy Remote-Controlled Cars as a Step Towards Full Autonomy

Self-driving cars are taking longer to hit roads than many experts predicted. Despite impressive progress in the field—like trucks using self-driving features to move freight more efficiently, Waymo launching its robotaxi service for vetted...

Amazon Patented a New Delivery System That Could Have Your Block Crawling With Robots

Amazon’s taking over the world. Or, at least, the US. Even as Jeff Bezos steps down as CEO and hands the reins over to former AWS head Andy Jassy (and Bezos himself gets ready...
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Watch Robots Make Pizzas From Start to Finish at an Automated Pizzeria

Four years ago in Mountain View, California, a team of robots was cranking out pizzas on a production line that was almost fully automated. The first robot pressed a ball of dough into a...

An ‘Uncrashable’ Car? Luminar Says Its Lidar Can Get There

As a recent New York Times article highlighted, self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than many experts initially predicted. Automated vehicles where riders can sit back, relax, and be delivered to...

Why Flying Cars Could Be Here Within the Decade

Flying cars are almost a byword for the misplaced optimism of technologists, but recent news suggests their future may be on slightly firmer footing. The industry has seen a major influx of capital and...

Waymo Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Start Moving Freight Across Texas

Last month, self-driving technology company TuSimple shipped a truckload of watermelons across the state of Texas ten hours faster than normal. They did this by using their automated driving system for over 900 miles...

A Self-Driving Truck Got a Shipment Cross-Country 10 Hours Faster Than a Human Driver

Self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than many expected. In fact, it’s looking like they may be outpaced by pilotless planes and driverless trucks, with self-driving technology already coming in handy...

Google-Funded Startup Merlin Labs Will Soon Fly 55 Autonomous Planes

Self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than initially predicted by industry insiders, as a New York Times article highlighted this week. Indeed, it turns out that having a complex, interconnected set...

A Huge New Kroger Warehouse Is Staffed by 1,000 Grocery-Picking Robots

With the pandemic at long last starting to wind down, many of us are beyond eager to get back to “the way things used to be,” that is, being able to interact with other...

Boston Dynamics’ New Warehouse Robot, Stretch, Moves 800 Boxes an Hour

This week, Boston Dynamics (whose dancing robots video I still can’t watch without cracking up) unveiled the newest addition to its robot menagerie. Stretch is the less aesthetically pleasing but highly practical cousin of...

Amazon’s New Robotaxi Has No Steering Wheel, But It Can Drive for 16 Hours Straight

After almost a year of limiting our contact with the people in our lives and humanity in general, it’s hard to imagine a future where we freely move about our cities and towns going...

Autonomous Ravn X Drone to Launch Satellites From Airport Runways

Huntsville Alabama’s Lowe Mill arts and entertainment center offers studios to artists of all kinds—sculptors, bookbinders, woodworkers. It’s the kind of place where, in more normal times, visitors might wander open studios and take...

Not All Sunshine and Rainbows: Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars Take on Inclement Weather

How do you train self-driving software to safely pilot a vehicle through city streets? There are a few options; the first that probably springs to mind for most people is to spend countless hours actually...

A New and Improved Burger Robot’s on the Market—and Everyone Wants One

No doubt about it, the pandemic has changed the way we eat. Never before have so many people who hated cooking been forced to learn how to prepare a basic meal for themselves. With...

This Flying Car Costs $599K—and It’s Now Street Legal in Holland

We’ve all had the experience of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic with nothing but miles of red taillights ahead, wishing we could somehow break away from the pack and zoom off to our destination traffic-free....

Waymo Just Started Testing Its Driverless Trucks in Texas

It’s been almost four years since Uber shipped 50,000 cans of beer across Colorado in a self-driving truck. It was the first-ever commercial shipment completed using self-driving technology. Now competitor Waymo is launching a...

The Global Work Crisis: Automation, the Case Against Jobs, and What to Do About It

The alarm bell rings. You open your eyes, come to your senses, and slide from dream state to consciousness. You hit the snooze button, and eventually crawl out of bed to the start of...

This Robotic Chemist Does Over 600 Experiments a Week and Learns From Its Own Work

AI is being widely applied to speed up the search for new drugs and new materials that could dramatically improve critical technologies like batteries and solar panels. Most of this work is done in...

Why We Need Mass Automation to Pandemic-Proof the Supply Chain

The scale of goods moving around the planet at any moment is staggering. Raw materials are dug up in one country, spun into parts and pieces in another, and assembled into products in a...

TuSimple’s Robot Big Rigs Will Automate Freight Coast to Coast

In 2016, an 18-wheeler jam-packed with cans of Budweiser made a beer run from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs—with no driver at the wheel. It was one small 120-mile jaunt for a robot big rig...

Volvo Will Add Lidar for ‘Eyes-Off-the-Road’ Self-Driving Cars on Highways

It’s 2020. Why can’t we binge Netflix as our cars drive us down the highway? Well, we've made progress, but not at the pace once promised. While some cars offer automated driving modes, you’re...

Linking Self-Driving Cars to Traffic Signals Might Help Pedestrians Give Them the Green Light

Automated vehicles don’t have human operators to communicate their driving intentions to pedestrians at intersections. My team’s research on pedestrians’ perceptions of safety shows their trust of traffic lights tends to override their fear...

Coronavirus May Mean Automation Is Coming Sooner Than We Thought

We’re in the midst of a public health emergency, and life as we know it has ground to a halt. The places we usually go are closed, the events we were looking forward to...

How Smart Roads Will Make Driving Easier, Safer, and Greener

Roads criss-cross the landscape, but while they provide vital transport links, in many ways they represent a huge amount of wasted space. Advances in "smart road" technology could change that, creating roads that can...

What Needs to Happen to Get to the Flying Car Future

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s largest helicopter manufacturers will showcase what a city might look like with high-volume aerial transit options. Bell is showing off a connected city concept...

How Two Robots Learned to Grill and Serve the Perfect Hot Dog

The list of things robots can do seems to be growing by the week. They can play sports, help us explore outer space and the deep sea, take over some of our boring everyday...

How Selfish Are You? It Matters for MIT’s New Self-Driving Algorithm

Our personalities impact almost everything we do, from the career path we choose to the way we interact with others to how we spend our free time. But what about the way we drive—could personality...

New Battery Lets Electric Cars Go 200 Miles on a 10-Minute Charge

Electric vehicles could decarbonize one of the most polluting sectors of our economy, but they're bedeviled by one major problem: range anxiety. A new battery design that can charge in just 10 minutes promises...

Flying Cars, Aerial Ridesharing, and the Not-Too-Distant Future of Transport

In 2018, for the sixth straight year, Los Angeles earned the dubious honor of being the most gridlocked metropolis in the world, where the average driver spends 2.5 working weeks per year trapped in traffic. And countless...

Driverless and Electric, or Car-Free? The Cities Cutting Out Cars, and Why

It’s common consensus in the tech industry that the days of cars as we know them—powered by gas, driven by humans, and individually owned by all who want and can afford one—are numbered. Imminent...

MIT Future of Work Report: We Shouldn’t Worry About Quantity of Jobs, But Quality

Robots aren't going to take everyone's jobs, but technology has already reshaped the world of work in ways that are creating clear winners and losers. And it will continue to do so without intervention,...

Bargain-Hunting Robocars Could Spell the End for Downtown Parking

Imagine a scene from the near future: you get dropped off downtown by a driverless car. You slam the door and head into your office or appointment. But then where does the autonomous vehicle...

You’ll Hail Your First Flying Taxi Within a Decade

Not too long ago, the notion of flying cars was most comfortably categorized alongside fusion power—a classic tech vision that seemed forever stuck just over the horizon. Then around five years ago something shifted. Flying...

Driverless Electric Trucks Are Coming, and They’ll Affect You More Than You Think

Self-driving and electric cars just don’t stop making headlines lately. Amazon invested in self-driving startup Aurora earlier this year. Waymo, Daimler, GM, along with startups like Zoox, have all launched or are planning to...

Are Robots Coming for Our Jobs? Careful, It’s a Trick Question

The robots are coming, and they’ll probably take your job when they get here. Oh wait—have you heard that recently? As recently as, say, yesterday? In the news, or from a coworker, or in a...

This Chatbot has Over 660 Million Users—and It Wants to Be Their Best Friend

Your New Best Friend? Making a new friend is a complex business. You might begin with small talk: introductions, explorations. Perhaps you bond over something you have in common: shared tastes or interests. Gradually, you’ll...

As Cars Become Increasingly Driverless, People Are Already Seeking Analog Motoring Experiences

According to those in the industry, and researchers too, driverless cars will totally revolutionize the way we think about individual transport. They will change the way we work and rest. They could herald the...

3 Practical Solutions to Offset Automation’s Impact on Work

In recent years, the media has sounded the alarm about mass job loss to automation and robotics—some studies predict that up to 50 percent of current jobs or tasks could be automated in coming...

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