Many animals demonstrate effective group movement – schools of fish, swarms of insects, and herds. Nissan recently promised commercially available driverless cars by 2020, and part of reaching that goal appears to be cars that work with and around each to efficiently move as a group.
Fully autonomous control for the Mars rover has always been desirable – current distance to Mars is 19 light minutes, one way. However, with $2.5 billion on the line, the slow but safe remote control mode has generally been preferable.
A sign of increased accessibility of unmanned vehicles technology. The small chip includes everything a hobbyist or researcher or robotics team needs to guide a small UAV along a preprogrammed path.
There’s always been some conflict between reporters trying to get access to disaster areas and the first responders. Now, it appears, they will have to compete on airspace, too.
An ambitious goal, but coming from a large automotive company with the ability to put a lot of money and expertise into the problem. As with electric cars, however, autonomous cars could remain a niche item for some time.
These UAVs are not just surveying sites, they’re surveying them in 3D. This article mentions the flight-time problem – UAVs like the one pictured usually have a battery life of around 15 minutes. For all the potential, this is a segment of the industry that desperately needs better power supplies.
Even if the technical challenges were to be solved overnight, it appears the cultural problems would delay widespread driverless car usage for a very long time.
Vertical Takeoff and Landing systems have long been a goal of military aircraft manufacturers. Some (the Harrier jet) usually require at least some runway, others (the Osprey) have been plagued by safety problems. UAVs are cheaper, don’t risk pilots, and are smaller, all of which make the desired flexibility more practical to achieve.
This device is not only dependent on the usual unmanned technology, but on thin, extra-light solar panels. Once again, the usefulness of unmanned vehicles is in their synthesis of disparate fields. While a price is not given, the special solar panels are probably pricey – but well worth it as most UAVs of this size […]
The report appears to be on the optimistic side, assuming strong & sustained growth in the automobile market in general. However, even with more pessimistic assumptions this could be significant business, as well as saving lives if the ethical and legal conundrums can be addressed.