Wind Industry Embraces Robots to Boost Safety, Cut Costs

Wind Industry Embraces Robots to Boost Safety, Cut Costs

Drones are coming to the wind industry in a big way. An $8 million cash injection for a little-known startup this month highlighted the growing importance of robotics in wind turbine operations and maintenance.

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based SkySpecs, which makes drone systems for wind farm inspections, gained the funding through a Series B financing round led by Statkraft Ventures with UL Ventures, Capital Midwest and previous backers Venture Investors, Huron River Ventures and others.

SkySpecs will use the cash to add greater intelligence to an autonomous system that the company says can carry out a full turbine rotor-blade inspection within 15 minutes, at the push of a button and with no additional human insight.

“This year we will enable owners to harness […]

CES 2018: Get ready for the robots, from professional strippers to artificially intelligent puppies

CES 2018: Get ready for the robots, from professional strippers to artificially intelligent puppies

The influx of androids, many featuring smoother movement and more artificial intelligence than before, were shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, where 35 exhibitors demonstrated the latest humanoid developments.

The most bizarre stunt featured two robots invading and performing at a strip club.

And then there was Sophia.

Sophia is arguably one of the world’s most famous robots. She has been on chat shows, given speeches and even has been made a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Humanoid "Sophia The Robot" of Hanson Robotics answers questions during a press conference. Picture: AFP This week she was equipped with legs for the first time thanks to a collaboration between her maker Hanson Robotics, Rainbow Robotics, and Drones and […]

CES 2018: voice-controlled showers, non-compliant robots and smart toilets

CES 2018: voice-controlled showers, non-compliant robots and smart toilets

The annual trend-setting tech extravaganza that is CES International in Las Vegas is drawing to a close, having suffered through torrential rain, blackouts and a few uncooperative robots. And it’s clear that your voice is more important than ever.

CES 2018 rammed home that big technology thinks voice is the next major evolution in computing. First we had the computer, then the smartphone and now voice assistants.

Smart speakers such as Amazon’s popular Echo devices and Google’s Home, which both had a killer Christmas , are just one outlet for the artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant.

Google reverse-ferreted from its Google own-brand strategy to follow Amazon’s led in opening up its Assistant voice system to third-parties. Manufacturers from all ends of the scale, […]

The pros and cons of having sex with robots

The pros and cons of having sex with robots

Robot strippers pole danced at a gentleman’s club hosting a Consumer Electronics Show party earlier this week in Las Vegas. The video, which featured the robots gyrating to Pharrell, quickly went viral.

But they were far from the only sex technology featured at the annual electronics trade show, which started on Tuesday and runs until the end of this week in Las Vegas. Amid the displays of self-driving cars, drones, and smart devices, technologies such as virtual reality porn and Solana, a sex robot with several interchangeable faces, showed that the intersection of eroticism and tech remains big business.

In Robot Sex , Neil McArthur, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Manitoba, brings together essays that explore the […]

Terrorism and UAVs: an increasing risk

Terrorism and UAVs: an increasing risk

Violent non-state actors have increasingly been making use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Initially, this was limited to intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions. More recently, some terrorist organizations – among them, the Islamic State and Hezbollah – have extended their use of UAVs to include the deployment of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in warzones. Now, the threat of UAVs being used in attacks in Europe or North America is rising.

Since 2001, the war on terror has witnessed the gradual emergence of a new weapons system: the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Efficacy, affordability, and low political costs have increasingly made UAVs the weapon of choice against violent non-state actors. Simultaneously, commercial UAVs – considerably smaller and […]

Exclusive: Volocopter’s air taxi takes flight for first time in the US

Exclusive: Volocopter’s air taxi takes flight for first time in the US

Regardless of whether you believe flying cars will become a legitimate way to get around, there’s no doubting that people around the world are in love with the idea. There’s always been something inherently cool about the idea of skipping across the sky in a personal vehicle.

That’s why Intel capped its keynote address at this year’s CES by letting an 18-rotor air taxi prototype (octadecacopter?) known as the Volocopter VC200 flyacross the stage, albeit briefly — the first time it’s flown in North America, in fact. No, the Volocopter is not quite a “flying car” as much as it is a “gigantic drone that you can sit in.” But even that’s still cool .

Intel could use some of that […]