Weekly Recap: Driverless Ubers, Drones with Claws, Laser Mosquito Killer Robot, etc.

Driverless Ubers

Driverless Uber cars are now cruising the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after a year and a half of testing at the company’s research centre. Next time you visit Steel City, you’ll be able to hail a “robot taxi”. And there’s nothing to worry about: Uber has planned on having a “safety chauffeur” aboard, responsible for ensuring the car’s good behaviour. This is the first live test of a driverless taxi service.

Recode, “As Uber’s robot cars hit the streets in Pittsburgh, the fears of its human drivers have become a reality.”

Uber, “Pittsburgh, your Self-Driving Uber is arriving now.”


Drones with Claws

At the InterDrone show in Las Vegas, Japanese company Prodrone unveiled a drone fetchingly called PD6B-AW-ARM. Its most arresting feature is a pair of terrifying claws that can grab and carry anything up to 20 kg. It is said to have a flight time of 30 minutes. The selling price of this hexacopter for commercial use is not known.

Circuit Breaker, “Here’s a drone with claws.”


Laser Mosquito Killer Robot

Laser Movable Mosquito Killer Robot.

Through an object recognition and tracking algorithm, the killer robot recognizes a mosquito and ‘instantly’ lasers it. The company claims the laser is capable of killing an impressive 30 to 40 mosquitoes per second, an improbably high success rate. We would like to be convinced, but would require a demonstration. What could possibly go wrong?

Popular Science, “This Robotic Tank Wants to Kill Mosquitoes With a Laser.”

Quill or Capture, “Presenting, the Mosquito Killer Robot.”


Pizzaïolo Robots

Take a Silicon Valley startup, cross it with pizza, and what do you get? Robots galore! Zume Pizza’s marketing message is that by saving on salaries, it can top its pizzas with better-quality ingredients. Are taxi drivers and pizzaïolos going the way of lift operators?

Phys.org, “Hungry startup uses robots to grab slice of pizza.”


Riding an Animatronic Horse

At the Tokyo Game Show, a VR gaming company announced the “5 D Totalmotion”, a hardware platform used in coordination with a VR headset. The device is a cylindrical motion feedback machine that can fit any module on top to simulate different types of scenarios, such as riding a horse or eagle, skiing, surfing, etc. It is definitely not a consumer device, but you should soon see this kind of system in amusement parks, arcades and malls.

Engadget, “Futuretown’s modular platform turns VR into simulator rides.”