Friday, November 24, 2017

Robopocalypse Report #98 (mini version)

Apple has released self driving car research.

The British want a large number of self driving cars on the road by 2021.

California may limit the liability of self driving car manufacturers.

Delphi acquired self driving car company nuTonomy.

General Motors is finding self driving cars require a lot of computing power and that negatively impacts fuel economy.

General Motors has been pitching its hydrogen fuel cell tech to the US Army, including self driving, unmanned logistics trucks.

Google is driving its self driving cars around Chandler, Arizona without any backup driver.

Google will also test its cars in Detroit.

The first Las Vegas self driving bus got into an accident just hours after launch.

Lyft has received approval to drive its self driving cars in California.

Singapore will start using self driving buses in 2022.

Uber has ordered 24,000 Volvos for conversion into self driving cars.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Different Russia Minister Says it Will NEVER Legalize Bitcoin

In yet another backflip worthy of the Moscow Circus, a Russian minister has said that the country will never legalize bitcoin, just seven months after another government minister said it was considering making it legal.

Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov made the statement Monday, saying that “bitcoin is a foreign project for using blockchain technology, the Russian law will never consider bitcoin as a legal entity in the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.”


Sunday, November 12, 2017

China Claims Next Aircraft Carrier Will Have an Electronic Catapult

People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Chinese defence industry officials are claiming that the second of China’s indigenously built aircraft carriers, the Type 002, will be equipped with an electromagnetic catapult, according to a report in the South China Morning Post .

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Terminator Times #35

Drones (UAVs):


The USAF is allowing more airmen to become drone pilots.

The USMC can now print drones with its expeditionary forces.

The US Navy's ONR tested the Nomad UAV on the USS Coronado.

The US Navy has one less competitor in the Stingray unmanned tanker procurement: Northrop has dropped out.  This is a bad sign because NG was seen as the leading contender.  It strongly implies Northrop thinks the competition will not complete or be badly mismanaged,

It appears the MQ-25 Stingray has gone weirdly pear shaped: there are rumors the Stingray will be an unmanned F-18 modified for tanking.  That might be the only way to get the stingray on the deck by 2019 like the Admirals want.  It would explain Northrop's withdrawal.

DARPA has funded the development of a drone that disappears after a single use.

The US Missile Defense Agency has awarded a contract for a laser test program to General Atomics as a precursor to placing a laser on a UAV, probably some variant of GA's Avenger.

Azerbaijan's Heron drones have been spotted at a new base.

The Bolivian Army demonstrated new UAVs, apparently from China.

China will resupply its South China Sea bases with its AT200 cargo drone.

China's Sunic-Ocean unveiled its SU-H2M VTOL drone.

Pakistan claims to have shot down an Indian spy drone.

Portugal is looking for a mini UAV system.

Russia delivered over 30 new drones to its western forces.

Spain has ordered the Fulmar mini UAV system.

The Swiss government is embarrassed because its officials witnessed the testing of the Hermes 900 in the Golan Heights.

Turkey has started manufacturing suicide drones, the Alpagu and Kargu.

The Cormorant UAV got its Safran helicopter engine.

Vanilla Aircraft demonstrated a less than 500 kg UAV that can fly for more than 5 days.

The future of drones gets discussed: higher autonomy, smaller and deadlier, operational challenges, and teaming deployment.

Ogres and Bolos (UGVs):

Russia is procuring armed robots for combat.

Robo Boats (USVs):

China's Yunzhou unveiled its M80B USV for ocean recon.

Robo Subs (UUVs):

The USMC sees a need for multiple types of UUV in the littorals.

Kazakhstan established an MRO facility for UUVs.

Lockheed won a contract to design an Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle.

Skynet (AI):

Google and other tech companies are warning China could outpace the US in AI technology by 2025.

Counter Drone:

China's Digitech is developing counter UAV systems.

Russia has stood up a dedicated drone killing unit.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A/2017 U1: Our First Known Interstellar Visitor


A small, recently discovered asteroid -- or perhaps a comet -- appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

This unusual object - for now designated A/2017 U1 - is less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and is moving remarkably fast. Astronomers are urgently working to point telescopes around the world and in space at this notable object. Once these data are obtained and analyzed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly composition of the object.

A/2017 U1 was discovered Oct. 19 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii, during the course of its nightly search for near-Earth objects for NASA. Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), was first to identify the moving object and submit it to the Minor Planet Center. Weryk subsequently searched the Pan-STARRS image archive and found it also was in images taken the previous night, but was not initially identified by the moving object processing.

link.

Some are starting to call A/2017 U1 'Oumuamua.'

Is likely to find its next star in around a quadrillion, yes, quadrillion! years.  (get over the math envy, one friend said)

What is the rotation rate of A/2017 U1 and does it have a comet-like tail?

A/2017 U1 appears to be very red and lack absorption lines.

A/2017 U1 seems to have formed in a warm environment, not like the outer solar system.

A/2017 U1 is likely to be interstellar in origin.

Could A/2017 U1 have formed in a local stellar association?

What does A/2017 U1's detection mean about the universe?

What does A/2017 U1 imply about planetary formation?

Thursday, November 09, 2017

A Databus for Quantum Computers

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation, however, because quantum systems are very sensitive to environmental noise. Although systems can be protected from noise in principle, researchers have been able to build only small prototypes of quantum computers experimentally. One way to reduce the error rate is by encoding quantum information not in one single quantum particle but in several quantum objects. These logical quantum bits or qubits are more robust against noise. In the last few years, theoretical physicists have developed a whole range of error correction codes and optimized them for specific tasks. Physicists Hendrik Poulsen Nautrup and Hans Briegel from the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the University of Innsbruck and Nicolai Friis, now at the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, have found a technique to transfer quantum information between systems that are encoded differently.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Russia's View of American History Podcast

Ivan Kurilla is a Professor of History and International Relations at the European University at St. Petersburg. He specializes in the history of the US–Russian relations, especially during American antebellum and Civil War period. He’s the author of Zaokeanskie partnery: Amerika i Rossiya v 1830-1850-e gody (Partners across the Ocean: The United States and Russia, 1830s–1850s). His scholarship in English includes “Abolition of Serfdom in Russia and American Newspaper and Journal Opinion” in New Perspectives on Russian-American Relations, edited by Norman Saul and Russian/Soviet Studies in the United States, Amerikanistika in Russia: Mutual Representations in Academic Projects, edited with Victoria Zhuraleva and published by Lexington Books.