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Tesla isn't the only company with the home battery on the way, with Mercedes-Benz unveiling its own home battery capable of holding 2.5kWh of electricity.
But, eight of these can be tethered together for a total of 20kWh, twice of the electricity that a single Powerwall from Tesla can hold. Merdeces-Benz is taking a much more modular approach to its battery thanks to the ability of hooking multiple of them together. 20kWh should be enough for most modest sized houses, with the company hoping to ship its home battery in September.
Robots are being developed and it's up to us to be prepared for them. There has been a recent call for new public policies and organizational models that will adhere to robotics, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything useful will get done.
The idea that robots could one day overpower humans seems frightening, but there is a more pressing matter: robots taking jobs from human workers. It's possible robots could end up replacing half of all jobs, with some positions at greater risk than others.
"This is an unparalleled situation and one that I think could actually lead to all sorts of disruptions once the public starts to catch on that we are truly in the midst of technological unemployment," said Wendell Wallach, a scholar at the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, in a statement published by Business Insider.
Robotics experts from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology snagged a $2 million prize during a DARPA contest. The United States government opened up a challenge to create a mobile robot that can work in environments too hazardous for humans.
Six different countries participated in the competition, with DARPA needing "the tools to effectively respond" to humanitarian disaster relief missions, DARPA official Brad Tousely told the AFP. Robots were scored on tasks that included opening a valve, breaching a wall, how they handled debris, and how it adapted to the surrounding environment.
The HUBO humanoid robot is 5'9" and weighs 176 pounds - it can roll on wheels while kneeling when not using bipedal mode to walk.
The US Air Force is interested in preparing itself for the next level of warfare, and that includes possible electronic warfare needs. Instead of focusing on the EA-18G Growler and other older planes, the USAF has turned its attention to the super pricey F-35 platform from Lockheed Martin.
The F-35 provides "some pretty impressive" capabilities that include jamming enemy signals and other electronic warfare tools, according to Air Combat Command Commander General Herbert Carlisle. Considering the overall price of the F-35 program, and countless delays and setbacks, it's incredible lawmakers and military officials think American taxpayers won't notice.
"With the limited (budget), you've got to think harder about buying brand new legacy airplanes versus the next generation as we go forward," Carlisle recently said during a press conference. Boeing wants to receive enough orders to help ensure its F/A-18E/F and EA-18G fighter manufacturing plant in St. Louis can remain open.
Earlier in the year, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) met to discuss the use of lethal and potentially autonomous robots on the battlefield. Researchers are careful not to urge for a worldwide ban of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), though urge caution - and much more research - that must be conducted by multiple nations.
The argument of maintaining human control over robotics systems on the battlefield is for moral and legal reasons that robots likely couldn't perceive. However, some wonder if the argument has started too late, as there is increased research in non-human solutions conducting military operations.
"Almost all states who are party to the CCW agree with the need for 'meaningful human control' over the targeting and engagement decisions made by weapons," said Stuart Russell, professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, in a statement published by Nature. "Unfortunately, the meaning of 'meaningful' is still to be determined."
Researchers are creating robotic technology that can help faster automate food processing, using technology that could have major long-term ramifications. Working with the FTNON food-processing equipment manufacturer, new technology could be used in chillers to help process lettuce, cabbage, and other vegetables prior to packaging.
"In industry, only humans can do that at the moment," confirmed van der Linde, co-founder and CEO of Lacquey, in a statement published by the MIT Technology Review.
One robot can successfully manipulate a chicken, able to slice shoulder tendons before breasts and wings are cut in a processing plant. The new automated system can match the same speed as humans, and developers want to see the speed increase. Also inside of a food processing facility, the Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics are tasked with putting chicken carcasses onto a holder before they are shipped elsewhere in the plant.
Researchers want to develop next-generation robots able to naturally interact with humans, hoping their creations are able to intuitively act on instinct. Researchers from the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and Institute for Systems Research want to revolutionize how robots are able to function in the real-world.
Ideally, it'll be possible to teach robots common sense and general awareness of their surroundings, so they can play a wider role in the human world. ARC researchers previously showed off a robot that can learn how to cook after watching YouTube culinary videos.
"We're trying to build the next generation of robots," said Yiannis Aloimonos, an experienced computer science professor, in a statement released by the University of Maryland. "There are robots that can interact with people naturally and do a variety of useful things."
The cheetah-inspired robot created by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has an innovative new skill: it can successfully jump over obstacles. The robot, which can run a maximum 10 miles per hour, is becoming even more impressive ahead of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals next month.
Researchers equipped the robot with a LiDAR system that uses laser to detect items, with the cheetah quickly creating a virtual map of its surrounding area.
"It's the first legged robot to be able [to] leap hurdles like this autonomously," said Sangbae Kim, MIT research team lead, in a statement. "Many other robots can move faster on wheels, or maybe jump higher, but they can't do it on their own."
It's possible 47 percent of jobs in the United States could be at risk because of robotics taking over, according to a report from Citigroup and the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. Trying to find solutions to better train and educate employees will be required, and humans in the workforce must be willing to expand their skills.
The education system's poor preparation of workers transitioning from high school or university in the workforce has to be changed. Automation is expected to displace even more workers in the future, according to Joe Seydl, senior associate of the Citi Global Economics Team.
"This time, bigger portions of our economy are being disrupted by new technology," Seydl said in a statement to the Christian Science Monitor. "I think it's going to come down to policy: supply-side and demand-side policies. Supply-side means making sure workers have the skills to compete for jobs in the 21st century. This is going to come down to education and whether we can upgrade workers' skills fast enough."
Unmanned drones and other military vehicles aren't new, and it looks like robots and autonomous hardware could be the future. However, there are legal and ethical questions when it comes to weapons systems that are able to identify and engage targets with no human interaction.
The idea that a robot or drone can detect its target and begin firing at the target without a human operator is frightening - but something that more researchers believe is feasible. There is a concern, however, that robots would be unable to accurately identify enemy combatants and civilians. Though there is a counter-argument that robots would cause less collateral damage than humans remotely operating the drones.
"Technologies have reached a point at which the deployment of such systems is - practically, if not legally - feasible within years, not decades," said Stuart Russell, an AI researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, in a commentary published in "Nature." The AI weapons "have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms."