This entire barley field was planted and harvested without humans

October 4, 2017 by  
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Drones and autonomous machinery just seeded, tended, and harvested a crop of barley in the United Kingdom without drivers on tractor seats or farmers working the field. A project of Hands Free Hectare , the barley field explored the idea of autonomous farming . Hands Free Hectare, an effort of Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions , recently celebrated a successful harvest. They set out to be the first project to plant, care for, and harvest crops with solely drones and autonomous machines, funding the project with under £200,000, or around $265,037, which they said was a low budget compared with other autonomous farming vehicle projects. They drew on open source technology and machinery farmers could purchase today. Related: Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers Mechatronics researcher Martin Abell of Precision Decisions said in a statement, “This project aimed to prove that there’s no technological reason why a field can’t be farmed without humans working the land directly now and we’ve done that. We set out to identify the opportunities for farming and to prove that it’s possible to autonomously farm the land, and that’s been the great success of the project.” The researchers predicted they’d harvest around five metric tons, according to Abell, who said they hadn’t quite reached their target, but their agronomist “predicted 4.5 tonnes and it looks like he’s on the money.” Automation is the future of agriculture, according to researcher Kit Franklin of Harper Adams University, who said in the team’s first press release from late last year, “It’s not about putting people out of jobs ; instead changing the job they do. The tractor driver won’t be physically in the tractor driving up and down a field. Instead, they will be a fleet manager and agricultural analysts, looking after a number of farming robots and meticulously monitoring the development of their crops .” What will happen to the barley? The Hands Free Hectare researchers plan to use it in a beer . They also aim to repeat their experiment with a winter crop. + Hands Free Hectare Via Hands Free Hectare Images via Hands Free Hectare Facebook and Hands Free Hectare Twitter

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This entire barley field was planted and harvested without humans

Dubai has officially started testing flying taxis

September 26, 2017 by  
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Dubai is now one step closer to launching the world’s first flying taxi service. On Monday, Volocopter successfully tested its two-seater Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT), which hovered for about five minutes approximately 200 meters off the ground. The vehicle resembles a small helicopter topped with 18 propellers, and it’s powered entirely by electricity. Volocopter ‘s AAT prototype is remarkably quiet, and it has a cruise speed of 50 km/h and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h. In total, the drone taxi measures two meters in height and it has a diameter (including propellers) of just over seven meters. When it’s officially launched, the AAT will be able to fly without remote control guidance and take trips up to 30 minutes at a time. In case of trouble, there are a number of fail-safes – including backup batteries, rotors, and even built-in parachutes. “Implementation would see you using your smartphone , having an app, and ordering a Volocopter to the next voloport near you. The volocopter would come and autonomously pick you up and take you to your destination,” said CEO of Volocopter, Florian Reuter. “It already is capable of flying based on GPS tracks today, and we will implement full sense capability, also dealing with unknown obstacles on the way.” Related: Lilium’s all-electric flying taxi could travel from Manhattan to JFK in 5 minutes Venture Beat reports that the test flight occurred during a ceremony arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. “Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contributes not only to the country‘s development but also builds bridges into the future,” said Sheikh Hamdan said in a statement. “This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.” Volocopter plans to launch a flying taxi service in Dubai within five years. Time is ticking, as more than a dozen, well-funded firms in the U.S. and Europe are developing their own high-tech flying vehicles. + Volocopter Via Venture Beat, The National Images via Dubai Media Office

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Dubai has officially started testing flying taxis

World’s first autonomous, all-electric cargo ship to launch next year

July 25, 2017 by  
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The world’s first crewless, autonomously operated ship is set to sail in late 2018. The Norwegian-built Yara Birkeland is being dubbed the “Tesla of the Seas” because the vessel is fully electric . The $25 million ship will initially start out as a manned vessel, moving to remote operation in 2019 before going completely autonomous in 2020. The 100-container ship is being developed by two Norwegian companies — agriculture firm Yara International and technology company Kongsberg Gruppen. In late 2018 the vessel will start transporting fertilizer 37 miles down a fiord from a production facility to the port of Larvik. Related: Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world The companies said in a statement that the Yara Birkeland is expected to reduce emissions by removing 40,000 truck drives a year through urban areas in southern Norway. “We want to go zero emission,” Petter Ostbo, Yara’s head of production who leads the project, told The Wall Street Journal . “Even if some say climate change is not reality, it’s a business reality because clean sources of energy are more affordable than fossil fuels.” Via The Verge Images via Yara

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World’s first autonomous, all-electric cargo ship to launch next year

France aims to roll out world’s first autonomous high-speed trains within 7 years

June 16, 2017 by  
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High-speed trains in France could soon be driverless, if the country’s national railway operator SNCF has anything to say about it. They aim to test what they call drone trains in 2019, with the hope the TGV trains could start running around four years after that. SNCF President Guillaume Pepy said if the project is successful, they will be the world’s first operator to run a high-speed autonomous train. Here’s how high-speed autonomous trains would work: sensors would equip the high-speed drone train, which currently travel at up to 320 kmh (200 mph), to run smoothly across tracks in France. The technology would help the trains detect obstacles and brake automatically. The train could also be piloted remotely, although a conductor would still be present at least initially in case of emergency. The onboard drivers would also manage opening and closing of doors. Related: China unveils train that travels on ‘virtual tracks’ SNCF said they’re not working on the technology to reduce their staff. They told French publication FranceInfo there will always be a need for a human onboard. SNCF adjoint director Matthieu Chabanel likened the drone trains to autopilot systems aboard an airplane , telling FranceInfo, “On high-speed, we are aiming for automation in the sense of automatic steering as in aircraft. In aircraft, you always have a driver, fortunately, but you have an automatic steering system.” Through the drone trains, SNCF hopes to ramp up the frequency and speed of TGV trips, especially around Paris . They think automated trains could increase the number of trips between the country’s capital and Lyon by 25 percent. FranceInfo reported a team of ten people is devoted to the project, and they are collaborating with research institutions and other rail companies like Alstom. The first prototype tests would transport goods, with passengers possibly hopping aboard around 2023. Via The Verge and FranceInfo Images via Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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8 universities given three years to develop a self-driving Chevy Bolt

April 7, 2017 by  
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We’re getting closer to the year many automakers predicted would see self-driving vehicles on the road. While Ford has made great advances lately, General Motors isn’t yet ready to stand on the side line with other automakers in 2020. In order to help bridge that gap, GM has announced it is giving eight American universities a Chevy Bolt as part of the new autonomous vehicle design competition called AutoDrive Challenge. The AutoDrive Challenge includes teams from Kettering University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, North Carolina A&T University, Texas A&M University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and Virginia Tech. Each school will be given three years to to develop and demonstrate a fully autonomous Chevy Bolt. Related: The new Nissan Leaf will be able to drive autonomously on the highway While three years may seem like a long time, the AutoDrive Challenge will be quite tough. At the end of the three years, each team will have to complete the development of a Chevy Bolt that will be able to navigate an urban driving course, autonomously and without any human interaction. In addition to receiving the Bolt, GM has also tapped strategic partners and suppliers to aid the students in their technology development by providing vehicle parts and software. Additionally, throughout the competition, students and faculty will be invited to attend technology-specific workshops to help them in their concept refinement and overall autonomous technical understanding. “GM is very excited to work closely with these eight universities over the next three years,” said Ken Kelzer, GM vice president of Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems. “The students and faculty at these schools bring deep knowledge and technical skills to the competition. We are proud to help offer these students the hands-on experience necessary for them to make an immediate impact on the automotive world when they graduate.” The AutoDrive Challenge kicks off this fall. Images @GM + General Motors

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Airbus to build flying autonomous taxis that soar over traffic

August 19, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in traffic, wishing you could just fly above the chaos, you might soon get your wish. Aeronautics giant Airbus has announced a new plan, dubbed “ Project Vahana ,” that would create a fleet of on-demand autonomous drones to carry passengers through the skies. And if that doesn’t sound crazy enough, the company says it could begin testing as soon as 2017. Much like Uber , passengers would use an app to book passage on the craft, and then travel to a local helipad. There they would board a CityAirbus drone along with other travelers, and be “whisked away to their destination.” Not only would this service be faster than a regular taxi due to its ability to avoid traffic, Airbus is planning to keep the price in the same range as a taxi ride, too. Any luggage would be carried by a separate service. While Airbus doesn’t anticipate problems with taking to the skies with current technology, training these taxis to be autonomous is going to be a challenge . We still haven’t perfected self-driving cars – how likely is it that we’ll have what are essentially self-driving helicopters available anytime soon? Related: AeroMobil unveils futuristic flying car, plans to launch by 2017 Don’t expect to see any large passenger drones in your city’s sky in the near future. Right now, Airbus has set its sights on a drove delivery system , which will be tested in Singapore next year. If the delivery drones work well, the company hopes they could help ease potential customers into the idea of traveling by drone in the future. + Project Vahana Via Autoblog

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Airbus to build flying autonomous taxis that soar over traffic

MIT’s self-assembling chair is really cool, but totally useless (for now)

February 20, 2015 by  
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The future is here. We have in our midst self-sustaining homes ,  self-charging cell phones , and even a variety of self-driving cars . MIT engineers are digging on the autonomous vibe, and working to develop furniture that puts itself together. Whaaaat? Read the rest of MIT’s self-assembling chair is really cool, but totally useless (for now) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous furniture , chair that assembles itself , MIT , MIT engineering projects , MIT experiments , MIT self-assembly lab , self-assembling chair , underwater self-assembling chair

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Harry Gesner’s Autonomous Tents Can Be Assembled in Days and Packed Up Without a Trace

December 20, 2013 by  
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Visionary architect Harry Gesner has created a new form of architecture that can be raised in just a few days and that can “leave without a trace.” Although these private hideaways provide all of the luxuries of home, they do not require a foundation, utilities, or septic system. Gesner carefully designed the Autonomous Tent to respect every aspect of our delicate ecosystems. + Autonomous Tent The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Autonomous Tent , green architecture , Green Building , green design , Harry Gesner , sustainable design , temporary building , temporary shelter , TENT        

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Harry Gesner’s Autonomous Tents Can Be Assembled in Days and Packed Up Without a Trace

100 Self-Driving Cars Set to Hit Sweden’s Public Roads in 2017

December 2, 2013 by  
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Volvo just unveiled plans for the world’s first large-scale trial of self-driving cars. The ‘Drive Me’ project will see 100 autonomous vehicles take to the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017. The cars will traverse 30 miles of public roads while encountering heavy commuter traffic, pedestrians and shifting highway conditions. While “ non-drivers ” will be behind the wheel during standard trips, Volvo anticipates that the cars will be able to seek out a parking spot, and park without the presence of a driver. Read the rest of 100 Self-Driving Cars Set to Hit Sweden’s Public Roads in 2017 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: automated driving , autonomous car , car safety , Drive Me , efficiency , Gothenburg , green cars , green transportation , pedestrian safety , Public Roads , self-driving car , Sweden , volvo        

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100 Self-Driving Cars Set to Hit Sweden’s Public Roads in 2017

14 Great Green Gifts for the Ladies

December 2, 2013 by  
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Looking for the perfect green gift for that awesome lady in your life? We have compiled a list of 14 gifts from classy clutches made from the recycled linings of juice boxes to recycled wine glasses and a beautiful bamboo Sprout watch , each of which has been carefully selected from suppliers who have the greenest and fairest consumer standards. We have gifts for ladies that love tea , ladies that love cooking , ladies who love reading , and everyone in between. Step on in for a look at the full guide to find a lovely green gift for your special lady. GREEN GIFTS FOR THE LADIES > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags:        

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14 Great Green Gifts for the Ladies

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