Large Grant Awarded to VeHICaL

In a recent article on the website, Berkeley News, the announcement of a $4.6 million grant was discussed. With companies wanting to integrate driver less cars and delivery drones into our society, the need for the safe operation of these machines is paramount. The National Science Foundation has awarded UC Berkeley $4.6 million over five to a group of researchers called VeHICaL, towards researching and improving the human/machine interface. With this grant VeHICaL hopes to find new and improved ways to the manner in which humans and machines interact. How may humans benefit from the interaction with robots? How can drones hurt/help society? How may people be hesitant to adopt this technology?

Blockchain: Solution for a safer airspace?

In a recent article on the website, Security Intelligence, the idea of blockchain is introduced. Security is becoming more of an issue as more and more businesses and individuals are using UAVs. Concerns range from privacy to terrorism. Drones can interfere with large aircraft, take pictures of private spaces, and even deliver explosives and other weapons with devastating effects. Fortunately, technology is being developed to regulate this industry and the se of UAVs. Blockchain can help to organize information, regulate airspace, and protect drones and individuals by providing a type of virtual air traffic control system. How ubiquitous will blockchain become? What other technologies may compete with blockchain? How will agencies like the FAA enforce the use of blockchain by users?

Toyota Research Institute to further AI and robotics research

A recent article published on November 9th, 2015 in Gizmag, http://www.gizmag.com/toyota-research-institute-robotics-ai/40284/, states that Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that it will commit $1 billion over the next 5 years to establish the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). TRI will be a research and development center that will initially focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and on robotics. Toyota is tasked with developing technologies to increase driving safety and to improve mobility and quality of life, particularly for the elderly. The initial focus of TRI will be to focus on technologies intended to improve the accessibility and safety of vehicles through looking at the way machines and people work together. Rather than focusing on the development of fully autonomous vehicles, TRI will focus on accident avoidance and expanding driver opportunities to everyone regardless of their abilities. Toyota also has aspirations to use big data and robotics research to help improve the quality of life for everyone, not just drivers. TRI will begin operations in January of 2016, and will be headquartered near both Stanford University and MIT.

How can AI and robotics increase driving safety and improve mobility and quality of life for people? Will other large companies invest into this technology as much as Toyota?