Weekly Robotics Newsletter Archive [11/16]

  • Weekly Robotics #23

    1) FetchIt! - The Fetch Mobile Manipulation Challenge.
    discourse.ros.org
    INFO: Via linked post: “The competition involves having a Fetch Mobile Manipulator autonomously navigate to stations in a work cell, pick up items, operate basic machinery, place items into kits, and transport the finished kits to a drop-off location. The team that assembles the most kits within 45 min will win a Fetch Mobile Manipulation Research Robot.”

    2) TechCrunch Sessions 2018 - Robotics.
    TechCrunch
    INFO: This collection contain highlights of TC Sessions: Robotics from 2018. In there you will find sessions with CEO representatives of such comapnies/organizations as Boston Dynamics, UC Berkeley, Nvidia, Fetch Robotics, Agility Robotics, Aurora and SuitX.

    3) ROSflight.
    ROSflight
    INFO: ROSflight is an autopilot system designed from ground up to be interfaced with ROS. ROSflight firmware is compatible with STM32F103 and STM32F405 based flight controllers (revo, naze32, flip32) that are meant to be interfaced with an onboard computer for high level control. If you are interested in ROSflight source code then you can find it on GitHub.

    4) Mobile Robot for Aircraft Inspection.
    Luleå University of Technology
    INFO: Researchers at Luleå University of Technology are working on a Vortex Robot that uses air suction (in the video at the bottom article you can see what appears to be a robot with ducted fan embedded in it’s body) to perform inspections on bodies regardless of their curvatures and inclination. The video at the bottom shows the team testing the robot on Boeing 737.

    5) AI City Challenge 2019.
    AI City Challenge
    INFO: AI City Challenge is a competition focusing on AI in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The challenge consists of 3 tracks: city-scale multi-camera vehicle tracking, city-scale multi-camera vehicle re-identification, traffic anomaly detection, each provided with a datasets. The deadline for final evaluation results is 10th of April 2019.

    6) Air Powered Soft Robotics Gripper.
    Instructables
    INFO: This step by step tutorial explains the process of creating a simple air-powered soft robotics gripper.

    7) Publication of the week - ROS Navigation Tuning Guide (2016).
    kaiyuzheng.me
    INFO: This document is a good practical introduction to the ROS navigation stack. The tutorial covers the concepts of global and local planners and AMCL (Adaptive Monte Carlo Localization). What we like the most about this document is how practical it is about navigation tunning and explaining the most important parameters and how they affect navigation.

    0) Introducing the sponsored section.
    Weekly Robotics
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    Weekly Robotics
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    1) Ocado Group (Hatfield, UK) - Various Positions.
    INFO: Ocado is the world’s largest online only grocer. Ocado Technology is responsible for the design and development of almost all the software that runs our highly automated business. Ocado has open positons for Robotics Research Software Engineer - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Robotics Research Software Engineer and Robotic Systems Application Engineer.

    2) Smooth Robotics (Odense, Denmark) - Software Developer.
    INFO: Smooth Robotics develops systems for intuitive robot control.

    3) Welbo (Amsterdam, Netherlands) - Social Robots Developer.
    INFO: Welbo creates social robots solutions that welcome visitors and support them in other tasks.

    4) Universal Robots (Various Locations) - Various Positions.
    INFO: Universal Robots develops industrial collaborative robots that automate and streamline repetitive industrial processes.

  • Weekly Robotics #22

    1) A robot recreates the walk of a 300-million-year-old animal.
    EPFL
    INFO: Researchers at EPFL and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin developed a method of reproducing the gait of a 300 million year old animal based on fossil and fossilized footprints.

    2) Intelligent Energy claims new endurance record for hydrogen-powered multicopters.
    New Atlas
    INFO: Intelligent Energy created a coaxial multirotor powered by a fuel cell and a 6L tank of hydrogen compressed at 300 bars. The 70 minute flight test was performed and documented by Batcam, an UK based drone operating company. The video of the flight test has been recorded and can be seen at the bottom of the article. If you watch it in full please let us know!

    3) Delivery Drones Use Bird-Inspired Legs to Jump Into the Air.
    IEEE
    INFO: Passerine, a South African startup is working on a fixed wing drone with feet that help the drone to launch and land vertically. The drone prototype is using blown wings (exhaust from the engine passes over the wings and portion of wing flaps). In the article you will find 3 videos of the prototype and an interview with Matthew Whalley, the CEO of Passerine.

    4) Mapping “Camp Fire” with drones, lessons learnt.
    sUAS News
    INFO: This report is a write up on lessons learned after mapping over 17,000 acres of land affect by California “Camp Fire”. 16 emergency responders performed 518 flights, producing 70,000 images.

    5) Inside NVIDIA’s new robotics research lab.
    The Robot Report
    INFO: Recently NVIDIA has opened a new robotics laboratory in Seattle, US. The laboratory will be focused mainly on collaborative robots R&D. In the article you will find demonstrators on mobile manipulator in the kitchen, deep object pose estimation, tactile sensing and human-robot interaction.

    6) NASA May Decide This Year to Land a Drone on Saturn’s Moon Titan.
    Space.com
    INFO: A Dragonfly mission could be launched in 2025 and arrive on Titan in 2034. The robot used in the mission is a multirotor aircraft powered by a nuclear power source. The main goal of the mission is to evaluate the organic compounds present on Titan.

    7) Publication of the week - Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous (1963).
    MIT
    INFO: In the hopes that this work may in some way contribute to their exploration of space, this is dedicated to the crew members of this conuntry’s present and future manned space programs. If only I could join them in their exciting endeavors! - this is the dedication that can be found in this PhD thesis by Buzz Aldrin.

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  • Weekly Robotics #21

    1) Autonomous Driving Cookbook (Preview).
    GitHub
    INFO: This repository developed and maintained by the Project Road Runner at Microsoft Garage is a collection of tutorials for developping autonomous vehicles.

    2) Bill Gates at Harvard University Lab.
    Gates Notes
    INFO: In the above article Bill Gates discusses his visit to Harvard University laboratories. The article briefly discusses exoskeletons, soft robotics and flying microrobots.

    3) ESA’s E.Deorbit debris removal mission reborn as servicing vehicle.
    ESA
    INFO: We discussed E.Deorbit mission back in Weekly Robotics #4. The project is now being reborn as a satellite service vehicle capable of refuelling, refurbrishing or rebosting satellites already in orbit.

    4) Tesla Autopilot HW3 Details.
    Reddit
    INFO: You should treat this post as a speculation. Some users of teslamotors subreddit are discussing the details of possible hardware and software of the new Tesla Autopilot. The post is based on information released by Tesla, reverse engineering and speculations.

    5) How To Use Docker With ROS Using DockeROS.
    The Construct
    INFO: In this 20 minutes episode of ROS Developers Podcast Christian Henkel from Fraunhofer - IPA talks about DockeROS, differences between snaps and docker images.

    6) NASA To Conduct Tests of Planetary Defense Spacecraft.
    Interesting Engineering
    INFO: In the next couple of years NASA wants to send a spacecraft called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) on a collision course with a non-threatening asteroid to see if it’s capable of changing the asteroid’s trajectory.

    7) Publication of the week - You Only Look Once: Unified, Real-Time Object Detection (2016).
    arXiv
    INFO: You Only Look Once (YOLO) is a real-time object detection system. The object detection pipeline is a single convolutional neural network that simultaneously predicts multiple bounding boxes and class probabilities for those boxes. In the first version of YOLO described in the above paper (there have been 2 YOLO releases since the paper was published) the team achieved detection at 45 FPS on Titan X GPU and more than 150 FPS using the fast version. According to the paper one of the limitations of YOLO is that it struggles with small objects that appears in groups (flocks of birds). YOLO can also have issues with objects with unusual aspect ratios or configurations.

    0) Introducing the sponsored section.
    Weekly Robotics
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    1) Mat’s review of 100$ LIDAR.
    M.Sadowski Blog
    INFO: In this blog post Mat, the editor of Weekly Robotics, reviews YDLIDAR X4, a budget LIDAR with a very good performance for the price.

    Careers

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    Weekly Robotics
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    1) Cobalt Robotics (San Mateo, CA, US) - Various Positions.
    INFO: Cobalt builds autonomous security robots that keep buildings safe by combining the reliability of machines and the friendly face of human-in-the-loop “Robot Specialists”.

    2) Gecko Robotics (Pittsburgh, PA, US) - Various Positions.
    INFO: Gecko Robotics is automating industrial inspection and repair where existing processes are dangerous and inefficient.

    3) Preffered Networks (Tokyo, Japan) - Various Positions.
    INFO: Preffered Networks is a startup with ~200 members based in Tokyo, focusing on developing AI for Autonomous Driving, Robotics, and Bio-Healthcare.

  • Weekly Robotics #20

    1) Drones Used to Find Toylike Butterfly Land Mines.
    Scientific American
    INFO: Researchers at Binghamton University in New York are using thermal imagery captured by a multirotor UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to search for landmines. In the trials the team was able to pick up about 78% of the mines.

    2) Self-driving Rovers Tested in Mars Like Morocco.
    ESA
    INFO: Recently self-driving space rover trials were concluded in Sahara desert by members of PERASPERA consortium. Before testing of the rovers the test location was mapped using a drone, producing a digital elevation model with a 4cm resolution that were used as a ground truth to the data captured by the rovers. The article mentions that SherpaTT rover managed a 1.3 km journey during trials.

    3) Cafe Staffed by Robots Controlled by Paralyzed People.
    SoraNews24
    INFO: On November 26th a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Dawn ver.β Cafe that was meant to be a trial run that lasted until 7th of December 2018. According to the linked article the Cafe used OriHime-D robots that paralyzed people could control from their homes. The project was crowdfunded and if the support continues it is hoped that the full fledged Dawn Cafe can open in 2020.

    4) Autodrome: OpenAI Gym environment for self-driving vehicle development.
    Autodrome
    INFO: The simulator is built around the engine, map editor and assets of Euro Truck Simulator 2 or American Truck Simulator. The project is released under MIT Licence.

    5) The Disruptors Podcast Episode on Bio Inspired Robotics.
    The Disruptors
    INFO: In this podcast episode Prof. Auke Ijspeert from EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) discussing biology vs mechanics. In the interview Prof. Ijspeert provides quite an interesting view on Boston Dynamics and Academia. Other topics covered in the Podcast are military use of robots, exoskeletons, Uncanny valley (including a robotic crocodille), robotics and jobs.

    6) Project Soli.
    Project Soli
    INFO: Google is working on a 8x10mm radar chip for gesture detection. The radar operates at 60 GHz ISM band. According to the information on the website the SDK can provide data at 100 to 10,000 frames per second.

    7) Publication of the week - Excalve: Hardware Testing in Mass Production, Made Easier (2018).
    bunnie:studios
    INFO: This blog post about hardware testing is made of two parts. The first one talks about test jigs and automated hardware/firmware testing of electronics. The second part introduces Exclave - a factory test infrastructure written in Rust. We found the post to be very informative and full of good practices for electronics mass production.

    1) Introducing the sponsored section.
    Weekly Robotics
    INFO: Would you like to advertise your Robotics related product or service? Please get in touch and we will provide you with all the details

    2) Robotics for the Planet.
    M. Sadowski Blog
    INFO: Mat, the author of this newsletter partnered with 1% For The Planet, pledging to donate at least 1% of sales from his Robotics Consultancy and WeeklyRobotics to environmental non-profits.

    3) Humble STEM Books Bundle - pay whar you want for STEM books (until 7th January 2019).
    Humble Bundle
    INFO: The Humble Book Bundle with STEM books published by Mercury Learning is nearing to an end. In the Bundle you can find such books as Industrial Engineering Foundations, Artificial Intelligence and Problem Solving, Radar Systems and Radio Aids to Navigation, Industrial Automation and Robotics, Wireless Sensor Networks, Real-Time Embedded Components and Systems With Linux and RTOS and more. We joined Humble Bundle partner program, meaning that you can support Weekly Robotics by purchasing the bundle using the above link.

    Careers

    0) Would you like to advertise an open position in a robotics related company?
    Weekly Robotics
    INFO: If you would like us to include your open position in the hiring section please feel free to send us an e-mail.

    1) ATLAS (Various Countries and institutions) - Various PhD Positions Related To Surgical Robotics.
    ATLAS
    INFO: ATLAS (AuTonomous intraLuminAl Surgery) is a project coordinated by the University of Leuven, is implemented by a consortium of seven Universities and many industrial partners. The call for some of the open positions will close on 15th of January.

    2) Eco Robotix (Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland) - Various Positions.
    Eco Robotix
    INFO: Eco Robotix creates completely autonomous robot for a more ecological and economical weeding of row crops, meadows and intercropping cultures.

    3) Satellite Applications Catapult (Harwell, UK) - Agri-Tech Satellite Solutions Architect.
    Satellite Applications Catapult
    INFO: The Satellite Applications Catapult aims to empower businesses in the exploitation of new and emerging satellite services, to achieve our own vision “To innovate for a better world powered by satellites”.