Weekly Robotics Newsletter Archive [21/27]

  • Weekly Robotics #24

    1) Course: Practical Deep Learning for Coders.
    fast.ai
    INFO: The course v3 is currently available. It is targeting developers with at least 1 year of programming experience (ideally Python). The course consists of 7 lessons. Each class is around 2 hours long and requires around 10 hours work to complete all the assignments.

    2) Virtual Apollo Guidance Computer.
    GitHub
    INFO: This project is a Virtual Machine that allows emulating the Virtual Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). AGC specification look very interesting: under 4 kB of RAM, 69 kB of ROM. The AGC was capable of performing about 85,000 instructions per second. All at just below 32 kg (70 pounds). If you want to learn more about AGC then this video seems to be a good start.

    3) A Waymo One Rider’s Experiences Highlight Autonomous Rideshare’s Shortcomings.
    futurism.com
    INFO: From this article we can learn that left turns and lane merges are difficult to execute for the autonomous cars, especially when safety is your top priority. What we’ve also found interesting in the article is the fact that the safety drivers in Waymo’s cars are making voice logs that are timestamped and can be used for later improvements.

    4) Clearpath Robotics ROS Cheat Sheet.
    Clearpath Robotics
    INFO: If you would like to have some of the useful ROS commands accessible in one place then those cheat sheet by Clearpath Robotics can be a good starting point. The cheat sheets cover Hydro, Indigo and Kinetic ROS releases.

    5) PX4 Roadmap 2019.
    discuss.px4.io
    INFO: PX4 is an open source firmware, most popular on Pixhawk autopilots. In this post the development roadmap for 2019 is discussed. Interestingly the plan is to make linux onboard computers first class citizens for PX4. This can be achieved through development of FastRTPS, which will enable native compatibility with ROS2 messaging.

    6) Gatwick Airport Trial for Valet-parking Robots Aimed at Cutting Hassle for Travellers .
    EveningStandard
    INFO: In August a trial of Valet-parking robots is set to begin at Gatwick Airport in the UK. The robots developed by Stanley Robotics slide underneath the car and gently lifts it up by the tires and is ready to park.

    7) Publication of the week - CERNTAURO: A Modular Architecture for Robotic Inspection and Telemanipulation in Harsh and Semi-Structured Environments (2018).
    inspirehep.net
    INFO: This paper presents developments of robotics framework at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). The control system is layered having layers responsible for communications, application, supervision, control and hardware abstraction, all communicating with each other using inter process communication. The paper also discusses different scenarios how the framework has been used at CERN for maintenance tasks etc.

    1) Humble Book Bundle: Programming Cookbooks by O’Reilly.
    Humble Bundle
    INFO: Do you want to brush up on your programming skills before diving into the practical deep course? Then this bundle and in particular a Python Cookbook might be for you. By purchasing this bundle you can support charities of your choice and Weekly Robotics.

    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) Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, TX, US) - Various Positions.
    INFO: Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is one of the largest independent, non-profit, applied R&D organization in the US. The above positions are all related to development of ROS-Industrial.

    2) Greenzie (Atlanta, GA, US) - Robotics Software Developer / Intern.
    INFO: Greenzie’s mission is to free humans from manual labor. We’re starting with the hardest tasks first - highly repetitive outdoor work in the green industry: lawn maintenance, turf mowing, landscaping.

    3) Rogo (West Lafayette, IN, USA) - Lead Robotics Software Developer.
    INFO: Rogo builds and operates autonomous robots to help farmers get more consistent soil samples to ultimately apply their fertilizer more efficiently.

    4) Parkopedia (London, UK) - Robotics Software Engineer.
    INFO: Parkopedia was founded with the mission of being able to answer any parking question, anywhere in the world.

  • 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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    Careers

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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.

    0) 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

    Careers

    0) Would you like to advertise an open position in a robotics related company?
    Weekly Robotics
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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
    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

    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

    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) 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.