Weekly Robotics #8

1) What happens when a drone hits an airplane wing?
INFO: This video shows the damage the DJI Phantom 2 could cause to an aircraft wing at 230 MPH (370 KM/H). Bruce Simpson from XJet YouTube channel commented on this research in his latest video.
UPDATE: The video linked above caused quite a lot of controversy in the drone world. You can find more information about supposed flaws in the research carried out in this article drone life.

2) Soft Robotics Toolkit.
INFO: The Soft Robotics Toolkit is a collection of shared resources to support the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices. The video on the home page is a great summary of everything the toolkit provides. Open Source soft actuators? Sign me up!

3) nuScenes self-driving car dataset.
INFO: nuScenes is a large scale dataset released by nuTonomy-Aptiv. At present you can download a set of 100 scenes, each 20 seconds long and contains information from 6 cameras, 1 LIDAR, 5 radars, GPS and IMU. All the data is annotated with bonding boxes. NuScenes promises that the final dataset containing 1000 scenes will be available for download in early 2019.

4) Microsoft Announces Experimental Release of ROS for Windows 10.
INFO: Robot Operating System is coming to Windows. At ROS Con 2018 Microsoft showcased a Turtlebot 3 running ROS Melodic on Windows 10. The reason this can be a big news is that it can rapidly accelerate adoption of ROS, which so far was tied heavily to Linux. If you want to find more information on ROS on Windows then the project page is probably the best place to start. We will keep an eye on this project and report back!

5) Blimpduino 2.
INFO: Blimpduino is an open source blimp platform. You can attach it to any balloon provided it can lift the 33g robot. The control board is based on ARM M0 chip (you can program it using Arduino IDE). Onboard you will also find an IMU (MPU9250), LIDAR sensor (up to 5m range) for height hold, WiFi chip and an embedded LiPo charger. The webpage above links to a jjrobots store where you can purchase the development kit for 99 USD (85 EUR).

6) Rethink Robotics closes down.
INFO: Rethink Robotics, a manufacturer of Baxter and Sawyer robots closed down this week. According to the article the company raised $150 million up to date.

7) Paper of the week - CARLA: An Open Urban Driving Simulator (2017).
INFO: CARLA (Car Learning to Act) is an open source driving simulator for autonomous driving research. The paper discusses the idea behind CARLA, the simulation engine (implemented on top of Unreal 4) and autonomous driving experiments (Modular Pipeline, Imitation Learning and Reinforced Learning). For more information about CARLA visit the project page.


0) Would you like to advertise an open position in a robotics related company?
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) Zoox (Foster City, CA, US) - Various Positions.
INFO: Zoox was founded to create the full realization of autonomous mobility.

2) Starsky Robotics (San Francisco, CA, US) - Various Positions.
INFO: Starsky Robotics is working to make trucks autonomous on the highway and remote controlled by drivers for the first and last mile.

3) Spyce (Boston, MA, US) - Various Positions.
INFO: At Spyce, we’ve created the world’s first restaurant featuring a robotic kitchen that cooks complex meals.

4) Saildrone (Alameda, CA, US) - Various Positions.
INFO: Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar-powered autonomous surface vehicles called Saildrones.