Sunday, July 15, 2018

China has Launched two new Type 055 Destroyers Simultaneously


Two 10,000-tonne Type 055 destroyers were launched simultaneously by the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) on 3 July in a move that reflects the rapid pace at which China is building this new class of warship. The latest ships are the third and fourth to be launched, with all four entering the water in a little over a year.


These are far closer in role and capability to our Ticonderoga class cruisers rather than the Burke class destroyers.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Robopocalyse Report #105

Drones:

Aergility is moving its cargo carrying UAV work to the full scale prototype stage.

Amazon patented 'hack proof' delivery drones.

Aspen, Colorado swapped its fireworks display for a drone show for the 4th of July.

AT&T and Verizon are testing using drones as emergency cell towers.

The British Drones Bill may finally be working its way through Parliament.  At least to the public consultation stage.

British researchers have a pothole filling drone.

Bularia has developed a cargo drone.

Are cargo drones the way to go for the shipping industry?

Colombia is planning on using drones to wipe out the coca plant.

One Colorado lawmaker wants to make it a felony to fly a drone over a wild fire.

The Commercial Drone Alliance will meet with the House of Representative's Subcommittee on Aviation.

Delft Dynamics is developing a tugboat towline delivery drone.

DJI has partnered with a South Korean telecom to stream drone video.

Drone photography from the POV of architect.

Drones can be used to detect butterfly mines after wars.

Drones are learning to fly themselves.

Drones launching fireworks is a bad idea.

Drones are being used to survey African wild life.

Drone Harmony has an app that automates inspections of cell phone towers.

Dropcopter's drones can improve pollination 60% in 'bad' bee years.

Two drug dealers who were delivering by drone have pled guilty.

Exyn is going to release a drone in a South American mine to map it...without using GPS.

The FAA's new program, LAANC, will cut the time to getting a commercial permit for drones.

The FAA has banned drone flights above prisons and US Coast Guard stations.

Green Peace crashed a superman shaped (yes, superman) into a French nuclear reactor building to 'prove a point.'

An Idaho Falls police officer has been tapped to create a roster of all Idaho state agencies using drones.

Indiana's first responders are increasingly using drones.

Intel's Shooting Star drones were used at Travis AFB in California for a 4th of July celebration.

The International Drone Racing Association has selected the drone for this year.

KT Telecom has unveiled an airship drone for search and rescue.

Medical supply drone delivery company Matternet just got a $16M investment from Boeing.

MIT has developed a chip for micro drones.

Mystic is a bot powered drone that follows you and recognizes gestures.

NASA has flown one of its drones in public air space in a solo flight.

New Zealand is seeking stricter rules for hobbyist drone users.

NOAA is using drones in the Arctic to monitor the environment.

Ohio is testing using drones to monitor traffic.

Pilsner Urquell used a drone to inspect its beer bottling plant.

Reykjavik residents will see drone delivery of goods expand soon.

A Swedish woman encountered a peeping drone.

Switzerland is seeing a disturbing increase for the number of drone-aircraft incidents.

UNICEF is calling on companies to deliver vaccines via drone in the South Pacific.

The University of Tokyo has created the Dragon drone that can autonomously decide what shape it needs to navigate through terrain.

The USGS is using drones to monitor the craters of the active volcanoes in Hawaii.

Vicksburg, MS' police department got permission from the FAA to use drones.

Volvo is using Luminar's lidar.

Wisconsin police used a drone to save a man from self harm.

Hundreds of drones are on display at the 2018 World Drone Congress.

Wichita police bought a drone for search and rescue, but some are skeptical.

World Economic Forum has launched a drone policy group.

Self Driving Cars:

The gov has blocked a device that can fool the Tesla Autopilot.

Members of the self driving industry have created a group to study the impacts of the technology on society.

A societal impact for self driving cars might be the massive loss of parking fees.

How much could a family potentially save by giving up its car to use a driverless car sharing service?

There are calls for the gov to get the regulations for self driving cars, and autonomous vehicles in general, right.

Some experts believe self driving cars are much further away than people think.

Self driving cars can have issues telling if people are going to cross the road.  Or not.

Is the hype holiday over for self driving cars?

Apple has hired an ex Waymo engineer for its self driving car development.

An ex Apple Employee was charged with trying to steal Apple data for its self driving car project.  The employee bought a last second plane ticket to China and was attempting to go work for a startup there.  XMotors, the company the employee was hired by, claims no secrets were passed along.

Baidu has built its 100th Apolong self driving bus.

Baidu will be testing 10 of its self driving buses in Japan.

comma.ai, George Hotz's latest insanity, has released its Level 2 autonomy software to retrofit Honda Civics to become self driving cars.

Two of Cruise's self driving Bolts bumped each other, possibly providing the first case of self driving cars having an accident with each other.

Daimler has received permission to test its self driving car tech on the streets of Beijing.

Einride has developed an electric, self driving logging truck.

A 1965 Ford Mustang has been modified to be self driving.

Georgia Tech is using scale RC cars to test self driving tech.

Google's Loon and Wings UAVs have been spun off into their own separate companies like Waymo was.

Kache.ai is a new, secretive startup that may be getting into self driving semis.  The funky part?  They hired Levandowksi, the engineer in the middle of the self driving car IP theft from Google and Uber.  This is the same Levandowski who started a church stating AI was going to be our Messiah.  Not kidding.

Mercedes will launch its self driving taxis in California next year.  They will be using nvidia's chips and tested somewhere in Silicon Valley.

When will Nissan EVs drive themselves?

nuro and the grocery store Kruger are planning a driverless delivery system.

nuTonomy can now test its self driving cars throughout all of Boston.  Previously, it had been restricted to a single area.

Perceptiva automata is trying to make self driving cars safer for pedestrians.

roborace will attempt its first self driving climb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

StreetDrone announced an open source self driving car software stack.

Tesla Model S and X's will be able to park themselves with the Summon feature.  There may be some confusion as it is also being said this is coming to the Model 3.

Uber has started increasing its simulations for its "drivionics" for self driving cars since the accident.

The Uber 'driver' behind the wheel of the self driving car was streaming Hulu at the time of the crash.

Uber is going to restart testing its self driving cars this summer.

Uber has laid off 100 of its employees in the self driving division.

Voyage has selected Enterprise to manage its fleet of self driving cars.

One of Waymo's self driving car testbeds was hit by a red light runner in Arizona.

Waymo has added Jaguar I-Pace's to its self driving car fleet.

British startup Wayve claims to have an algorithm that can learn how to drive in 20 minutes.

Robotics:


Say hello to Disney's stuntbot.

Inside the not Boston Dynamics lab, the Caltech AmberLab, making mad robots, too.

China has new UUVs.


fuRo has an awesome mashup of a bot that will follow you and a scooter.  Replace the scooters in SF with these.  geez.  Much better.  Just keep them off the sidewalk.

An autonomous electric ferry is starting service in Norway.

Harvard has developed a cockroach-like bot that can walk on land or water.

Honda has ceased developing the Asimo robot.

KLM has a bot to carry your luggage to the right gate.

A maker created a iphone controlled robot to act as a tug for his Cessna.


MIT's Cheetah bot can now climb stairs with obstacles.

The first MRI guided surgery robot.

Ovis has a self driving suitcase.

Robots have an improved method of picking things up.

Robots still have issues picking up objects.  You can help improve their abilities.

Roboticists are delving into biomimicry a lot.

SmokeBot is a robot for firefighters.


Tesla is touting a new type of factory.

An unmanned underwater vehicle was used by search and rescue to find bodies after a tragedy with an Indonesian ferry.

Volvos wants self parking tech for yachts.

3d Printing:

3d printing photosensitive materials is now possible.

3d printing will radically change factories.  For real this time.

Prellis Biologics has a way of 3d printing tissue with capillaries.

Rice University is working on 3d printed graphene foam.

The Russians have found a new way to 3d print tissue.

The US Army has applied for a patent on a new 3d printable concrete composition.

Researchers have come up with a way to create custom 3d printed polymers.

Data files for 3d printed weapons are protected as free speech.  This is gonna get weird.

USAF is now 3d printing its toilet seats.

Estonian researchers have created a peat mixture to 3d print houses.

Austin based Icon can now 3d print houses up to 800 sq ft in 24 hours.

Cyborgism:

MIT has an interface that uses brain control and gestures to control rockets.

There is prosthetic skin that can perceive pain and touch.

There is also a prosthetic ankle that can handle rough terrain.

Software Bots:

Adobe is developing a bot that detects shopped images.

Amazon has launched a version of Alexa for hotels, starting with Marriots.

Amazon's Alexa for IoS can now use voice commands.

Amazon's Alexa is losing market share in an amazingly horrible way.

Apple has snatched Google's former head of 'AI.'

Baidu has also developed a software bot to detect tumors.

A British judge has suggested using software bots to review social media data.

The British NHS is asking Google to explain its business model for DeepMind Health.

DARPA is funding development of bots that can design computer chips.

Facebook has acquired Bloombury, a software bot for natural language processing.

Facebook has been sending bots into a virtual NYC to improve.

Fuel3d has started testing its facial recognition software.

Google's Cloud TPU's are online for paying users.

Google is attempting to train bots to be able to predict if and when a patient will die.

Google has trained a bot to create 3d models from 2D pictures.

Google Assistant has an upgrade.

Google Home and Chromecast went down for some users.

Google has started publicly testing its Duplex software bot.

Could Google's voice assistant actually handle your next insurance claim?

If a Google bot decides your use of the cloud for your business should be banned, what do you do?

Google's DeepMind can now play Quake III like a person.

Guess has created a store where Alibaba bots can help you put together outfit combinations.

Hinge is using bots to match people for dates.

IBM developed a version of a bot to debate and present unbiased arguments.  hmm.

IBM is laying off a lot of people at its Watson Health unit.

An Instagram Influencer is nothing more than a software bot: she doesn't even exist.

The IRS wants a software bot to secure its data.

Could the first machine learning algorithm able to correctly project extrapolations been found?

Microsoft's Azure face recognition software now works on more than just caucasians.

Microsoft's software bots may help predict natural disasters.  Sort of.

MIT has developed a software bot to help with medical image analysis.

MIT also has a software bot that can identify and isolate individual instruments in music.

NVidia has released new tools for software bot developers.

Nvidia has added more containers full of computers for software bots.

Nvidia's bot fixes bad photos by looked at other bad photos.

OpenAI entered its bots into a DOTA 2 competition.

Software bots could be a nightmare for the pharmaceutical industry.

Software bots are being used to create phishing links for hacking your computer.

Software bot generated deep fakes can be detected, for now, by the fact they don't get blinking right.

A software bot is getting predictive for food choices.

Software bots are needed to map roads in real time.

A Software bot has built the largest to date library of intercelluar interactions.

Software bots are being used to help study the brain.

Software bots are being used to ID different types of volcanic ash.

Software bots are being used for ecological studies, IDing, counting, etc. animals.

A software bot has been developed to help predict outcomes for schizophrenia treatments.

Software bots have been developed to help spot protein crystals under a microscope.

Should sports switch to bot referees?

Stanford has a software bot that helps predict the side effects of drugs.

Uber has applied for a patent for a software bot that can tell if a passenger is drunk.

Automata:

Automated systems, including access control, can have drawbacks.

Microsoft is trying to compete with Amazon for personless stores.

The University of Haifa has developed an autonomous system for detecting schools of fish.

Momentum Machines has opened its first burger restaurant in San Francisco.

Why you ought to let a bot make your next meal.

META:

The Robopocalypse might not take your job, but it might make it boring.

One of the potential answers to the robopocalypse has been suggested to be the guaranteed income or universal basic income.  Ontario, Canada is conducting an experiment on what happens when a UBI is used.

A call for creating AI to serve humanity rather than replacing it.

The US House of Representatives wants to know when the robopocalypse is coming.

Can AI have values, but not conscience?

Some economists are getting worried because too much time is being spent on discussing whether or not automation will take what jobs rather than planning for what comes after jobs are taken.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Russian Space Program Could be in for a Dark Ages

These are not the best of times for the Russian space industry. Due to budgetary reasons, Roscosmos has reduced the number of cosmonauts on the International Space Station from three to two. Because of technical problems with its rockets and cost pressure from SpaceX, the country's once-lucrative commercial launch industry is fading. And soon, conditions may worsen.

As soon as next year, the United States plans to stop paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Russia for Soyuz seats, because it is developing its own transport to the space station. And the European Space Agency has signaled that it will stop launching Russian Soyuz rockets from its French Guiana-based spaceport in the early 2020s.

Russian space editor Andrei Borisov has captured the fading zeitgeist of the Russian space program in a lengthy article on the new leader of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, and the changes he has proposed. "The 'Russian Space' Rogozin is trying to create reminds one of the Dark Ages in Europe," Borisov writes on Lenta.Ru, where he serves as editor of science and technology. "In it, there is no place for modernization, there is only the mission of survival."



As a symptom, the next gen crewed Russian Federatsiya space capsule has been making glacial progress at best:
The Russian Federatsiya project – which is preparing the path for the launch of a new crewed spacecraft – passed a major milestone when it recently entered aerodynamic testing. The tests involved a model of the future spaceship and its Launch Abort System (LAS) fitted with numerous pressure sensors. Another milestone was achieved when work on the interior of the spacecraft was conducted, as noted by Roscosmos in recent days.

The development path for this new spacecraft – which is also referenced as “Federation” in its English translation – began in February 2009, when Roscosmos issued a solicitation for a spaceship intended for Lunar manned missions.

They called it PPTS (Prospective Piloted Transport System), which was also known as the Future Manned Transportation System.

Two companies participated in the tender: GKNPTs Khrunichev, the builder of the Proton launcher, and RKK Energiya, which has provided Soyuz spaceships for almost fifty years.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

New Russian Sub Launched Nuclear Missile has Entered Service




Russian press quotes a source in the industry as saying that the Bulava SLBM has been finally accepted for service. That was a long wait.

The work on the Bulava program started almost exactly 20 years ago. It was included in the plan that was approved in 1998, when Russia was struggling to find the way to maintain its strategic forces not much below the START II levels of 3500 warheads - at that point it was expected that START II will come into force. It wasn't an easy process and the MITT emerged with two projects in its portfolio - the Topol-M (which will later become Yars) ICBM and the Bulava SLBM. The R-39UTTH Bark SLBM project - a follow-up to R-39/SS-N-20 - was cancelled after three failed flight tests. Part of MITT's argument was that Bulava will use Topol-M technologies and therefore will be cheaper to produce.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Paleolithic Papers #21

Genus Homo:

Why are human brains so large?  What genes make our brains grow so much larger than most other animals in relative terms?  Does the size come at a cost?

H. sapiens:

Who were the Nataruk people?

The Zhoukoudian Cave's human habitation is 35 thousand years old.

Mesolithic Mediterranean people's diet has been discovered via analysis of their teeth.

More evidence suggests modern humans colonized the Americas via the coastal route.

Paleogenetic evidence also suggests two different lineages did the colonization.

Mesolithic intestinal parasites have been found in Sweden.

Diets of the Niah Cave residents might be detectable from their mandibles.

The Clovis tech and skeletal remains from the Anzick site are, in fact, from the same time frame at the Holocene/Pleistocene boundary.

The interaction between modern humans and the archaic populations it replaced in Africa as it evolved needs to be examined.

Late Pleistocene tools in Sri Lanka show what plants the locals were eating at the time.

H. neanderthalensis:

How DID Neandertals hunt?  By not throwing, it appears, but by close-quarters thrusts and stabs.

New insights into the Neandertal thorax.

Denisovans:

Stone tools from the Denisovan cave were used to butcher animals.

H. erectus:

How H. erectus may have interacted with a lake margin ecology.

H. naledi:

Based on studying the teeth of H. naledi, it definitely appears to be a member of the genus Homo.

H. habilis:

The biomechanics of the OH 8 foot get examined.

Genus Australopithecus:

The cranial thickness of the StW 578 hominin (A. africanus, iirc) gets examined and similarities to modern humans are found, while differences from Paranthropus are uncovered as well.

The DIK-1-1f A. afarensis child has finally been described.  Among the interesting features is the child had ankles and feet that would help it climb trees, unlike the adults of the same species.  The big toe, as a child, was far, far more mobile than as an adult.  This would allow for grasping while climbing.  However, the child would lose this as it grew up.  Even as a child though, the Dikka hominin was definitely bipedal.

META:

The environment of 2 million years ago where hominins lived was wetter than previously thought.

Muscles thought to be uniquely human have been found in great apes.

How hominins leading to humans carved out their unique niche and how it differed from apes.

Studying breakage patterns on bones could have been produced by hominins.

Caution with studying collagen from prehistoric hominin fossils is warranted.

Large size might have evolved already by the time of the last common ancestor of humans and chimps.

Friday, July 06, 2018

NASA Considering Flying Additional SLS Block One Rockets

NASA has started updating plans and schedules for additional SLS Block 1 launches in the early 2020s after Washington added federal budget money for a second Mobile Launcher (ML) platform and umbilical tower in late March.

Construction of a new Mobile Launcher frees the first ML from a three-year long downtime for teardown and reassembly after the first SLS launch of Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), currently projected for mid-2020. Instead of being retired after one launch, the Block 1 configuration could fly multiple times.

The first two candidates to fly on the second SLS launch are the first crewed Orion on a Lunar swingby flight test or the Europa Clipper interplanetary flagship that will repeatedly overfly Jupiter’s moon exploring for signs of habitability. The space agency formally re-assigned both missions to Block 1 last week and will decide in the future which one gets priority.

Both missions will need Block 1’s Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), a modified Delta 4 upper stage, and NASA is now looking at purchasing more stages and human-rating the design for Orion missions.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Collision With a 2 Earth Mass Planet Shaped Uranus' Evolution



Uranus was hit by a massive object roughly twice the size of Earth that caused the planet to tilt and could explain its freezing temperatures, according to new research.

Astronomers at Durham University, UK, led an international team of experts to investigate how Uranus came to be tilted on its side and what consequences a giant impact would have had on the planet's evolution.

The team ran the first high-resolution computer simulations of different massive collisions with the ice giant to try to work out how the planet evolved.

The research confirms a previous study which said that Uranus' tilted position was caused by a collision with a massive object - most likely a young proto-planet made of rock and ice - during the formation of the solar system about 4 billion years ago.

The simulations also suggested that debris from the impactor could form a thin shell near the edge of the planet's ice layer and trap the heat emanating from Uranus' core. The trapping of this internal heat could in part help explain Uranus' extremely cold temperature of the planet's outer atmosphere (-216 degrees Celsius, -357 degrees Fahrenheit), the researchers said.



Sunday, July 01, 2018

China Surpasses US Navy, Develops Operational Railgun

China is currently testing the world's most powerful naval gun and people with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report say it will be ready for war by 2025.

Railguns use electromagnetic energy instead of gunpowder to propel rounds, and China's is capable of striking a target 124 miles away at speeds of up to 1.6 miles per second, according to the report. For perspective, a shot fired from Washington, D.C., could reach Philadelphia in under 90 seconds.

Railguns have long appeared on Russian, Iranian and U.S. military wish lists as cost-effective weapons that give navies the might of a cannon with the range of a precision-guided missile.

The rounds used in China's railgun cost between $25,000 and $50,000 each, according to the intelligence assessment. Though not an exact comparison since the weapons have different technologies, the U.S. Navy's Tomahawk cruise missile has an estimated price tag of $1.4 million each.

China's railgun was first seen in 2011 and underwent testing in 2014, according to people who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity. Between 2015 and 2017 the weapon was calibrated to strike at extended ranges, increasing its lethality. By December 2017, the weapon was successfully mounted on a warship and began at-sea testing, a feat no other nation has accomplished.

The U.S. Navy's railgun, years away from being operational, remains a classified system still in development under the Office of Naval Research.


This is what happens when politicians and military brass piss away technological advantage by fucking around.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pondering the Precambrian #9

Proterozoic:

There is evidence from the Proterozoic that Earth's day was 18 hours long.

NeoProterozoic:

Ediacaran:

The evolution of biological productivity and primary producers across the Ediacaran/Cambrian boundary

The Hüttenberg Anomaly appears to have been evidence of the Ediacaran oxygenation event.

Oxygenation variations in the atmosphere and shallow waters in the Yangzte platform.

Did anoxia kill off the Ediacaran benthic communities?

The Doushantuo fossils from China get examined closer.

Bilateral animal trackways and metazoan burrows have been discovered in the Ediacaran Dengying formation.

Two new disc critters from the Ediacaran have been found.  One was named for Sir David Attenborough.  The other for Barrack Obama.

Why did rangeomorphs grew so large during the Ediacaran?

What caused the mass extinction of the Ediacaran Biota?

Cryogenian:

Argonite fans were present in the bottom sediments during the Marinoan Glaciation.

Tonian:

India and Suixian sedimentary group were connected and either were on the margin of the supercontinent of Rodinia or were on a separate plate.

MesoProterozoic:

Evidence of an island arc from the Calymmian has been found.

PaleoProterozoic:

Australia was not connected to Laurentia from 1.8 gya to 1.65 gya during the Nuna/Columbia supercontinet.

During a continent breakup, there appears to have been enhanced terrestrial input into Chinese carbonates.

There is evidence of oceanic crust subduction from China.

During the Siderian, continental microbes and their 'crusts' on rocks might have helped seed the oceans with nitrogen.

Archean:

NeoArchean:

Continents rising above the ocean changed the climate and environment, permanently, on earth.  

Did the dawn of plate tectonics trigger a NeoArchean Snowball Earth episode?

The interplay between crustal arcs and mantle plumes was important in the Archean.

There is no support of wide spread increases in oxygen in shallow waters from South Africa leading up to the Great Oxygenation Event.

MesoArchean:

There might be evidence of two separate turns of the Wilson Cycles in Chinese deposits during the Archean.

Yet, it seems crustal production was periodic prior to 2.7 gya.

PaleoArchean:

Evidence of microbial mats was found from the PaleoArchean.

Hadean:

The Earth might have been able to form a high silica crust during the Hadean, less than 350 million years after its formation.


Origin of Life:

How primordial life might have replicated itself.

Experimental Paleontology:

Fish eggs were used to test how precambrian embryos might have been silicified.  

Friday, June 29, 2018

Airbus is Completing the First Orion Service Module

Airbus Defence and Space is in the home stretch of work to ship the first European Service Module (ESM) to its Florida launch site for integration with the rest of the hardware for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. When fully assembled and tested, Orion will be launched on the Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) test flight to orbit the Moon and return.

ESM-1 is now undergoing subsystem functional testing at its Assembly, Integration, and Testing (AIT) facility in Bremen, Germany, following completion of most hardware that can be installed on-site. Also known as Flight Model-1 (FM-1), the module will be flown to the Kennedy Space Center this summer to begin the sequence of steps to put together the full Orion spacecraft.

As FM-1 nears completion, Flight Model-2 (FM-2) has joined its sister module in the clean room at Bremen to begin its AIT flow. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are also working with prime contractor Airbus on beginning construction of ESM hardware for subsequent modules this summer.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Is Oumuamua Really a Comet?

The first-known visitor from outside the Solar System, an object dubbed ‘Oumuamua, is an icy comet rather than a rocky asteroid. New measurements help to confirm early guesses as to the composition of the interstellar interloper, and could also aid researchers in their hunt for similar objects in our Solar System.

Careful observations of ‘Oumuamua’s orbit showed that as the object flew through space, something continually nudged it a tiny bit farther from the Sun than expected. That something was probably ice that warmed up and sprayed gas into space. This process is characteristic of a comet, rather than an asteroid, even though ‘Oumuamua never displayed the glorious tail of gas and dust that accompanies most comets.

“It’s an unusual comet, and that’s pretty exciting,” says Karen Meech, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. She and her colleagues, led by astronomer Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency in Frascati, Italy, report the discovery on 27 June in Nature.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Is This the Design of China's Third Aircraft Carrier?



Computer-generated imagery has emerged showing what could be the design for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) third aircraft carrier, which is believed to under construction at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard in Shanghai.

Released on 20 June, the image, which was shown during a meeting of senior China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) executives, depicts three carriers, two of which are configured for short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) aircraft operations using a ski-jump; and a third one (in the centre of the image) configured for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) operations.

The image, which was initially posted on CSIC’s WeChat social media page but later deleted, can be interpreted as representing China’s two Kuznetsov-class carriers – Liaoning and an as yet unnamed one that is undergoing trials – and the third carrier, which had already been expected to have a flat deck and feature electromagnetic catapults rather than steam-powered ones.


China Times also has a story on it.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Terminator Times #46

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):

The Trump Administration continues drone strikes.

US and Chinese UAVs get compared.

USAF has started operating Reaper UAVs from Poland and Greece (more).

The AgilePod has flown on USAF Reapers at least 3 times.

The US Coast Guard has signed a $117 million contract for UAVs.

The USMC has ordered Switchblade suicide drones from AeroVironment.

The USMC has started taking deliveries of cargo from helicopters converted to being drones.

The USMC discusses more about the MUX UAV being a mini AWACS.

The USMC's new quadcopters for its infantry squads have been grounded for potential cyber security reasons.

The USMC will have contractor owned Reapers provide support in Afghanistan.

The USN has officially inducted the Triton UAV into service and gave Northrop a contract for the Triton.

The USN is requesting almost $700M for the MQ-25 effort.

The USN is helping to test the DARPA/Northrop TERN UAV.

US SOCOM is looking for new drones.

Australia is integrating the Black Hornet nano UAV at the infantry squad level.

The British had a 5th Watchkeeper drone crash in Wales.

Bulgaria is proposing joint UAV production with Israel.

Images of China's Dark Sword stealthy UCAV have emerged.

China is rocking and rolling in the international drone market.

A European MALE UAV has flown under satellite control for the first time.

Germany signed the Heron TP contract.

Israel tested the Cormorant UAV for medical evacs.

Israel sold Heron UAVs to India.

Russian Katrans robo helicopter will start trials this summer.

The Russians have unveiled the export version of the Orland 10 UAV.

Spain has ordered more Fulmar UAVs.

Airbus is advancing its VSR700 VTOL UAV project.

The Black Hornet nano UAV is being integrated into vehicles.

A new version of the Black Hornet can now navigate without GPS.

The Blue Bird ThunderB was profiled.

General Atomics tested a mockup of the inlet with their proposed engine for the MQ-25.

General Atomics will retrofit 122 Reapers.

General Atomics also got a contract for radars for the Reapers.

General Atomics also got a contract from the USMC for its Reapers.

General Atomics successfully conducted lightning testing on the MQ-9B.

General Atomics' demonstration of the Guardian UAV in Japan has been completed.

Lockheed has unveiled the Stalker VTOL UAV.

MIT has a virtual world setup for UAVs to "fly" in.

Nexter unveiled a tethered UAV concept for SpecOps.

Piaggo is planning its next gen UAV.

Rafael unveiled its Firefly suicide drone.

Swedish/Swiss drone maker Skeldar has bought German engine maker Hirth.

TAI & KAI have signed an agreement for the Anka UAV.

YugoImport unveiled its X-01 Strsljen VTOL UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles:

The US Army just awarded another contract to make its logistics vehicles unmanned.

The US Army wants an optionally manned replacement for the Bradley.

Australia has ordered extra UGVs for testing.

The British want to use UGVs for logistics.

Horiba Mira unveiled a new Centaur 6x6 UGV.

Milrem & MBDA are making an antitank UGV.

Polus-ST unveiled its KRMM-06 UGV.

Russia's Uran-9 UGV performed extremely badly in Syria.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Roboats):

The Chinese tested a swarm of 56 USVs.

The US Navy has a CRADA to test the SwarmDiver USV.

NATO and Israel are training to repel swarm attacks.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (Robo Subs):

The US Navy is looking at putting MCM sonars on UUVs.

The US Navy's Knifefish passed recent tests.

The US Navy gave Metron a contract for modules for UUVs.

3d Printing:

The US Army is experimenting with 3d printing in exercises.

Software Bots:

A secret software bot program is hunting for hidden nuclear weapons.

India is putting together an AI teask force to play catchup to China and the US.

Google may not renew its contract with the Pentagon for its software bots.  This is due to the Pentagon wanting to expand the contract and employees at Google protesting and even resigning.  Google management thought the program would expand enormously and be very lucrative.  That's been kiboshed.  Google is promising an ethical guideline for military AI.

Some are stating AI researchers should help with military projects.

A company working on an AI project for the military was hacked.

META:

The US Navy wants unmanned systems to be ubiquitous in warfare.  Here's their roadmap.

The British are worried AI will learn war from computer games.

Some claim the ideal of humans in the loop to contract autonomous weapons is a fallacy.

Killer robots will only happen if we are stupid enough to let them.

Russia is attempting to greatly increase their unmanned military capabilities.

Friday, June 22, 2018

What Would the Space Force be for?

President Trump’s recent directive to the Defense Department to create a new branch of the military, a United States Space Force, was not an idle musing. Trump’s proposal derives from a growing debate inside military and political circles about how to best meet the threat posed to American space assets by potential enemies: Russia and China, to be precise.

Pentagon officials are sounding the alarm that the United States is not ready for a space war. The other two great space powers have been creating the weapons to achieve an orbital Pearl Harbor, the destruction of satellites that provide the military with communications, navigation, and intelligence capabilities it will need in a war. After years of neglect, the current administration is pouring resources into a fevered attempt to play catchup before it’s too late.

The argument against a United States Space Force, at least at this time, is that creating it would be a massive reorganizational undertaking, complicating rather than enhancing America’s capability to fight a war in space in the near term. The argument for creating a space-faring branch of the military stems from the fact that the space environment is characterized by lack of air, extremes of heat and cold, microgravity, and the realities of orbital mechanics, which mean that no object remains in one place. The space environment is far different from the air, sea, and land where Americans are accustomed to fighting and hence needs a branch of the military trained and accustomed to operating in it.

link.

2nd link.

Congress needs to way in before its creation.

A pro stance article for the proposed US Space Force.

The Pentagon is awaiting congress.

Rogers in Congress makes a statement.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

China's Liaoning Aircraft Carrier has Reached IOC

China’s first aircraft carrier group, formed around the carrier Liaoning , has reached initial operational capability (IOC), the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Beijing announced on 31 May.

The exercises conducted by the carrier group have become more demanding and “the carrier formation’s comprehensive system of offence and defence has been effectively tested”, MND spokesperson Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang told reporters during a press conference.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Robopocalypse Report #104

Drones:

Australian researchers are using drones to sample whale snot.

Brazilian farmers have started using drones to maximize crop yields.

British drone operators will need to pass a test and get a license.

British company, SenSat, set a new record for a civilian drone operation beyond line of sight.

British Universities are working on drones that can fix potholes overnight.

In China, food delivery drones have started work.

The FAA wants drones to have visible license plates.

A science panel is advising the FAA to loosen drone restrictions.

Flock, an insurance startup for drones, has just received another round of funding.

A drone was used to save a Hawaiian man's life from the volcanic eruption there.

This drone was designed to detect violence in crowds.

A drone has helped Mexican police reduce crime.

Finland successfully tested a drone traffic management system.

GE launched a subsidiary to help management large drone fleets.

Italian and Swiss researchers have built the smallest autonomous drone to date.

A drone will be used to inspect power plants in Italy.

Illinois has a bill submitted to allow law enforcement to use drones more.

Students in India have developed a rapid response, first aid drone.

An MIT algorithm will allow better data updates with the most up to date data for drones.

This is a quadcopter changes shape to slip through tight spaces.

A new quadcopter can follow cars at night.

A Seattle man crashed his drone into the Space Needle and is not suffering the consequences.

Spokane, WA will use drones to inspect infrastructure and monitor construction.

UAVs are being used to detect particulates in the Arctic.

A US Senate bill would authorize the DHS to seize and destroy drones.

Workhorse Group is delivering items via drone in Loveland, OH.

The Zephyr UAV is being worked on.

Zipline is delivering blood by drone in Africa.

Self Driving Cars:

Here's a snarky glossary to the self driving car terminology.

Self driving cars must reduce traffic fatalities by 75% if they want to stay on the road.

Self driving cars could reshape cities.

Self driving cars may not have a huge impact economically until 2040.

US Senators are looking into self driving car safety.

Here come self driving scooters.

AAA says Americans still don't trust self driving cars.

Apple signed a deal with Volkswagen  (and other German automakers) to work on self driving cars.

Byton unveiled its second self driving, eletric car prototype.

Cadillacs will be getting some self driving capabilities in 2020.

California will allow passengers to be picked up by fully autonomous cars.

Some are rather unhappy with California's regulation of self driving cars.

A company is 'finally' grading self driving cars on safety.

Daimler has unveiled its electric trucks with self driving capabilities.

GM has settled with a motorcyclist that was clipped by a Cruise self driving car.

Michigan's mcity is trying to understand how people will use self driving vehicles.

Softbank invested $2.2 billion into GM's Cruise and its self driving car tech.  Japan may get self driving cars for the Olympics as part of the Softbank investment.

Ford is running a faux test of how people will interact with self driving delivery vehicles, but the car really isn't self driving.

Land Rover is developing self driving capabilities for off road.

MIT is teaching self driving cars to change lanes like people do.

A Tesla on Autopilot crashed into a parked police car.

Consumer groups are demanding the FTC investigate the Tesla Autopilot.

Tesla's Autopilot is getting an update soon.  Supposedly, in August, Tesla will enable more self driving capabilities in Autopilot.

Uber's software had its automatic object avoidance software switched off by design when it hit and killed the woman in Arizona.  This was turned off because it kept getting false positives.  The NTSB is blaming of the turn off of that system for the crash.  The system DID detect the woman 6 seconds prior to the crash.  Uber has shut down its Arizona ops.  Uber is moving its ops back to Pittsburgh.  The mayor there had no idea Uber was coming back.

Uber is signaling it might end up using Waymo self driving tech.  Given their own abysmal record, that would probably be a good idea.

Waymo is ordering up to 62,000 Chrysler Hybrid Pacifica Minivans for conversion into self driving cars.

Waymo wants to take its self driving cars to europe to act as taxis, but potentially under another name.

The a week in the future of cars is funky.

3d Printing:

A 3d bioprinter from UCLA.

A 3d bioprinter can now print human corneas.

Flowbuilt Manufacturing can make 3d printed shoes much faster.

3d printed...chinese food?

3d printed houses are planned as rentals in the Netherlands.

Sandia National Labs is 3d printing telescopes.

A startup is offering continuous carbon fibre 3d printing.

TU Delft has a new way of 3d printing.

The University of New South Wales got a $3M grant to work on 3d metal printing.

Robotics:

An autonomous window cleaning bot.

Automated bike frame production is coming.

Caltech has an actuatorless soft robot.

Disney has developed a robot that can backflip.

Some are saying not to expect farm robotics any time soon.

The University of Hong Kong has developed a new, motorless actuator for robots.

Japanese researchers have grown 'muscles' for robots.

The International Maritime Organization is looking to regulate autonomous ships.

Meet Mesmer.  And we need to have a talk about that.

MIT is working on domestic robots or at least how to teach them to be domestic.

The MITO underwater bot is the latest to come out.

Nissan built a robot that can mark up sporting fields, like soccer fields, autonomously.

Robots could have senses far beyond people do.

The race to mine the ocean floor with robots has begun.

Robots are coming for the weeds.


There is even a robot pollinator.

Robots want your blood, at least to take it.


Here come the sexbots.

UCSB has developed a soft robot actuator.

Using shape memory alloys as actuators.

Softbank's Pepper robot is a cybersecurity mess.

Spyce, the automated kitchen equipped restaurant, opened for business on May 3rd.

Cyborgism:

MIT found a way to wireless power medical implants.

Software Bots:

Amazon's Alexa had a weird coincidence where it listened to, recorded and sent a conversation it heard.

A version of Alexa is being targeted for software developers.

How Canada became important in the AI development race.

China is using software bots to see if its students are paying attention.

Cortana can be used to hack PCs.

DeepMind has been watching Youtube videos to learn how to beat Atari games.

Facebook has a bot that turns whistles into musical compositions.

If you think you have fake news now...

Google's Assistant fired a gun.  Sorta.

Google's Duplex assistant able to interact with people might actually be breaking the law.

Will Google keep its promises to make only ethical AI?

Google's software bot to translate languages will now do so offline, at least for 59 of them.

IBM's Watson Health just had massive layoffs.

Intel is promising its ASIC chips for AI will arrive in 2019.

Microsoft bought an AI company to improve Cortana's conversational skills.

Microsoft also has the equivalent of Google's Duplex.  It's called Xiaoice and only available in China.

A New York bill intended to fight deepfake software bots is getting opposed by entertainment companies.

NIST ran a study that found facial recognition experts worked far better with an AI partner.

Meet Norman, the psychotic AI trained by reddit images.

Nvidia has developed a bot that can learn by watching people.

Physicists are using software bots to assemble atoms.

Samsung wants AI on all its devices by 2020.

Software bots are being used to obscure identity on online pictures.

Software bots might be useful for IDing useful nanoparticles.

Software bots are better at IDing skin cancer than dermatologists.

Software bots are being used to design replacement teeth.

Software bots are now being used to help develop solar panels.

Can software bots predict violent protests by analyzing twitter?

Software bots can now detect movement through walls.

A software bot can transfer human expressions from one video to another.

Software bots are being to detect and ID animals seen in camera traps.

A software bot created a movie starring a real actor.

A discussion of software bots.

Ubisoft has an AI helper for its games.

Virtual assistants could be finally arriving.

Zimbabwe is starting to use Chinese facial recognition software.

META:

Welcome to Silicon Valley's version of Transhumanism.

Someone is trying to trick registrants at the NIPS 2018 conference into registering at the wrong site.

Does the US need an AI strategy like Europe et al?  Supposedly, the US is pursuing a very aggressive AI strategy.  

The Toronto Declaration is an attempt to get software bots to not discriminate and respect human rights.

The fear of automation is one of the driving forces of the recent strikes in Las Vegas.

Thousands of AI researchers are boycotting a new Nature journal.

Eric Schmidt calls shenanigans on Elon Musk's declarations about AI.

Software bots/AI are being deployed in stupid ways in companies by management that doesn't understand it.

The robopocalypse came for warehouse workers in China.