EP.18 QUADRUPED ON WHEELS
Real-life transformer, tiny drones, wheeled robot-dog & much more...
Transformer in real life 🤖
A Japanese startup called Tsubame Industries has created a massive robot named ARCHAX, which is a lot like the Transformers we see in movies. It's about 15 feet tall and costs $3 million. They plan to sell at least 5 units of this human-piloted robot. Their goal is to use this robot exoskeleton in space or in disaster relief.
The cool thing about ARCHAX is that you can sit inside it and control its arms and hands with joysticks. It has two modes: one where it stands like a robot and another where it can drive around like a vehicle.
While it's a bit expensive and might not be allowed in public spaces in some places, it shows that big robots you can control are becoming a real thing. Who knows, one day they might even do superhero stuff!
Who immediately thought of Transformers movies? 🤖
First quadruped robot on wheels
LimX Dynamics, a company from Shenzhen, China, has introduced its innovative W1 wheeled quadruped robot. The combination of wheels and legs, coupled with real-time terrain perception, grants the W1 exceptional all-terrain capabilities.
This versatile robot is designed to address common challenges in various B2B sectors, including industrial inspection, logistics, distribution, research, and education.
W1's perceptive locomotion algorithms allow it to navigate challenging terrains, including stairs, with ease. The robot offers excellent mobility efficiency, payload capacity, and an extensive cruising range, making it suitable for various applications.
They integrated academic and R&D experience in terrain perception, reinforcement learning, multi-rigid body dynamics, hybrid dynamics, and model predictive control to achieve exceptional stability and real-time control capabilities.
Meme of the week 🤖
Until THAT check-box is still out there — we are safe!
SLAM for super-tiny drones 🤯
In simple terms, when robots (aerial robots = drones) need to move around by themselves, they have to understand and make maps of their surroundings. This helps them avoid obstacles and find their way.
One way to do this is by using a special computer program called SLAM, which corrects mistakes and makes accurate maps. But, big robots with powerful computers can do this, and small ones can't because it's too hard for them.
Now, there's a new solution called NanoSLAM, made just for small robots. It's like a super-efficient map-maker that works on tiny robots that only use a small amount of power. This means even a tiny drone, weighing as little as 44 grams, can use it.
With NanoSLAM, these little robots can make very accurate maps and do it really quickly, in less than 250 milliseconds. So, it helps small robots move around safely, even when they have limited power and space.
Another humanoid learned how to walk 🚶🏽
Figure introduced its Figure 01 humanoid robot, showcasing dynamic bipedal walking publicly for the first time. The company grew to 60 employees within a year, spanning various engineering disciplines. They secured a $70 million funding round in May 2023 and developed the robot in just over 12 months (that’s fast).
Figure 01 boasts a metal exterior, marking a departure from previous simulated versions. The robot features articulated joints with a total of 41 degrees of freedom, and it achieves dynamic walking through torque control, making it adaptable for real-world applications and human interaction.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS
Houston with autonomous taxis from Cruise! 👀
Cruise, a robotaxi service, is now available to the public in Houston. They're operating seven days a week from 9 PM to 6 AM in an 11-square-mile area that covers several neighborhoods. These neighborhoods include Downtown, Midtown, East Downtown, Montrose, Hyde Park, and River Oaks.
Cruise has been growing quickly over the past year. It took them 33 months to get regulatory approval for San Francisco, but only three weeks for Phoenix and Austin. They began in San Francisco, a challenging city for self-driving cars due to steep hills, traffic, and fog.
Even though Cruise has faced challenges, such as a recent recall of 300 vehicles after a minor collision with a bus, they continue to improve their autonomous driving system. They're working on making their vehicles better at responding to emergency vehicles and first responders with various measures. So, it's an exciting time to register and try out their robotaxi service in Houston.
Another city, another milestone! 🔥
Source: Autonomous taxis in Houston
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