Long have soldiers practiced their shooting skills at a firing range, shooting at paper targets to develop their marksmanship. Static paper targets pale in comparison to moving humanoid targets out in the field, however, which is where these slightly creepy four-wheeled robots come in. Designed to simulate more realistic battlefield conditions, these robots will replace the paper targets with moving targets which can drive in and out of cover and move around corners.
Developed by Marathon Targets, these robots are far from attractive to look at (which may be appealing when they are designed to be shot), looking like the upper torso of a dummy attached to a piece of machinery, they are far smarter and more well built than first appears. Using a combination of GPS guidance systems and a laser-based obstacle avoidance system with a range of 25 meters, the bots can easily be controlled from a remote location via laptop and even feedback to the operator when and where they were shot, like a high-tech way of checking the bullet holes in a target. Despite packing all of this technology, their most impressive feat is that the manufacturer reports that each robot can handle being shot thousands of times and still maintain its structure and operability.
Recently, the robots were tested by Marines from the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton in California who provided a positive initial response to their usage. The Department of Defense released footage of the exercises, which shows Marines shooting at the robotic targets, who react to gunshot ‘wounds’ by tipping their ‘body’ at an angle.
Certainly not as cheap as a few pieces of paper down at the firing range, however, these robots show a new way of training the next generation of soldiers to be more effective against moving targets. Let’s just hope they don’t take it personally or we could be facing a robot uprising against bots able to take hundreds of shots and keep going.
The development of self-driving cars promises to offer consumers an exciting future, now, regulators in the sprawling metropolis known as California have published draft proposals aimed at paving the way for consumers to legally use self-driving cars on the road.
Included within the recommendations from the Department of Motor Vehicles is the stipulation that a fully licensed human driver must be present behind the wheel in case the technology fails or decides to drive into the nearest hedge. I understand the fully licensed bit, but I would have thought the whole point of a self-driving car is for people to easily travel from A – B in the car. The new regulations also stipulate that users must undergo “special training” and manufacturers must monitor the cars use.
Technology giant Google has experimented to the point whereby a vehicle does not even need a steering wheel or pedals, this sounds impressive, albeit slightly dangerous, for the foreseeable future at least. So much so that the DMV recommends all self-driving vehicles to be equipped with traditional controls. The draft regulations also provide requirements for self-driving cars to be protected from cyber attacks; it will be interesting to see how manufacturers respond to this considering very little is immune from hacks in the digital age.
Many fans and experts alike envisage a future whereby a driving licence is obsolete and even non-drivers are able to metaphorically drive, sounds good until you factor in the many issues including longer traffic jams as more people are able to use a vehicle, only time will tell as to the path with which this new breed of tech will follow.
GTC 2015: For the most part, GTC has already been a huge event for NVIDIA with the unveiling of the new TITAN X graphics card to the market but while this is great for the average consumer, NVIDIA have a lot more to offer than just their GeForce segment and one aspect of this is deep learning, and actually is a segment from within their company that crosses over into GeForce and other more industrial sectors that NVIDIA have to offer.
Jen-Hsun Huang (CEO and co-founder of NVIDIA) took to the stage at NVIDIA GTC 2015 to talk through the theme of the event this year and deep learning was at the core.
You can see part 1 of the video here:
As you can see from the video, Jen-Hsun went through the various milestones of the company last year including GeForce, Shield, Tegra, enterprise graphics and of course what NVIDIA are doing from within the car industry.
A big highlight was what the new TITAN X GPU can do in comparison to other offerings on the market. A comparison of a 16-core Xeon CPU, original TITAN, TITAN Black and the newest TITAN X were shown training AlexNet and while the TITAN and TITAN Black managed to improve on what the Xeon CPU could do by cutting down the time it takes to train AlexNet, the new TITAN X dramatically improved even on that. This sees the AlexNet training take just 3 days opposed to the 43 days that the Xeon takes showing that NVIDIA are focussing on more than just gaming.
A new piece of software for the Windows version of Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect peripheral could be used to teach cops how to deal with confrontational situations.
The system uses MILO Range, an “interactive use of force, tactical judgement training, and firearms training system”, using video footage to simulate hostile situations, to which officers can respond to verbally, with a baton, a pistol, or just some sweet fight moves (above).