Driverless Bikes Are Now A Thing Too

The term driverless isn’t anything new and it is probably most known in relation to cars and Google’s self-driving car project that’s been going on for years now. But we’ve also heard of driverless lorries coming to the UK, driverless pods in London, and even driverless Formula E racing as well as oversized quad-copters for personal usage, but driverless bicycles is one I haven’t heard of before.

The driverless bike, or i-Bike as it has been named, is the brainchild of Ayush Pandey and Subhamoy Mahajan, two students from IIT Kharagpur, India. The whole idea started with an idea that is as noble as the result is brilliant: The two wanted to build a simple vehicle that could help disabled people get more out of life by increasing their freedom. Now that’s an idea we all can get behind.

The i-Bike has autonomous steering, brakes, driving, and balancing mechanisms that can work completely on their own as well as aids to just help you with the part that might be troublesome for you.

Just riding a bicycle wasn’t the only problem the students tried to solve, parking and retrieving a bike can be equally challenging for a disabled person as bicycle locations by default rarely have much in disability friendliness. You wouldn’t expect them to ride a bicycle, so it isn’t out of bad intentions.

“We saw some differently abled people who could ride bicycles but had to face many problems when trying to take their bikes out from the parking space, as most such spaces are not disabled friendly. To tackle this problem we started working to make a bicycle that would be controlled wirelessly,” says Ayush, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student

You can ride the i-Bike manually or you can get help from the dual locomotion technology. The autonomous driving is handled with the help of GPS as well as lasers and sonar based sensors to avoid obstacles in its path. The destination is set by an Android app that sends an SMS to the i-Bike. Upon receiving this, it will start its journey.

None of the techniques used is new as such, but this combination of them is awesome. It has a unique and affordable software architecture that enables it to follow specialised bicycle lanes as they are found in many countries already. It also offers live tracking and wireless control mechanism on top of all that.

What started as a team of two is now comprised of 13 undergraduate students from various departments of IIT Kharagpur, all working together and making up the i-Bike team. Since the project was started back in October 2014, the team has won several awards, most recently the innovation challenge organised by KPIT Technologies where they won first prize.

The trainer wheels that have been used for balancing can easily be retracted by a switch and the same goes for the steering aids that also can be turned on and off by the flick of a switch.

The i-Bike could solve many problems in urban cities and crowded spaces. Whether you want to prevent theft by sending you bike home, retrieve it where ever you are in order to get home, or just want to send it on a cruise of its own, the i-Bike can do it. It would also allow new options for bicycle sharing centres where you could rent a bike, drive where you need to go, and then send it back home again on its own. The same way you could order it back via your smartphone no matter where you are located, and you won’t even have to pedal yourself.

Once the team has the patent, they plan to collaborate with companies willing to start bicycle sharing centres in India – and hopefully this kind of technology will make it to the rest of the world too.

Lexus Release More Footage of Their Real and Rideable Hoverboard

Marty McFly would be so proud of the people from Lexus, that is if he was a real person. Back to the Future 2 told us that there would be rideable hoverboards in 2015 and they were spot on. We’ve seen three different ones so far, but Lexus version is the most impressive to date. Other than Lexus’ hoverboard, there were the Hendo Hoverboard and the Leafblower build hoverboard – both work, but in a limited fashion.

Up until now Lexus had only teased us with a very short video that barely showed the board itself and no riding action at all, but all that has changed with the new video released yesterday. It works and it works on all surfaces as demonstrated by skating over a small pond. Again, Marty would be proud of the Lexus engineers.

The sad part is that we most likely never will be able to ride it ourselves, but we can dream and we can see that it is possible to create it. “There is no such thing as impossible, it’s just a matter of figuring out how,” said Haruhiko Tanahashi, chief engineer at Lexus.

There’s also something to laugh at as the riders aren’t the most skillful and fall on their rear a few times. It’s all in good fun and it is one of those videos that can put a smile on your face. So enjoy this footage of the first real rideable hoverboard Anno 2015.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwSwZ2Y0Ops

GSync Achieved on a Display without GSync Module

A couple of weeks ago an ASUS support rep accidentally leaked an alpha build of the Nvidia mobile GPU driver, build version 346.87. The link was quickly removed again, but not before some people had downloaded it. The people over at PC Perspective got their hands on the driver and set it up for a test on their ASUS G751 for a row of testings and the results are somewhat surprising.

The first thing they were greeted with upon installation was a popup telling them that they had a G-Sync display connected – on a laptop that doesn’t have one. What could just be an erroneous popup from an alpha driver, had to be investigated further.

So benchmarks were run, games were played and the results were studied. Verdict, at high FPS mode the display performed like a GSync enabled monitor would, but at lower FPS it had a little trouble at times. The investigation continued as the monitor could have unused functions built-in ahead of the official mobile GSync release. The gaming laptop was taken apart, but nothing unusual could be found.

This is very interesting and somewhat suggests that either the GSync module isn’t needed at all, or that Nvidia has found ways similar to FreeSync to enable it without – for future products. Whichever is true is pure speculation, but interesting.

Thanks to PC Perspective for providing us with this information