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Brit Watchkeeper drone fell in the sea because blocked sensor made algorithms flip out

A British Army Watchkeeper drone stalled itself and crashed into the sea on a bad weather flight test, military investigators have said – though most of the wreckage was never found.

The unmanned aircraft, tail number WK042, fell from the sky in February 2017 while trialling a new ice detection system. The drone was being flown from West Wales Airport, formerly known as Aberporth Airfield, by 47 Regiment Royal Artillery.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/04/15/watchkeeper_drone_crash_wk042_moisture_blocked_pitot/

Google’s Wing drones approved to make public deliveries in Australia

Wing, the drone delivery company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, is launching its first public drone delivery service in Canberra, Australia after the country’s aviation authority granted it regulatory approval. Around 100 homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston, and Franklin will initially have access to the service, but in the coming months the company plans to expand it to homes in Harrison and Gungahlin.

The service works by partnering with local businesses including coffee shops and pharmacies to deliver their products “in minutes.” Wing’s regulatory approval comes with restrictions. Drones will not be allowed to fly over main roads, they will only be allowed to fly between 7am and 8pm on Monday to Friday (or between 8am and 8pm on Sundays), and they will be restricted from flying too close to people. Customers in eligible homes will also be given a safety briefing about interacting with the drones.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-04-robots-commit-wrongdoing-people-incorrectly.html

Walmart doubles down on robots to shift labor costs: “We’re going big”

The robots are coming for Walmart workers’ jobs, with the retail giant saying it plans to add almost 4,000 robots to its stores and facilities as it seeks to remove human workers from routine tasks like scrubbing floors. 

The company said the plan is part of a goal to shift human workers to customer-service roles, such as “engaging with customers,” according to a blog post. The new robots include the “Auto-C,” which polishes floors, and the FAST Unloader, which scans and sorts items unloaded from delivery trucks. 

The investment in automation comes as the retail giant has pledged to boost worker wages, pledging $2.7 billion over two years to boost pay as well as training and education. Robots, while requiring an initial investment, promise lower labor costs because they don’t require benefits, while they can often perform the same job in much less time than a human worker. Walmart said the Auto-C will replace a store worker who typically spent two hours polishing floors with a scrubbing machine.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/robots-in-walmart-doubles-down-on-robots-to-shift-labor-costs-were-going-big/

When robots commit wrongdoing, people may incorrectly assign the blame

Last year, a self-driven car struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The woman’s family is now suing Arizona and the city of Tempe for negligence. But, in an article published on April 5 in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, cognitive and computer scientists ask at what point people will begin to hold self-driven vehicles or other robots responsible for their own actions—and whether blaming them for wrongdoing will be justified.

“We’re on the verge of a technological and social revolution in which autonomous machines will replace humans in the workplace, on the roads, and in our homes,” says Yochanan Bigman of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “When these robots inevitably do something to harm humans, how will people react? We need to figure this out now, while regulations and laws are still being formed.”

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-04-robots-commit-wrongdoing-people-incorrectly.html

10 Technologies That Are Changing the World

Futurists of the 1950s and ’60s predicted that by the 2000s, flying cars and airborne robots would be a part of our everyday lives. Instead, we live in a world dominated by live streaming, smartphones and social networks.

While those forecasters didn’t quite get the timing right, they got the technology right. Today, we are at the brink of another technological boom. This time, technologies like self-driving vehicles and robot assistants are under development. Soon, these and the other exciting technologies described below will go mainstream, changing the world in the process.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/310204

High School robotics team builds electric wheelchair for 2-year-old whose family couldn’t afford one

A high school robotics team from Minnesota built its greatest creation yet, one that has changed a 2-year-old boy’s life. Farmington Public Schools’ “Rogue Robotics Team” made an electric wheelchair for a toddler named Cillian Jackson. Cillian has a rare genetic condition that affects his mobility. Similar chairs can cost up to $20,000 and his parents’ insurance didn’t cover it. 

So the family reached out to the Rogue Robotics Team. The group of high school students received help from the University of Delaware’s GoBabyGo program, which creates custom vehicles for children with limited mobility. GoBabyGo can create a mobility device that looks like a race car or a Disney princess-mobile.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/high-school-robotics-team-builds-electric-wheelchair-for-2-year-old-whose-family-couldnt-afford-one/