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Elon Musk: We Are One Year Away From Fully Autonomous, Self-Driving Cars

Elon Musk says we are essentially within a year of fully autonomous cars being a reality.

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Elon Musk: We Are One Year Away From Fully Autonomous, Self-Driving Cars
Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) – Would you entrust your life to a car’s algorithmic intelligence? Would you curl up in the backseat and take a nap while your vehicle navigates hectic freeway traffic or busy intersections? Would you let your car be the designated driver while you have a night out on the town?

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, we are essentially within a year of such technology existing, though he adds the caveat that it will likely take longer before the system is fully deployed and adopted.

Earlier this month, Musk announced the advance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. He has since elaborated during several podcast interviews.

To Cathie Wood and Tasha Keeney of ARK Invest in a podcast, he stated: 

“I think we will be feature complete — full self-driving — this year. Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year.”

Musk added that you can expect to be able to take a nap behind the wheel if you want.

“My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year.”

Such technology would be a first-of-its-kind level 5 autonomous vehicle in which the car capable of handling all driver functions without human assistance or supervision.

Musk acknowledges that it is a difficult task. Currently, Tesla offers an Enhanced Autopilot feature that “guides a car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting and making lane changes, navigating highway interchanges, and taking exits.”

“On a development level, [there is] no problem recognizing stop signs and traffic lights,” Musk has said. “But you do get ambiguity in some complex intersections with traffic lights. Like, which one’s the right light to focus on? Even if you’re a person, it’s not always clear. So that’s what we’re working on there.”

Technology experts and economists, citing multiple studies, suggest self-driving cars, or automated vehicles (AVs), will have massive beneficial effects on cities and human society.

AVs will free up an additional 50 minutes a day for human users, accumulating to an extra billion hours of productivity around the world. Perhaps even more importantly, AVs will dramatically reduce car accident fatalities (by up to 90% of the annual 1.2 million worldwide deaths), which will also save $190 billion in the U.S. alone.

AVs will also transform cities, leading to an 80% reduction in the overall number of vehicles, which will drastically reduce traffic congestion, free up new land, and lead to an overall reduction of pollution.

Tesla is currently in an AV race with other companies developing self-driving cars, including Waymo, Uber, Lyft, and traditional automakers. In 2018, Alphabet’s Waymo launched its robo-taxi service, though it was not fully autonomous.

AVs are expected to simultaneously usher in a new gold rush of consumer robotics and machine learning, including remote advanced sensing, hyperprecise positioning/GPS, image recognition, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) development.

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Innovation

Man Designs An Off-Road “Wheelchair” So That His Wife Can Go Places She Never Imagined

In hopes of getting his wife to see more, Zack Nelson created a hybrid wheel chair so she could go places she could not before.

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Photo Credit: Zacks Jerryrig

In the USA alone, there are around 2.7 million people who are bound to a wheelchair. Most of us take our abled bodies for granted at times. We don’t think twice when we climb stairs, or go for a walk in nature.

Meet Cambry, for almost all her adult life she has been wheelchair bound, unable to get around like her able-bodied friends, she’s been restricted to the pavement.

In hopes of getting Cambry to see more and be less restricted, her boyfriend at the time, Zack Nelson, created a hybrid wheel chair so she could go places she could not before. He merged two electric bikes and put a seat in the center. The best part was, it worked, and Cambry was able to experience a new found freedom thanks to the awesome creation Zack made for her.

The new spliced bike creation allowed Cambry to tackle obstacles that would normally be impossible in a regular wheelchair, and she could go on for miles without her shoulders hurting from pushing herself along.

It’s a year later now, and Cambry and Zack are not only married, but they have begun mass producing the “Not-a-Wheelchair” – the amazing off road vehicle has taken a year to perfect.

Choosing an adaptive off roader for disabled people doesn’t leave you with many options, the couple have said. They can cost as much as a regular car or are just insanely slow. Zack and Cambry came up with their design which is light and quick and comes with a long range, but it was not all easy and smooth sailing. Cambry explained:

“The toughest challenge when developing ‘Not-A-Wheelchair’ is the price. We wanted to create something that is affordable for everyone. Finding quality components, and a simple enough design at the cheapest price possible took quite a bit of time. But I think we have something now that everyone will be able to enjoy, at a fraction of the cost of other ‘off-road wheelchairs’ currently on the market.”

‘Not-a-Wheelchair’ is definitely not an indoor machine, so Cambry still uses her normal wheelchair for inside their home but any time she and Zack go to the park, or on a hike, she jumps in The Rig. “It’s silent, which means that we can all still talk and chat while she rides next to the group,” her husband explained.

During these trips, ‘Not-a-Wheelchair’ really showed what it’s capable of. “We have taken The Rig to Hawaii twice for testing. The bike has to be shipped with a freight company before we go, but we ship The Rig about a week before we fly out ourselves, and it’s waiting there for us when we arrive. All this travel was before COVID was a thing. Luckily, we also live near mountains and snow with long wide flat trails to try the bike out on.”

More info: notawheelchair.com | YouTube

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Bionic Eyes That ‘Surpass Biological Eyesight’ And Have Night-Vision Are Coming Soon

An innovation in bionic eyes is in development that could not only restore vision but actually surpass biological eyesight.

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Bionic Eyes That ‘Surpass Biological Eyesight’ And Have Night-Vision Are Coming Soon
Photo Credit: BBC

(TMU) – Will people with eyesight loss soon view the world through bionic vision? A new proof-of-concept biomimetic eye suggests the answer is ‘yes.’ Scientists and researchers say a new bionic eye innovation is in development that could not only restore vision but may actually surpass the optical sensitivity of biological eyesight.

The key, according to new research published in the journal Nature, is perovskite, a conductive, light-sensitive material commonly used in solar cells.

Researchers used perovskite to build tiny nanowire sensors occupying a curved aluminum oxide membrane, which collectively act as a 3-dimensional artificial retina. The nanowire sensors, several thousandths of a millimetre in length, simulate the photoreceptor cells found in organic human eyeballs.

Study co-author Zhiyong Fan says that for this proof-of-concept phase, the research team tested the visual information gathered from the bionic eye by using wires to replicate the brain’s visual cortex and then uploading that data to a computer.

Because of the extreme sensitivity of the nanowires, the bionic eye is quicker to react to light (processing 800-nanometer wavelengths) than an actual human eye. Researchers believe it is likely to also be more effective at image resolution and capable of night-vision.

According to Fan, the biomimetic eye will eventually surpass the range of vision of an average biological human eye:

“One more functional difference is that [the] human eye can only see optical wavelength range from 400 to 700 nm [nanometers]. However our current artificial eye can already respond to 200 nm ~ 800 nm wavelength range. In the future, if we choose to use a narrow bandgap semiconductor as photosensing material to build our artificial retina, then infrared light will be visible to the artificial eye.”

Incredibly, Fan added, “A human user of the artificial eye will gain night vision capability.”

The research team included scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, UC Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Human eyes operate like cameras, utilizing a single lens that affords us visual abilities 100 times better than insects, whose eyesight involves a compound of many tiny lenses translating light. Researchers sought to mimic this natural formula, even simulating the vitreous humour in a biological human eye with a “gel-like ionic liquid” that conducts energy into the artificial retina.

“Biological eyes are arguably the most important sensing organ for most of the animals on this planet. In fact, our brains acquire more than 80% of information about our surroundings via our eyes,” the researchers write in their paper.

“Particularly, the domed shape of the retina has the merit of reducing the complexity of optical systems by directly compensating the aberration from the curved focal plane. Mimicking human eyes, artificial vision systems are just as essential in autonomous technologies such as robotics.”

Interfacing with the human visual system still presents a challenge to this technology. Nevertheless, some scientists believe we’re no more than 10 years away from deploying bionic eyes. Combined with Elon Musk’s “neural lace” brain-AI merging technology, which he claims is only 4-5 years off, the 2030s could be a wild decade.

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Italian Engineer’s Brilliant 3D-Printer Hack Can Convert Scuba Gear Into Ventilator Masks

There is currently a worldwide shortage of ventilators.

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Mummified Woman Found Buried In Siberia Wearing Foal-Skin Stockings And Copper Cross
Photo Credit: Isinnova

An Italian 3D-printer company has devised a method to turn snorkelling masks into ventilator masks, which will be of huge benefit to coronavirus patients.

COVID-19 affects people’s respiratory systems and there is currently a worldwide shortage of ventilators. But in this time of crisis, various companies have been prepared to diverge from their usual business in order to try and save lives.

Louis Vuitton have for example been assisting with hand sanitizer. Car manufactures are ready to assist with building ventilators.

Now, an Italian company called Isinnova are at the forefront of a revolution to produce 3D ventilators on a large scale. Isinnova have already developed a 3D-printed valve for a Northern Italian hospital in Brescia.

Company founder and CEO Cristian Fracassi took a 3D-printer to the hospital and were able to design and produce the valves in just a few hours. The valves were needed for the respiratory machines which help patients to breathe.

Other companies have succeeded in converting swimming masks into protective PPE masks (standard protective face masks).

Isinnova is now taking things a step further as they team up with a French snorkelling mask company called Decathlon.

Using 3D-printer technology, a new component has been designed which will connect the mask to the ventilator machine.

The Isinnova website provided some background to how it all came about:

“Doctor Favero [head physician of the Gardone Valtrompia Hospital], shared with us an idea to fix the possible shortage of hospital C-PAP masks for sub-intensive therapy. Which is emerging as a concrete problem linked to the spread of Covid-19. It’s the construction of an emergency ventilator mask, realized by adjusting a snorkelling mask already available on the market.”

Tests Have Been Successful

The prototype 3D ventilator mask was tested in Chiari Hospital and the hospitals were reported to be ‘enthusiastic’ about the results.

The mask and its link to the respirator are not yet authorized, but patients are still able to sign declarations to use such uncertified biomedical devices.

Isinnova also stated that, they will allow the patent for the invention to remain free to use.

Their computer files will also be publicly shared so that other 3D-printer companies can manufacture the ventilator masks.

By Anthony McLennan | TruthTheory.com | Republished with permission.

The views in this article may not reflect editorial policy of Collective Spark.

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Innovation

A European Electric Car That Charges Itself With Sunlight Can Now Be Reserved For A 2021 Delivery

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A European Electric Car That Charges Itself With Sunlight Can Now Be Reserved For A 2021 Delivery
Photo Credit: Lightyear

A Dutch company from Eindhoven has released a prototype car that has already sold 100 orders to be filled in 2021. What’s special about the car is that it is completely electric as well as solar powered. The prototype car actually won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, and it represents the world’s very first long-range solar car. It’s a four passenger vehicle and it’s called Lightyear One.

According to the company, the car will get to a range of approximately 725 km, and 400 km in the winter at highway speeds with heating on. This is truly amazing, and it represents what humans have had the ability to do for a number of years. Just imagine if every single car was electric and solar powered? You would never need to charge your car; it would always be self-charging. It completely takes conventional charging and gas out of the equation, which is amazing.

The car is now available for reservation, with the first deliveries set to begin next year within the European Union. Lease options are restricted to the Netherlands.

We’ve always talked about how humanity has many of the solutions to our problems. Often times, the issue isn’t with finding solutions to the world’s problems, it’s with actually implementing them. The systems and all of the red tape and corruption that take place have prevented us from moving forward. Electric and solar technology with regards to transportation could have been implemented a very long time ago, but again, the problem is not with having the solution, it’s with implementation. This problem has plagued our world for a very long time, and it’s something we need to continue to be vocal about.

Although this particular car can be charged using the sun, it also has the option to be plugged into a power outlet. It can charge up to 400 km at night from a normal household electrical outlet.

Some other points about the car include:

  • The car is constructed from high-tech materials to have the lowest weight possible while maintaining stringent passenger safety.
  • The roof and hood are comprised of five square meters of integrated solar cells in safety glass so strong that a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing dents.
  • Lightyear One is propelled by four independently driven wheels, so no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.
  • In addition to solar power, Lightyear One can be charged at a (fast) charging station or a regular outlet.
  • Crash testing has yet to be undertaken, but they’re looking forward to crashing one “for science.”

According to the company’s website:

The optimized aerodynamics and design mean that a fully-charged battery has a range of up to 800km, more than you need to go from Amsterdam to Paris. The integrated solar cells of the 5 m2 hood and roof mean that Lightyear One charges up to 12km/h as it goes. The already superior range continues to extend with every hour of sunlight. So what starts as a drive from Lisbon to Madrid can continue on to Valencia or Barcelona without stopping for anything but food.

Unfortunately, and as expected, the car is unaffordable for most people. Buyers can reserve one of the 500 electric vehicles for a reservation fee of €4000 on their website  as well as find out more information by contacting the company directly with any inquiries. The first deliveries of the car are expected in 2021.

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is to ask the question: Why aren’t all cars solar powered and electric? Does humanity have the potential, resources and technology to provide all citizens with ‘abundance’ when it comes to food, shelter and transportation? If we have the potential and the resources, what is it that stops us from doing so? If an electric car was invented decades ago, why are we still driving around in cars that use gas? What’s REALLY going on here on planet Earth?

This article (A European Electric Car That Charges Itself With Sunlight Can Now Be Reserved For A 2021 Delivery) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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