Monthly Archives: March 2020

BMW new eye-tracking system

Image result for bmw eye tracking

Recently, BMW has been working on reducing the risk of a car accident and the have come up with a brilliant idea – a device mounted in the vehicle that tracks driver’s eyes to make sure that he is focused on the road.

The device has an infrared camera that is constantly monitoring the eyes of the person sitting behind the wheel. When it notices, that the driver got distracted from being focused on the road, it quickly indicates to look back on the road by lighting a red diode on the steering which is followed by a gentle chime. But if the device sees no interaction from the driver, it could even perform an emergency stop. In case of a crash, the camera records the last couple of seconds to make the investigation about the crash easier.

Engineers of this invention have thought everything through – even if you are wearing glasses, polarized sunglasses etc., the device is still going to be able to monitor where you look.

Actually, I’m starting to feel a bit invigilated.. but BMW claims, that “BMW’s approach to self-driving systems is not about taking away the driving experience, but augmenting it with technology, X5 product manager Michael Baxley told Automotive News.” – fair enough, I guess that time is going to answer this question.

The Bose automotive suspension


I bet that none of you has heard about the Bose suspension, even if you are a person who is interested in cars and consider yourself a car enthusiast. Bose brand is well known for the speakers and headphones they produce, but these products are not the only stuff that Bose is working on.

Normally, the car is suspended on traditional metal springs or in some cases, on-air bellows (commonly known as pneumatic suspension). But Bose suspension is something totally different from what we’ve seen so far – it’s constantly monitoring the road with its sensors and cameras to transmit the signal to engines mounted it the suspension.

Image result for bose suspension

There are no shock absorbers in this case because the little motors do all the work on their own (rebound and damping). In a human language, it generally means that with such a revolutionary suspension, while driving a car, you won’t feel any potholes. The car would be floating like a boat, just take a look at the short movie clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ0ljaqeZ1g

Unfortunately, the Bose suspension project died, because the whole system was too heavy, too expensive and had poor maintenance. It’s a shame, because yet no car is close to being so comfortable and hi-tech, not even a Rolls-Royce.

But rumour has it, that Audi car company is working now on improving the suspension in their flagship models to work in a similar way as the setup mentioned above, fingers crossed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KPYIaks1UY

TerraSentia & Agriculture

Girish Chowdhary, an agricultural engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented the AI-based project. It is a robot, named TerraSentia, which resembled an improved version of a lawn mower, with all-terrain wheels and a high-resolution camera on each side.

 

TerraSentia’s way of navigating is similar to the one used by self-driving cars. The robot sends out thousands of laser pulses in order to scan its environment

“It’s going to measure the height of each plant,” Dr. Chowdhary said.

Of course, it would do that and more. The robot is made to make the most detailed portrait possible of a field, beginning with the size and health of the plants to the number and quality of ears each corn plant will produce by the end of the season, so that agronomists can breed even better crops in the future.

“The idea is that robots can automate the phenotyping process and make these measurements more reliable,” Dr. Chowdhary said. Thanks to that, farmers will be able to optimize the yield of farms much more efficiently than ever before.

Agriculture has always endeavored to be as much automized as possible. Nowadays, current farm equipment is regularly outfitted with sensors that use machine learning and robotics to identify weeds and calculate the amount of herbicide that is needed to be sprayed or to detect and pick strawberries.

Sowing a niche

It is now a global thing that demands on agriculture are rising. According to the United Nations, the human population is expected to rise to 11.2 billion by 2100. To feed the whole population, with less land, fewer resources and climate change problems – farmers will have to develop their technological intelligence.

“There’s definitely a niche for this kind of robot,” said Neil Hausmann, who oversees research and development at Corteva. “It provides standardized, objective data that we use to make a lot of our decisions. We use it in breeding and product advancement, in deciding which product is the best, which ones to move forward and which ones will have the right characteristics for growers in different parts of the country.”

There is no need for farmers to have special expertise to operate the TerraSentia. It is almost fully autonomous. The TerraSentia has already been tested in a wide variety of fields, including corn, soybean, sorghum, cotton, wheat, tomatoes, strawberries, citrus crops, apple orchards, almond farms and vineyards.