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August 11, 2017

Robotics / AI – SciPol Weekly, August 5 – August 11

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Marketplace – President Trump's security team could soon include drones

During President Trump's 17-day working vacation at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, this month, his security team will be testing to see how drones could protect and serve. It's the first known example of a drone being deployed for the president's personal security staff. Any data recorded will be erased or overwritten within 30 days.

Mashable – China's DJI drones, apps now prohibited for any use by the U.S. Army

The U.S. army just kicked one of the biggest drone makers on the planet out of its barracks, all in the name of security. The maker of the drones in question: China's DJI (also known as SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd.). An Aug. 2 U.S. Army memo obtained by sUAS News and later verified by Reuters advises that all service members "cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media and secure equipment for follow-on direction."

Readwrite – First U.S.-Canada border self-driving test to take place soon

The first autonomous border crossing is set to take place in the next few months. Auto manufacturer Continental and vehicle supplier Magna plan to send two self-driving vehicles from southeastern Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario, according to Engadget. Parts of the route will be handled by human drivers, but the team hope most of it to be autonomous. The switch from U.S. to Canadian road signs, speed limits, and driving peculiarities will be a difficult transition for a self-driving vehicle, which normally drives in the same city for months.


CNET – Foxconn seeks to build self-driving car R&D site in Michigan

Foxconn Technology Group, best known as an iPhone manufacturer, said it's planning a "multi-billion dollar" R&D facility in Michigan dedicated to developing self-driving cars, South China Morning Post reported Sunday. The announcement came just days after the company said it will build a $10 billion facility in Wisconsin that will make LCD displays and could generate as many as 13,000 jobs. 

Engadget – Insurers increasingly use apps and drones instead of agents

Hobbyists aren't the only ones using the phone and drone cameras to explore the world in new ways, as insurance companies are increasingly opting for "virtual" or "touchless" handling of claims. The Wall Street Journal cites the 2017 Future of Claims Study survey by LexisNexis Risk Solutions (PDF) which found that 38 percent of insurers don't send employees out for physical inspections in at least some situations. One story mentioned says that Lemonade Insurance settled and paid out a claim in just three seconds using the AI bot connected to its app.

Forbes – Perspective: Don't Worry About The Robot Jobstealers, The US Economy Is Too Vibrant For That

We're continually being told that the robots are about to steal all our jobs and thus, aiee! something, something, what a disaster. This isn't true for two entirely different reasons, the first being that machines have been stealing our jobs for 250 years now and we do still seem to be at something like full employment. The second is that it's all just not going to happen fast enough for us to really even realise that it's happening.

The Hill – Report: Tesla developing self-driving electric truck

Tesla Inc. is developing self-driving trucking technology that may be ready to test soon, according to Reuters. The auto company is reportedly moving closer to testing a prototype for a long-haul, electric semi-truck that will be able to drive itself and "platoon," or travel closely together with other autonomous vehicles at high speeds.


Car and Driver – Researchers Find a Malicious Way to Meddle with Autonomous Cars

While automakers focus on defending the systems in their cars against hackers, there may be other ways for the malicious to mess with self-driving cars. Security researchers at the University of Washington have shown they can get computer vision systems to misidentify road signs using nothing more than stickers made on a home printer.