IEEE University of Lahore

IEEE
May 11th, 2019

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

Nîmes Robotics Festival – May 17-19, 2019 – Nîmes, France
Isolierband Robotics Competition – May 19, 2019 – Israel
ICRA 2019 – May 20-24, 2019 – Montreal, Canada
URC 2019 – May 30-1, 2019 – Hanksville, Utah, USA
2nd Annual Robotics Summit & Expo – June 4-6, 2019 – Boston, Mass., USA
ICUAS 2019 – June 11-14, 2019 – Atlanta, Ga., USA
Energy Drone Coalition Summit – June 12-13, 2019 – Woodlands, Texas, USA
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics – June 23-26, 2019 – London, U.K.
ETH Robotics Summer School – June 27-1, 2019 – Zurich, Switzerland
MARSS 2019 – July 1-5, 2019 – Helsinki, Finland

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.



May 11th, 2019

Broadband chokes for Bias Tee applications: how to successfully apply a DC bias onto an RF line

Numerical modeling allows for better design and optimization of batteries and battery systems.

This white paper illustrates how simulation is a necessary tool to understand, optimize, control, and design batteries and battery systems.


May 10th, 2019

IEEE Spectrum reporters traveled across East Africa with their own drones and 360 video cameras to capture new perspectives on the growing drone industry

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Tech Expedition:

East Africa’s Big Bet On Drones

Supported by the IEEE Foundation

IEEE Spectrum reporters traveled across East Africa with their own drones and 360 video cameras to capture new perspectives on the growing drone industry. In Rwanda and Tanzania, they visited companies and met entrepreneurs who are setting an example for the rest of the world.


May 10th, 2019

Learn about the work that went into writing the ‘Ethically Aligned Design’ report

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THE INSTITUTEThe challenges of ethical development and the deployment of autonomous and intelligent systems (A/IS) are so broad and complex that no one organization could possibly facilitate all the necessary conversations or tangible outputs. IEEE is one of several organizations around the world working in a network-of-networks effort to increase understanding of the evolving A/IS domain.

And yet, the IEEE document Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being With Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, First Edition (EAD1e)” is unique. Produced by an open, global community of the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, EAD1e is designed for and by academics, engineers, policymakers, developers, and users to ensure that A/IS align with explicitly formulated human values around human rights, well-being and environmental sustainability. EAD1e sets forth scientific analysis and resources, high-level principles, and actionable recommendations to provide guidance for standards, certification, regulation, and legislation.

Many A/IS principles released in the past few years have been geographically focused (and understandably so, given that they are intended for citizens within a particular region), but EAD1e is global in both its process and scope. The IEEE initiative involves more than 2,000 participants from around the world, representing tremendous diversity of professional disciplines. Consequently, the document doesn’t present a framework based on Western ethics only; it looks at Shinto ethics, Ubuntu ethics, and others. The authors drew on more than 3,000 years of scientific and faith-based ethics systems, including secular philosophical traditions, to address human morality in the digital age.

Another important way that EAD1e is different is that it was fundamentally a bottom-up creation. The committees that drafted the work were—and continue to be—open to anyone to join. Moreover, they chose the topics they would address. So, for example, participants in the global and multidisciplinary committee that developed the A/IS for Sustainable Development chapter—from the business community, academics in multiple fields, robotics engineers and development practitioners—were drawn specifically to the EAD1e effort to provide ethical guidance for A/IS that benefit humanity by advancing sustainable development.

IDENTIFYING ISSUES, FINDING PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS

The document’s sustainable-development chapter has as its central premise that, to be ethical, AI applications must benefit humanity:

A/IS offer unique and impactful opportunities as well as risks both to people living in high-income countries (HIC) and in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The scaling and use of A/IS represent a genuine opportunity across the globe to provide individuals and communities—be they rural, semi-urban, or urban—with the means to satisfy their needs and develop their full potential, with greater autonomy and choice. A/IS will potentially disrupt economic, social, and political relationships and interactions at many levels. Those disruptions could provide an historical opportunity to reset those relationships in order to distribute power and wealth more equitably and thus promote social justice. They could also leverage quality and better standards of life and protect people’s dignity, while maintaining cultural diversity and protecting the environment.

The chapter has five sections, each providing background information and identifying issues, and each offering actionable recommendations. For example, the first section, A/IS in Service to Sustainable Development for All, identifies an issue that current A/IS roadmaps “are not aligned with or guided by their impact in the most important challenges of humanity,” as defined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Our committee could have spent all our discussion time defining what constitutes “benefit to humanity.” Instead, we chose the U.N. goals because every country had the chance to participate in their development—via government, the private sector, youth groups, and other organizations—and answer the question, “What is the future we want?” The goals were the result of a multiyear process and multi-stakeholder dialogue, all structured around human well-being, and ultimately adopted in the U.N. General Assembly by 193 countries.

The global participatory process and the countries’ almost universal adoption in 2015 made the SDGs a suitable proxy for measuring A/IS’ benefit to humanity. A key consideration of the SDG agenda is that pursuit of the goals should “leave no one behind.” The committee was aware that A/IS have the power to accelerate or reduce global inequality, and it developed its recommendations to further the contribution the technology can make to improve the lives of people in LMIC, as much as those in HIC.

EAD1e’s sustainable-development chapter includes several actionable recommendations such as identifying and promoting A/IS technologies that have the most relevance to the SDGs (such as big data for agriculture and medical telediagnosis and geographic information systems for emergency planning and disease monitoring); analyzing and proposing strategies for publicly providing Internet access for all (as a means of diminishing the gap in potential benefit of A/IS to humanity, particularly between urban and rural populations); researching sustainable energy to power A/IS’ computational capacity, and integrating the SDGs into the core of private-sector business strategies and key performance indicators.

Among other issues receiving comprehensive treatment in the chapter are the impact of A/IS on workers and the job market, education, social relations, and culture,  with recommendations to facilitate a positive impact.

FROM PRINCIPLES TO PRACTICE

The sustainable-development chapter of EAD1e is optimistic about the potential that A/IS have to benefit humanity and advance the SDGs—and hopefully manage the risks.

The endeavor of creating the document was an optimistic one, predicated on the hope that everyone involved in producing A/IS applications will be motivated to do so in an ethical way that respects human rights and benefits humanity. The document’s human-centric, technology-for-humanity approach is intended to inspire academics, engineers, policymakers, developers, and users around the world to advance ethical implementation of A/IS from principles to practice.

One of the reasons I am optimistic is because I learned that, in working on EAD1e, so much of what the SDGs are about is already inspiring designers of many nascent technologies.

Being part of the document’s development was an amazing opportunity to interact with thoughtful professionals, each of whom, from their diverse perspectives, contributed innovative ideas in our shared effort to help shape an ethical future for A/IS and sustainable development. I’m hopeful that EAD1e will ignite further inspiration for ethical applications that advance humankind.

Elizabeth D. Gibbons chairs the A/IS for Sustainable Development Committee for Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being With Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, First Edition (EAD1e),” which can be downloaded at no charge She is a senior fellow and director of the Child Protection Certificate Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, part of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


May 9th, 2019

Be able to discover & analyze EMI in a more systematic & methodical approach to solve your problems.

In our free step-by-step guide, we break down the whole EMI design test process into “Locate”, “Capture”, and “Analyze”. Download & learn more.

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May 9th, 2019

Come along for the ride as drones soar over the farms and schools of Tanzania

With 360-degree video, IEEE Spectrum puts you aboard drones that are flying high above the Tanzanian landscape: You’ll ride along as drones soar above farms, towns, and the blue expanse of Lake Victoria. You’ll also meet the local entrepreneurs who are creating a new industry, finding applications for their drones in land surveying and delivery. And you’ll get a close-up view from a bamboo grove as a drone pilot named Bornlove builds a flying machine from bamboo and other materials.

You can follow the action in a 360-degree video in three ways: 1) Watch on your computer, using your mouse to click and drag on the video; 2) watch on your phone, moving the phone around to change your view; or 3) watch on a VR headset for the full immersive experience.


May 4th, 2019

It’s a turbo with the satisfying sound of an air-breathing monster

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When I get my first knee-wobbling glimpse of the 488 Pista and its zesty racing stripes, I’m not thinking about technology, I have to confess. But when I strap aboard the Pista at Ferrari’s fabled Fiorano test circuit in Maranello, Italy, I’m soon saying grazie for the sheer technical prowess of the fastest V-8 Ferrari ever produced.

A midmounted, dry-sump, twin-turbo V-8 spools up 529 kilowatts (710 horsepower) from just 3.9 liters of displacement, in a Ferrari that weighs just 1,382 kilograms (3,047 pounds). That’s 6 percent lighter than a 488 GTB, the standard version of Ferrari’s midengine marvel. The diet that slimmed down the Pista included carbon-fiber wheels that weigh 40 percent less than standard rims.

The result is a new idea of insanity in a street-legal Ferrari: The 0-to-100-kilometer-per-hour run (62 miles per hour) takes 2.85 seconds. You get to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 7.6 seconds, which is faster than many cars take to reach 100 km/h.

Engineers trimmed 23 kg (50 lbs) from the engine alone, using carbon-fiber intake plenums and titanium connecting rods, just like in Ferrari’s F1 racers. The engine’s total rotational inertia—created by its moving parts and by friction—is reduced by 17 percent for faster, more-joyous revving. The Inconel-alloy exhaust manifold is just 1 millimeter wide at its thinnest sections, and it saves nearly 9 kg (20 lbs). The design minimizes energy losses incurred when the engine pumps out exhaust. It also helps deliver the fortissimo sound that went missing in the GTB, a major challenge as supercars switch en masse to more-efficient turbocharged power plants.

Engineers also added more “color” to the sound of the engine by augmenting the richer, more-pleasing frequencies. Turbocharger speed sensors on each cylinder bank measure how well it’s working in real time to enable engine controllers to maximize power, regardless of altitude or ambient temperature.

The Ferrari takes aerodynamic and handling cues from Ferrari Challenge racers, along with the 488 GTBs that have dominated FIA Endurance Racing. Compared with a standard GTB, the Pista enjoys a huge 20 percent gain in aero efficiency, including up to 240 kg (529 lbs) of downforce at 200 km/h (124 mph). Giant carbon-ceramic brakes feel strong enough to halt Earth’s rotation. The S-Duct, a Ferrari showroom first, channels air through the front fascia and over the hood to clamp front tires to the road surface. Front radiators are inverted and canted rearward to direct hot air along the underbody but well away from side intercooler intakes.

As in Challenge cars, the engine is actually fed from the rear, where air intakes mounted just below the rear spoiler take advantage of the high-pressure atmosphere there; the 488’s signature cleavages in rear fenders are now put to use feeding air into turbo intercoolers and cooling the engine bay. The rear diffuser incorporates three active flaps that can rotate up to 14 degrees to minimize drag, hastening runs to the car’s top speed of 340 km/h (211 mph). The result is a track-day carnival.

The car’s coolest hand-me-down from racing tech may be the new “wall effect” rev limiter. Traditional engine-speed limiters, Ferrari says, cut off the fuel well before the engine gets to its redline. In the Pista, there’s no sudden slump in power, the dispiriting thrustus interruptus that you feel when a car’s engine bangs off the rev limiter. Instead, the Ferrari continues to accelerate right up to the engine’s peak, and holds it there. All 710 of these prancing ponies are on tap, anywhere from 6,750 rpm to the 8,000-rpm redline.

Ferrari will build just 500 Pistas for the world’s consumption. If only technology could make the Pista multiply while sharply reducing the price.


May 4th, 2019

Frugal with fuel in stop-and-go traffic

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The 2019 Ram has been garnering early praise for several technologies unheard of in full-size pickup trucks: a Tesla-like touch screen, a coil-spring rear suspension and self-leveling air suspension. But its best tech trick is under the hood: mild hybrid power. It’s called eTorque, and it’s standard on every V-6 Ram and an option on Hemi V-8 models.

Mild hybrids can’t propel themselves on electricity alone, but they can supplement gasoline power and trim fuel consumption. On the Ram, a liquid-cooled motor/generator connects to the Pentastar V-6’s crankshaft to deliver an electric boost of 8.9 kilowatts (12 horsepower) and as many as 122 newton meters (90 pound-feet) of torque. It’s powered by a 48-volt electrical system, the new wave in automotive electricals, with a DC/DC converter and a compact, 0.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.

That 48-V system permits the use of engine stop/start tech that cycles so seamlessly that it’s nearly undetectable: The Ram rolls from stoplights under electric power before it cranks the gasoline engine to whispery life, without the shuddering or noise that make typical stop/start systems so annoying.

Throw in an incredibly creamy ride, and a back seat (in Crew Cab models) with more legroom than any full-size luxury sedan, and you realize how far we’ve come from the days when the General Motors GMT 400 was hailed for having independent front suspension with torsion bars.

Ram says the eTorque system saves 5 centiliters (1.7 ounces) of fuel for every 90-second stop. Do that just 10 times a day and you’re conserving 190 liters (50 gallons) of fuel a year. It also saves energy through regenerative hybrid brakes. The latest, 227-kW (305-hp) Pentastar V-6 adds variable intake-valve lift and cam phasing that can run the efficient Atkinson combustion cycle, familiar from hybrids like the Toyota Prius. The 295-kW (395-hp) Hemi V-8 adds its own goodies, including fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, electronic mass dampers on frame rails and active cabin-noise cancellation, the latter two techs designed to erase telltale vibrations when the Ram runs on just four cylinders.

The upshot is the kind of fuel economy once associated with family cars. The V-6 Ram has an EPA fuel economy of 12.4 liters/100 kilometers (19 miles per gallon) on local roads and 9.8 L/100 km (24 mpg) on the highway, and an unmatched driving range of 1,000 km (624 miles) on a tank of gasoline. Even the burly V-8 eTorque model manages up to 17/23 mpg, in a truck that can tow a whopping 5,783 kilograms, or approximately one African bull elephant.


May 3rd, 2019

Validation of embedded connectivity in V2X designs and self-driving cars mark an inflection point in automotive wireless designs, opening the door to modular solutions based on off-the-shelf hardware and flexible software

Automotive OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers are now in the thick of the technology world’s two gigantic engineering challenges: connected cars and autonomous vehicles. That inevitably calls for more flexible development, test, validation, and verification programs that can quickly adapt to the changing technologies and standards.

For a start, the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, which embodies the connected car movement, is also the point where the wireless industry most intersects with autonomous vehicles (AVs). Collision detection and avoidance is a classic example of this technology crossover between the AV and connected car technologies.

It shows how vehicles and infrastructure work in tandem for the creation of a smart motoring network. Here, at this technology crossroads, when V2X technology converges and collides with AV connectivity, reliability and low latency become requirements that are even more critical.

It is worth mentioning here that the demand for extreme reliability in stringent environments is already a precondition in automotive designs. When added to the connected car and self-driving vehicle design realms, well-tested connectivity becomes a major stepping stone.

The immensely complex hardware and software in a highly automated vehicle connected to the outside world also opens the door to malicious attacks from hackers and spoofs. And that calls for future-proof design solutions that demonstrate safeguards against hacking and spoofing attacks.

Not surprisingly, the convergence of connected cars and self-driving vehicles significantly expands development, test, validation and verification requirements. And that makes it imperative for engineers to employ highly-integrated development frameworks for multiple system components like RF quality and protocol conformance.

Modular Test Solutions

Take the example of a V2X system that requires certification for radio frequency identification tags and readers in electronic toll collection systems. Here, design engineers must also ensure that this connected car application protects data privacy and prevents unauthorized access.

However, being a new technology, this could entail a higher cost for validation at different development stages. The testing of communication equipment supporting different regional V2X standards could also lead to the purchase of measurement instruments for each standard and design layer.

That is why test and prototype solutions based on modular hardware and software building blocks can prove more efficient and cost-effective, as they can explore new technologies, standards and architectural options (see Figure 2). Software defined radio (SDR)-based test solutions, in particular, are flexible and cheaper in the long run.

The following sections will show how modular hardware and flexible software can help create RF calibration and validation solutions for autonomous and connected vehicles. It will explain how these highly customized systems can validate embedded wireless technology in V2X communications designed to save lives on the road.

URLLC Experimental Testbed

The immense amount of compute power involved in autonomous and connected car designs may lead to the expanded use of flexible SDR platforms for tackling the increasing complexity of embedded software and the rising number of usage scenarios, especially when automotive engineers must carefully balance extreme-reliability demands with low-latency requirements.

It is a vital design consideration amid the massive breadth of inputs and outputs for multiple RF streams serving a diverse array of cameras and sensors in autonomous vehicles. Moreover, SDR platforms can efficiently validate connected vehicles’ RF links to each other and to roadside units for information regarding traffic and construction work.

That is why the ultra-reliable low-latency communications mechanism is becoming so critical in both V2X systems and autonomous vehicles. It boosts system capacity and network coverage by reporting 99.999% reliability with a latency of 1 ms.

The URLLC reference design, for instance, enables engineers to create physical layer mechanisms for different driving environments and then compares them via simulation to analyze trade-offs between latency and reliability. So, a real-time experimental testbed like this one can substitute for expensive and cumbersome on-road testing to prove that the vehicle is safe for autonomous driving and V2X communications.

Shanghai University has joined with National Instruments to create a URLLC experimental testbed for advanced V2X services like vehicle platooning. The URLLC reference design and vehicle-to-vehicle communication are built around National Instruments’ SDR-based hardware for rapid prototyping of mobile communication channels.

Vector Signal Transceiver

Another design platform worth mentioning in the context of AV connectivity and connected car technology is Vector Signal Transceiver (VST). It is a customizable platform that combines an RF and baseband vector signal analyzer and generator with a user-programmable field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and high-speed interfaces for real-time signal processing and control.

That enables comprehensive RF characteristic measurements and features like dynamic obstacle generation in a variety of road conditions. A VST system, for example, can simulate Doppler effect velocity from multiple angles or simulate scenarios such as a pedestrian walking across the street and a vehicle changing lanes.

It is another customized system that combines flexible, off-the-shelf hardware with a software development environment like LabVIEW to create user-defined prototyping and test solutions. That allows design engineers to transform VST into what they need it to be at the firmware level and address the most demanding development, test and validation challenges.

National Instruments introduced the first VST system in 2012 with an FPGA programmable with LabVIEW to accelerate design time and lower validation cost. Fast forward to 2019, the second-generation VST is ready to serve the autonomous and connected car designs where bandwidth and latency are crucial factors.

Automotive Testing’s Inflection Point

Industry observers call 2019 the year of V2X communications, while self-driving cars are still a work in progress. In the connected car realm, engineers are busy testing and validating the dedicated short-range communications-based vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure devices to ensure that the V2X communication will work all the time and in all possible scenarios.

It is clear that both connected cars and self-driving vehicles share similar imperatives: they must be trustworthy and they must be credible. What is also evident by now is that these high-tech vehicles require high-tech prototyping and validation tools.

That marks an inflection point in automotive design and validation where two manifestations of smart mobility are striving to make traffic safer and more efficient. And the industry demands efficient and cost-effective test and verification solutions for these rapidly expanding automotive markets.

If these systems are based on modular hardware and flexible software, they can be efficiently customized for the autonomous and connected car designs. More importantly, these verification arrangements can significantly lower the design cost at different development stages.

For more on V2X testing, go to National Instruments.


May 3rd, 2019

This whitepaper takes you back to basics to look at key factors to be considered when selecting a connector solution

This whitepaper explains the key factors to consider when specifying the best connector solution for the application. Topics include; electrical properties, mechanical and environmental considerations, physical space issues, designing for manufacture and servicing, standards and certifications. Also includes a checklist to assist in the shortlisting and justification process.