General Automation Thread

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-12-02 03:34pm

Im thinking about this s lot at work.

Theres a real trap ahead. We need to automate carefully. The current model for cars hits this - the stage where humans do almost nothing but need to react carefully in emergencies simply does not work.

We need to automate in a way to avoid these sort of local minima.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-12-02 04:08pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-11-30 12:44pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-11-29 09:47pm
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-11-29 06:03pm
I'm guessing said warehouse is still going to have human employees, for goods that robots may not be able to handle easily such as fresh produce... which in retrospect probably doesn't get warehoused much, it's probably shipped relatively direct with few links in the chain from farm to store in order to keep it fresh. So... yeah, I dunno. I do think there will still be humans working there in tasks that they don't have robots for yet, unloading trucks for example. Of course, they could just palletize all the stuff on the truck and thus a robot forklift driver would just pull it all out like that... I don't know.

I'm a bit bearish on the whole robot thing, at least in the immediate future (by which I mean roughly the next five-ish years). Self-service kiosks and such don't really qualify as 'robots' to me but they might apply, I suppose-- those I do see proliferating, particularly with the increasing technological interconnectedness of First World services.
When you say you are bearish, do you mean that you doubt companies will be investing in cheaper machines such as robots, or that you don't think that it's the right terminology?

Because in regards to terminology, we're hitting the point where I think what's a program, what's a machine, and what's a robot is starting to get a bit mixed in regards to production models.
Bit of both.

As far as terminology goes, while selfservice kiosks and such do fall under 'automation' I suppose, they aren't 'robots' to me in that they don't particularly... DO anything. Some of them come with a conveyor belt now that you can load your groceries on as you check yourself out, but that's about it. A 'robot' to me has to actually do something outside of hands-on human direction, whether it's moving frozen burgers on a conveyor belt through a heater or stacking boxes of biscuit mix in a warehouse. But that's just me being nitpicky about the term 'robot'.

Regarding the rise of automation in general... I think it's going to depend heavily on the company and the market. Japan for example, they could easily have a whole bunch of mass market commercial robots pretty soon. A backwoods corner of rural USA? Nah. It's going to depend on where the profits are, and on what the customers are comfortable with. Would women, for example, be okay with a robot designed to measure their bust size for bras in the Victoria's Secret? Or would they prefer to have an actual hew-mon person slipping the tape under their arms? Versus the 'burger flipper', which can be mostly squirreled away in the back of the house and customers don't have to care.

But in general I don't know how *quickly* automation is going to be embraced at the retail level. Certainly there will be markets and areas where it pops up and proliferates quickly, tech towns like Seattle and San Francisco probably being good examples, but outside of those areas, it'll depend on profit margin.
Well yes, some areas are going to look rather cyberpunk in a decade or so while a mostly rural community is going to look like....a mostly rural community.

But I can see a global effect economically, and wonder if it will hit that rural community sideways in other ways. And what those ways will be.
madd0ct0r wrote:
2018-12-02 03:34pm
Im thinking about this a lot at work.

There's a real trap ahead. We need to automate carefully. The current model for cars hits this - the stage where humans do almost nothing but need to react carefully in emergencies simply does not work.

We need to automate in a way to avoid these sort of local minima.
What would be the best way to do this without limiting progress? Are there areas in which we should say, humans don't need to work here, it's better for machines to do all the heavy lifting completely, and only have a few overseers to make sure things are fixed and everything is running smoothly?

And how heavily employed are those areas?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-12-08 05:21pm

On the self-driving car front:

Ars Technica
Even self-driving leader Waymo is struggling to reach full autonomy
After 48 hours we haven't seen any sign people are using Waymo's service.
TIMOTHY B. LEE - 12/7/2018, 10:55 AM

Even self-driving leader Waymo is struggling to reach full autonomy
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The Wednesday rollout of Waymo One, Waymo's commercial self-driving taxi service, falls far short of expectations the company itself set earlier in the year.

In late September, a Waymo spokeswoman told Ars by email that the Phoenix service would be fully driverless and open to members of the public—claims I reported in this article.

We now know that Waymo One won't be fully driverless; there will be a driver in the driver's seat. And Waymo One is open to the public in only the narrowest, most technical sense: initially it will only be available to early riders—the same people who have been participating in Waymo's test program for months.

This seems to be the latest sign that Waymo's technology is progressing more slowly than a lot of people expected—including Waymo's own leadership a year ago. People who have observed Waymo's vehicles on public roads in recent months report that the cars still struggle with unprotected left turns, merges, and other tricky situations.

FURTHER READING
Waymo’s ambitious plans for high-speed taxis could be holding it back
Waymo is widely seen as the industry leader. The company began working on self-driving technology in 2009, long before most other technology and car companies started taking it seriously. So if Waymo isn't ready to launch a fully driverless service after more than 18 months of intensive public testing, that should make us skeptical of claims from other companies that they'll be ready to launch fully self-driving technology any time soon.

Waymo One is barely a public service
The launch of Waymo One feels less like the launch of a public, commercial service than a rebranding of its testing program. Waymo vowed to launch a commercial service before the end of the year, and Waymo One technically qualifies. But the service hardly seems more open to the public than the early rider program Waymo had last week.

In a Thursday phone conversation, a Waymo spokeswoman declined to tell me how many customers had signed up for Waymo One on the first day or how many rides they'd taken. If a lot of people were signing up, you'd expect some of them to post photos or videos on social media, but 48 hours after the official launch I haven't been able to find any sign of people using Waymo One—and neither have other people.

I'm sure Waymo is telling the truth when it says it has invited "hundreds" of early riders to switch to Waymo One, and I assume at least a handful of people have signed up. But this is not what normally happens when a big public company launches a major new product.

Waymo abandoned plans for a fully driverless launch
This is a screenshot from Waymo's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaOB-ErYq6Y">November 2017 video</a> announcing the start of fully driverless testing. It shows fully driverless Waymo cars driving on residential streets that are almost empty.
Enlarge / This is a screenshot from Waymo's November 2017 video announcing the start of fully driverless testing. It shows fully driverless Waymo cars driving on residential streets that are almost empty.
Waymo
I wasn't the only reporter who was told that Waymo's first commercial service would be fully driverless.

In March, The New York Times reported that Waymo's Phoenix service would launch by the end of the year. Waymo "intended to move forward rapidly with a driverless ride service for the public because it was confident its vehicles could operate safely in virtually any driving situation where they would be put into use," the Times' Neal Boudette wrote. The same article stated that Waymo expected to be "providing as many as one million rides a day" by the end of 2019. (Update: a Waymo spokeswoman tells us that it never told the Times this.)

FURTHER READING
Waymo One, the groundbreaking self-driving taxi service, explained
But in recent months, Waymo seems to have lost confidence in its fully driverless operations. The Information's Amir Efrati reported last week that "due to concerns about safety, the Alphabet company put so-called 'safety drivers' back behind the wheel of its most advanced prototypes."

Indeed, it's not clear if fully driverless vehicles have ever accounted for a significant fraction of Waymo's testing activities. According to an August story by Efrati, fully driverless tests have typically been "in relatively small residential areas of Chandler, Arizona, where there is little traffic."

That squares with the experience of Ryan Randazzo, a reporter at the Arizona Republic who has covered Waymo over the last two years. Because he's based in the Phoenix area, he's able to regularly observe Waymo vehicles in action and talk to others in the area about the cars—including three days in October and November when he followed around Waymo vehicles to see how they perform.

"I don't know that anyone has ever seen one without a driver in the driver seat" since Waymo first announced driverless testing in November 2017, he told Ars. "They may have done it, but they don't tell us. I've asked five different ways—what percent of rides [are driverless]—they won't answer that question."

Waymo cars struggle with tricky situations
Over the course of October and November, Randazzo spent three days observing Waymo's cars in action—either by following them on the roads or staking out the company's depot in Chandler. He posted his findings in a YouTube video. The findings suggest that Waymo's vehicles aren't yet ready for fully autonomous operation.

"Lane changes appear to be a problem for the cars," Randazzo says in the video. When trying to move into a crowded lane, a Waymo car seemed to lack a human driver's ability to anticipate other drivers' actions and squeeze into an open spot. Instead, the vehicle would turn on its turn signal and wait for a few seconds for an opening to appear. If one didn't appear, it would turn the turn signal off and wait for a while before trying again.

"It actually took this car almost a minute and a half to change lanes here," Randazzo said. "We talked to one person who uses these vehicles around the East Valley. He said that they sometimes miss their turns they're so hesitant."

In another incident, a Waymo car was part of a line of cars approaching an intersection where a car crash was blocking the right lane. The human drivers saw the issue far ahead and began shifting to the left lane. The Waymo car continued straight and only began trying to merge left when it was a few car lengths away from the traffic cones. The car then abruptly cancelled the left merge and instead went right into a turn lane—Randazzo speculates that this was the human safety driver taking over the vehicle.

That jives with a video posted to YouTube in September showing a Waymo vehicle struggling to merge onto a California freeway.

According to The Information's Efrati, Waymo has struggled with turning from a low-speed residential street onto a major boulevard. This is also a problem The Washington Post observed during a recent Waymo test ride. The Post reported that "left turns can be painfully slow" when turning onto a major traffic artery.

With these kinds of challenges, it's not surprising that Waymo chose to keep safety drivers in its cars. And to be clear, I don't fault Waymo for doing this. Quite the contrary, they deserve credit for putting safety first. But if Waymo has largely halted testing with fully driverless vehicles—and there's a lot of circumstantial evidence that they have—it would be nice if Waymo would level with the public about this.

And if even Waymo—long regarded as the industry leader—is struggling to roll out fully driverless cars, that may be a cause for skepticism that its rivals will achieve the feat any time soon. We're going to see more and more self-driving cars on our roads. But it might be a while before we see ones that are fully driverless.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-12-08 05:32pm

That seems to be the opposite conclusion that the article draws. That the tech is no where near ready.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-12-08 05:43pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
2018-12-08 05:32pm
That seems to be the opposite conclusion that the article draws. That the tech is no where near ready.
Yes, but it's still amazing to me that we're in a place where they are testing self driving cars. This used to be science fiction, now it's something they're trying to work out the (multitude of) kinks.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-12-22 07:20am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-12-02 04:08pm
Well yes, some areas are going to look rather cyberpunk in a decade or so while a mostly rural community is going to look like....a mostly rural community.
Actually, it is already happening - many areas already now look like their cyberpunk imagined versions from the 1980s. And rural communities are hit, because due to a lack of economic activity people are leaving rural territories and even smaller towns (hyper-urbanization).
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-12-02 04:08pm
What would be the best way to do this without limiting progress?
Why is "unlimited progress" so important? You must understand that there is no way to do it without limiting progress, but also that sometimes limiting progress is necessary to advance or to maintain moral ground, if all else fails.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-12-24 04:55pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-12-22 07:20am
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-12-02 04:08pm
Well yes, some areas are going to look rather cyberpunk in a decade or so while a mostly rural community is going to look like....a mostly rural community.
Actually, it is already happening - many areas already now look like their cyberpunk imagined versions from the 1980s. And rural communities are hit, because due to a lack of economic activity people are leaving rural territories and even smaller towns (hyper-urbanization).
That's kind of the point of this thread. How is automation affecting people, and what can society do to prepare for it? Please bring news articles about how automation is affecting rural communities to this thread.
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-12-02 04:08pm
What would be the best way to do this without limiting progress?
Why is "unlimited progress" so important? You must understand that there is no way to do it without limiting progress, but also that sometimes limiting progress is necessary to advance or to maintain moral ground, if all else fails.

Remember thalidomide.
Note that I did not say 'unlimited progress'. I'm talking more about not trying to give up on progress because the initial research isn't working. How many flying machines did we work through before the Wright brothers made something that worked? The concept of the self driving car is becoming more and more of a reality. People in this thread and/or the Flippy thread have advocated for banning technological progress at some rate.

We're going to have to make ourselves ready for that, and the current American legislation regarding self driving cars seems to be a stop-gap measure so as to deal with current technology as opposed to getting ready for the new technology that's coming.

Having a society prepared for a majorly automated world is better than one that has to deal with it retroactively after a number of jobs lost and people starve or turn to worse avenues for survival, or loses potential gains due to not embracing the full potential of what benefits an automated society could bring for millions, if not billions of people.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-01-20 09:32pm

The Verge
PepsiCo is rolling out a fleet of robots to bring snacks to college students
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Order on the app, pick up around campus
By Makena Kelly@kellymakena Jan 4, 2019, 10:03am EST
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PepsiCo
Today, PepsiCo announced that it will be rolling out a fleet of snack-carrying robots on the University of the Pacific’s campus in California.

The robots — or “snackbots” — carry snacks and beverages from the company’s Hello Goodness portfolio, which includes choices like Smartfood Delight popcorn, Baked Lays, Pure Leaf Tea, and Starbucks Cold Brew drinks. Students can place their orders on the iOS app and have them delivered to select locations around the 175-acre campus between 9AM and 5PM.

The snackbots are nearly identical to the other delivery machines we’ve seen before. They can travel 20 miles on a single charge, and they have headlights and a camera. Once the students meet the robot, they open its green lid and grab their order.


PepsiCo said it was the largest food and beverage company on the market that has begun to deliver snacks and drinks by way of robot. Last year, Kiwi spearheaded a similar service at UC Berkeley, and students at the university adored the robo-couriers so much that when one caught on fire due to a battery malfunction, they held a candlelight vigil for the device.

According to The Daily Californian, students on Facebook called the robot a “hero” and a “legend.”

The ordering app is available on iOS with a valid University of the Pacific email address.
I expect these things to be ripped apart in short order by students low on money and/or drunk as hell.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-03-04 02:29pm



Dusting off the thread because this was on Last Week Tonight.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gandalf » 2019-03-05 03:53pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-01-20 09:32pm
I expect these things to be ripped apart in short order by students low on money and/or drunk as hell.
I wonder who is liable for damages, assuming the marauding students can't be identified? I would assume the university, on account of good Pepsi lawyering, but who knows.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-03-05 05:00pm

Speaking of Pepsi....

Business Insider
PepsiCo is laying off corporate employees as the company commits to millions of dollars in severance pay, restructuring, and 'relentlessly automating'
Kate Taylor Feb. 20, 2019, 6:33 PM
Diet Pepsi
PepsiCo is kicking off a round of layoffs. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
PepsiCo has kicked off a round of layoffs affecting employees in several offices, two people who were laid off by the company told Business Insider.
The company announced in a quarterly earnings call last week that it expected to incur $2.5 billion in restructuring costs through 2023, with 70% of charges linked to severance and other employee costs.
Roughly $800 million of the $2.5 billion is expected to affect 2019 results.
PepsiCo also recently announced plans to restructure the organization and "relentlessly" invest in automation.

PepsiCo has kicked off a round of layoffs as it begins a four-year restructuring plan expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars in severance pay.

This week, PepsiCo employees in offices including Plano, Texas, and the company's headquarters in Purchase, New York, were alerted that they were being laid off, according to two people who were directly affected by the layoffs. These two workers were granted anonymity to speak frankly without risking professional ramifications.

At least some of the workers who were alerted about layoffs will continue to work at PepsiCo until late April as they train their replacements, the two workers told Business Insider.

Because of the secrecy surrounding the layoffs, these workers said it was unclear how many teams or people had been affected. PepsiCo declined to comment on the layoffs.


By PepsiCo's estimates, the company's layoffs are expected to be a multimillion-dollar project in 2019.

PepsiCo announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday that it expected to incur $2.5 billion in pretax restructuring costs through 2023, with 70% of charges linked to severance and other employee costs. The company is also planning to close factories, with an additional 15% tied to plant closures and "related actions."

About $800 million of the $2.5 billion is expected to affect 2019 results, in addition to the $138 million that was included in 2018 results, the company said in the SEC filing. In February 2018, PepsiCo announced plans to lay off fewer than 1% of its more than 110,000 corporate employees, including 200 employees at its Purchase, New York, headquarters.

PepsiCo also announced a commitment to save $1 billion annually through 2023. Efficiency and restructuring were major themes in PepsiCo's quarterly earnings call with investors on Friday.

"Our second set of priorities ... involves becoming more capable, leaner, more agile and less bureaucratic," CEO Ramon Laguarta said. "In doing so, we will drive down cost and that enables us to plow the savings back into the business to develop scale and sharpen core capabilities that drive even greater efficiency and effectiveness creating a virtuous cycle."


Being leaner and more agile seems to be linked to cutting jobs, with chief financial officer Hugh Johnston confirming to CNBC that the company planned to lay off workers in positions that can be automated. Laguarta said on Friday that PepsiCo was "relentlessly automating and merging the best of our optimized business models with the best new thinking and technologies."

Last week, PepsiCo announced it would reorganize its beverage business into four US regional divisions and a single Canadian division, according to an internal memo obtained by trade publication Beverage Digest. According to Beverage Digest, the memo said the restructuring would "simplify the way we work, remove red tape and push decision-making and resources into the market."

If you were affected by the PepsiCo layoffs and have a story to share, contact ktaylor@businessinsider.com.
The amount of people being laid off in their 'restructuring' seems small, but it does seem to be the wave of the future. Make more general hubs for infrastructure, and remove all the 'dead weight' that a machine can do, and spend the money on getting the machines in place.
Last edited by FaxModem1 on 2019-03-05 05:06pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-03-05 05:04pm

Gandalf wrote:
2019-03-05 03:53pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-01-20 09:32pm
I expect these things to be ripped apart in short order by students low on money and/or drunk as hell.
I wonder who is liable for damages, assuming the marauding students can't be identified? I would assume the university, on account of good Pepsi lawyering, but who knows.
Presumably there would be cameras mounted discreetly upon the snack-delivery robot, but in case of masks or spray-paint or other tricks, probably the university, yes. It would depend to some degree on where the incident happens; some school campuses can be remarkably convoluted. My university had commercial housing developments (targeted towards students, naturally) practically intertwined with its own dorms, and many schools in urban areas basically only have buildings, not actual campuses per se other than perhaps a nice park or something.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-03-24 10:04am

USA Today
Robots may soon make your FedEx delivery from Walmart, Target and Pizza Hut

FedEx SameDay Bot B-roll from FedEx on Vimeo.

Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY Published 7:00 a.m. ET Feb. 27, 2019 | Updated 2:03 p.m. ET Feb. 27, 2019

The robot rolling down the street just might be delivering a FedEx package to your home or office.

That’s the vision, anyway, behind the FedEx SameDay Bot that the shipping giant unveiled Wednesday. This sub-200-pound autonomous delivery robot was developed by DEKA Development & Research Corp, whose founder is Segway inventor Dean Kamen.

The SameDay Bot is so-named because its mission is to help retailers make same-day, “last-mile” deliveries to local customers. FedEx is collaborating with AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

FedEx plans to test the bot this summer in select markets and FedEx Office locations, starting in the company’s own Memphis hometown, pending final approval by the city. That approval would appear to be likely since it has the backing of Mayor Jim Strickland.

According to FedEx, on average, more than 60 percent of merchants’ customers live within three miles of a store location, demonstrating the opportunity for on-demand, hyper-local delivery.

Prior to making its formal announcement, FedEx teased the news on Twitter.

FedEx currently offers same-day delivery service in 32 markets and 1,900 cities, using branded FedEx vehicles and uniformed human FedEx employees.

Long-term question: Does just such a bot eventually put any of these employees’ jobs in jeopardy?

“The FedEx SameDay Bot represents the next chapter in our long legacy of delivering innovation and outstanding service, supported by an already existing FedEx logistics ecosystem," Brian Philips, president and CEO of FedEx Office, said in a statement. “We are excited to bring this technology to address new markets and better support our customers. The companies who have provided feedback on its potential use have been instrumental in ensuring we are looking towards the future of e-commerce.”

In his own statement, Target chief operating officer John Mulligan said, “We’re excited to be collaborating with FedEx to explore how autonomous robots could enhance delivery services and more, ensuring we continue to exceed our guests’ expectations for ease and convenience.”

The environmentally-friendly, battery-powered bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides. It has two smallish wheels on the front that can be lifted up almost like a dog's paws; it has four other larger wheels, two on each side. On the outside of the compartment where the packages being delivered are housed, you'll see the requisite FedEx branding.

The robot makes use of multiple cameras, laser light technology and machine learning algorithms to help it avoid pedestrians and other obstacles and to comply with road safety rules. It can also navigate curbs, uneven surfaces and even steps.

Along those lines, the FedEx bot is modeled after DEKA’s iBot, an FDA-approved stair-climbing motorized wheelchair, which Kamen says has more than 10 million hours of reliable, real-world operation.


Amazon's Scout is an electric-powered delivery robot and has begun testing six of the cooler-sized, six-wheeled robots at a neighborhood in Washington state. USA TODAY

FedEx, of course, is not the only company experimenting with such bots. Amazon is field testing a delivery system called Amazon Scout in Snohomish County, Washington, kind of a medium-sized cooler on six wheels.

It appears quite similar to bots developed by Starship Technologies out of Estonia, a startup that launched in 2014 by the co-founders of Skype.

Absent a human delivery person, the FedEx bot presumably is not at a stage where it can deliver a package that requires a customer signature.
So, the key question, for now, is how many packages are delivered that don't require signatures? And even that is before someone just adds a signature screen to the bot for the customer to sign.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Solauren » 2019-03-24 12:42pm

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

How long until Delivery Drones start getting shot down? Those things are not very sturdy, or maneuverable when burdened. If people can drop flying birds with a bow and arrow, then knocking drone down shouldn't be a big problem.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gandalf » 2019-03-24 04:09pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-03-24 10:04am
So, the key question, for now, is how many packages are delivered that don't require signatures? And even that is before someone just adds a signature screen to the bot for the customer to sign.
It could even be a QR code scanned by the user's phone with the right app/login. So since drones won't require usual working hour issues, they could do evening deliveries, or whatever is the most convenient for people, by sending you a message that states "your package is at the nearest depot. Signal your readiness and it should be x minutes away." This more or less ensures that someone is home to take the delivery and that some sort of signature can be delivered.
Solauren wrote:
2019-03-24 12:42pm
I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

How long until Delivery Drones start getting shot down? Those things are not very sturdy, or maneuverable when burdened. If people can drop flying birds with a bow and arrow, then knocking drone down shouldn't be a big problem.
Maybe not long (but how much of that talk is just posturing?), but people who live in drone shoot down areas would have to pay a premium of some sort, or drone deliveries just cease. Safer suburbs get better service.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2019-03-24 04:54pm

Solauren wrote:
2019-03-24 12:42pm
How long until Delivery Drones start getting shot down? Those things are not very sturdy, or maneuverable when burdened. If people can drop flying birds with a bow and arrow, then knocking drone down shouldn't be a big problem.
Something certified to lift any substantial amount of cargo is likely to be a bit harder to bring down than a quad-rotor camera platform. Besides, shooting them down to steal the cargo seems like a pretty unreliable way to make money unless you have some way of telling when a particular drone is carrying something that'll be worth fencing after the crash-landing.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-03-24 04:56pm

The drones in the article seem to be on treads, not aerial drones. Presumably because packages can vary in weight, and an aerial drone can only handle so much.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Solauren » 2019-03-24 09:23pm

Zaune wrote:
2019-03-24 04:54pm
Solauren wrote:
2019-03-24 12:42pm
How long until Delivery Drones start getting shot down? Those things are not very sturdy, or maneuverable when burdened. If people can drop flying birds with a bow and arrow, then knocking drone down shouldn't be a big problem.
Something certified to lift any substantial amount of cargo is likely to be a bit harder to bring down than a quad-rotor camera platform. Besides, shooting them down to steal the cargo seems like a pretty unreliable way to make money unless you have some way of telling when a particular drone is carrying something that'll be worth fencing after the crash-landing.
There are crossbows designed to fire bolts/quarrels attached to a fishing line (obviously for fishing). 1 or 2 of those would be sufficient, if it hit, to effectively 'hook' a drone.

Not saying it would be easy, but I can see it becoming a concern.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-03-25 01:00am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-03-24 10:04am
So, the key question, for now, is how many packages are delivered that don't require signatures? And even that is before someone just adds a signature screen to the bot for the customer to sign.
I'm not expecting signatures to prove delivery. I'm expecting some mix of facial recognition and entering a password. Or just a camera so that the recipient can be identified later if the package gets stolen.
Solauren wrote:
2019-03-24 12:42pm
I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

How long until Delivery Drones start getting shot down? Those things are not very sturdy, or maneuverable when burdened. If people can drop flying birds with a bow and arrow, then knocking drone down shouldn't be a big problem.
If we are talking flying drones, the question is: Are they low enough to be shot down when travelling from place to place, or are they only vulnerable when they are coming in for a landing ?

Sure, we will still get people stupid enough to shoot down a drone when it's near its destination (and the person receiving the package). But that's going to go worse for the shooter than shooting it down when nobody else is around.

Then there is the possibility of having two drones. A big one for the delivery and a small one with a camera to record any attacks.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-03-25 02:21pm

I think it goes without saying that any flying delivery drones would probably have some kind of GPS locator connected to a central computer of some kind. Locator stops before destination or turns off, alerts pop up for humans to check it out. Possibly a disposable tag of some kind attached to the package as well?

But I would not expect these to be used widely outside urban areas for some time. Rural areas for example, where someone could all too easily shoot down a drone, rip the box apart and just run off with the contents, and then it takes hours for any reasonable response to get there, would probably have to deal with ordinary truck delivery for some time anyway.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by LaCroix » 2019-03-26 11:24am

On the other hand - these things are small & fast.

Flying up there, you'd need to be in a location where one passes by, with a gun at hand, no bystanders to see you, and able to find and access the crash site in time before someone else gets to it, first. While having your gunshot causing panic and police calls.

All in all, it is much easier to hold up the UPS guy or simply steal his truck, and then dashing with some parcels after a few intersections so they can't track the car.

Or the traditional way - stealing from a porch...
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-12 11:22pm

Forbes made an entire article about the pizza industry, and it's automation: Forbes
Robot-Powered Pizza, Anyone? How Automation Is Transforming The Fast-Food Industry
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Can the restaurant industry really be automated? You may have heard about Flippy, a robot that can flip burgers or Makr Shakr, a robotic bar system. While certainly far from full domination, artificial intelligence and robots are making headlines for the possibilities they offer for the food industry. Pizza companies are some of the most advanced innovators when it comes to figuring out how to automate their businesses.

Robot-Powered Pizza, Anyone? How Automation Is Transforming The Fast-Food Industry
Robot-Powered Pizza, Anyone? How Automation Is Transforming The Fast-Food Industry ADOBE STOCK
Robot-Powered Pizza from Zume

At Zume Pizza, a Mountain View, California (Bay Area) enterprise founded in 2015, humans might do all the prep work for the ingredients, but then the robots take over repetitive and potentially dangerous tasks. When a customer places an order from Zume’s app, Doughbot starts preparing their specific order by turning a dough ball into a pizza crust in a mere 9 seconds. Robots Giorgio and Pepe take over from there by applying the sauce to the crust and pass the pie on to Marta, a robot who spreads the sauce to the corners of the crust. Humans step back in to put the toppings on, a task that is challenging to automate due to the different textures and sizes toppings come in. Then robots Bruno and Vincenzo put the pies in and out of the oven respectively. Customers get to enjoy a freshly made 14-inch pizza that costs between $10 and $20 with no need to tip.

Zume is also changing pizza delivery with its “Baked on the Way” technology. Delivery trucks with all the pizza fixings and outfitted with six ovens allow the company to make 120 pizzas per hour—baking when en route to a customer's door. The company collects data and uses predictive analytics that helps determine what day and time people are most apt to order pizza. They are then able to stock the delivery trucks with the types of pizza that are expected to be ordered and deploy them to the neighborhood so they are in position to respond quickly when an order comes in. Zume plans to expand by scaling its proprietary technology platform that includes logistics, infrastructure, and operations to help others in the food industry introduce similar automation to their operations.


Domino’s Pizza Delivers Via DRU, a Robot

While not yet delivering to a neighborhood near you, Domino’s anticipates that its autonomous delivery vehicle DRU will be the future of pizza delivery. Although the company has experimented with delivering pies from the skies in drones, delivery by DRU has a lot fewer hurdles to overcome such as not needing to deal with regulatory approval from the FAA.

The autonomous machine developed by Starship Technologies rolls down the sidewalk at around 4 mph with its cargo (about 4 to 5 medium pizzas). DRU navigates from a starting point to the delivery destination using onboard sensors, cameras and high-res maps of its territory. Crossing streets or curbs aren't a problem, but the bot can't climb stairs or go into buildings. Customers in the test area can watch the robot's progress as its delivering their pizza via their phone and use a code that was delivered to their phone to unlock the cargo area to retrieve their pie. Once the bot returns to its home base, its battery will be swapped out for a freshly charged one, so it can begin another mission.

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In addition to Domino’s test, Starship Technologies has tested its autonomous delivery vehicles in 20 countries since 2015. As the next phase of testing, they launched on the Intuit campus in Mountain View, Calif. Employees of the company can order breakfast, lunch or coffee from the staff cafeteria and have it delivered to them via the robot. This rollout will bring the delivery robots in contact with more people so more improvements can be made before full-scale rollout in a city.

Robots vs. Restaurant Professionals

As restaurant robots take over tasks from chefs, bartenders, servers and delivery drivers, what’s in store for the humans they are replacing?

“Automation exists to improve the quality of human lives,” Zume CEO Alex Garden was quoted. He added, “We believe we should be leveraging automation to automate boring, dangerous, repetitive work.”

The restaurant industry is actually experiencing its lowest unemployment rates on record at 6% causing a University of Michigan labor economist to say we should be seeing high unemployment in the industry if businesses were just using machines to replace workers. As with other industries, the hope for automation is that people are freed up to do higher-value work while robots are there to do the repetitive and dangerous work. It is expected the jobs of restaurant workers will change with the introduction of automation, but so far there’s no robot that can replace human interaction—yet.
It's looking more and more like the delivery driver is on the chopping block.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-12 11:32pm

Business Insider
Robots could wipe out 1.3 million Wall Street jobs in the next 10 years
Allana Akhtar 41m
Despite their popularity, jobs in banking could disappear by the millions. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Jobs in banking and the financial services industries continue to be the most popular in 2019.
Despite their popularity, a new report predicts that 1.3 million bank workers will lose their jobs or be reassigned due to automation.
Banks have already begun investing in artificial intelligence, and recognize the technology will displace workers.

Jobs in banking are some of the most sought after for job seekers — but plenty of roles may not be around much longer.

Despite a year of scandals that entangled many of the country's largest banks, the desire to work at these companies remains high, according to a new report by LinkedIn. Some of the more high-profile scandals include Deutsche Bank's alleged involvement in a global money-laundering scheme and accusations against Well Fargo's auto-loan and mortgage practices.

Nonetheless, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase remain five of the most popular places to work in 2019. LinkedIn attributes the popularity to banks offering increasingly tech-focused jobs that attract talented software engineers and developers out of college.

"The reality is that if somebody wants to learn finance and strategy, these banks are still the places to be trained and developed," Heather Hammond, co-head of the global banking and markets practice at Russell Reynolds Associates, told LinkedIn.

While job seekers may be flocking to banks at the current time, a new report revealed a million jobs in the industry could disappear in just over 10 years. Job losses or reassignments will impact 1.3 million bank workers in the US alone by 2030, according to a new report from British insights firm IHS Markit. Especially at-risk roles include customer-service reps, financial managers, and compliance and loan officers.

Though the most at-risk jobs seem to be lower-paying, jobs in banking as a whole are some of the most expensive in the country. Starting analysts make $91,000 in base pay, while managing directors can earn almost $1 million after bonuses. In fact, the industry could add a whopping $512 billion in global revenue by 2020 with the use of intelligent automation, according to a 2018 report from Capgemini.


While the use of AI remains sparse, and the technology is still basic, a boost in revenue will increase the adoption of automation, Business Insider analyst Lea Nonninger reports.

Unfortunately for job seekers, banks' investment into automation is well under way. In fact, a detailed 2018 report from Business Insider Intelligence noted that banks are already using AI to mimic bank employees, automate processes, and preempt problems. JPMorgan is cleaning thousands of databases to make room for machine learning tech. Citi president Jamie Forese said in 2018 that robots could replace as many as 10,000 human jobs within five years.

Laura Barrowman, chief technology officer at the Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse, revealed the company is already retraining employees whose jobs have been displaced by AI: "Globally, if you look at cyber skills, I think there is a deficit," Barrowman told Business Insider's panel at the World Economic Forum earlier this year. "There is such a shortage of skills, and you need people who have that capability."
To save money, the low level jobs of the corporate banking ladder are going away. What would this mean for the future of the finance sector?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-24 04:48am

NPR
FAA Certifies Google's Wing Drone Delivery Company To Operate As An Airline
April 23, 201912:55 PM ET
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The Wing company, a Google spinoff, has won federal approval to operate its drone delivery system as an airline in the U.S.
Wing
The Federal Aviation Administration has certified Alphabet's Wing Aviation to operate as an airline, in a first for U.S. drone delivery companies. Wing, which began as a Google X project, has been testing its autonomous drones in southwest Virginia and elsewhere.

"Air Carrier Certification means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States," Wing said in a statement posted to the Medium website.

The company has touted many advantages of using unmanned drones to deliver packages, from reducing carbon emissions and road congestion to increasing connections between communities and local businesses.

"This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential," Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a statement from the agency.


Customers who took part in Wing's drone delivery test program in Virginia approach their package after it was dropped on their lawn.
Wing
In a statement to NPR, the FAA says Wing was able to qualify for an air carrier certificate because it has shown "its operations met the FAA's rigorous safety requirements."

Wing's electric drones are powered by 14 propellers, nearly all of which are top-mounted to help carry loads of up to 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). They're meant to deliver a wide range of everyday items, from food and drinks to medicine and emergency supplies.

By developing delivery drones — and a retail system that would connect customers with local merchants — Google's parent company is directly competing with Amazon, which has been readying its own unmanned delivery system, called Prime Air.

As early as 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted that the online retail giant's "octocopter" drones would start buzzing out of fulfillment centers in the coming years. At the time, Bezos said his company's drones would be built to carry around 5 pounds — a weight limit that would allow about 85 percent of the products sold by Amazon to be delivered by drone.

But Bezos also said it would take time to develop a safe and reliable drone system — and to get federal approvals. It wasn't until late 2016 that Amazon announced its first fully autonomous Prime Air delivery. Since then, like Google, it's been testing its delivery drones.

The use of unmanned aircraft in the U.S. has been growing by leaps and bounds. At the end of 2018, The Associated Press reported that "110,000 commercial drones are operating in U.S. airspace," citing government figures that also projected the number would more than quadruple in 2022.

Wing has been testing its drone delivery systems from an FAA-approved test area at Virginia Tech since the autumn of 2016. With its new air carrier certification in hand, the company says it hopes to expand deliveries in southwest Virginia, recruiting businesses and potential customers in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas who want to try out the delivery system.

That expansion is planned for later this year. In the meantime, Wing "will begin its first trial in Europe in the spring, delivering to homes in Helsinki, Finland," a company representative said in an email to NPR.

Some of the earliest Wing drone tests took place in Canberra, Australia, in 2014. Since then, the company says, its drones have flown more than 70,000 test flights and delivered thousands of packages there.

Earlier this month, Wing officially launched its commercial delivery service in northern Canberra after gaining regulatory approval. Its initial partners in that venture range from local coffee, bakery and gelato shops to chocolate makers and a taqueria.

In addition to Google and Amazon, delivery companies such as United Parcel Service and DHL Express also have been developing their own drone systems. And like many human endeavors that rely on technology, a main hurdle has been a relatively simple constraint: battery life.

"If you have to recharge them every other hour, then you need so many drones, and you have to orchestrate that. So good luck with that," Frank Appel, the CEO of DHL parent Deutsche Post AG, told the AP last December.
So the main issue is battery life. I'm now imagining self-driving carrier semis for the drones to deploy from, delivering packages to and fro.
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