Eye on AI - January 29th, 2021
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
This week is all about future AI as we look at two new AI programs, including AI robot dogs and jet-powered taxis, that may be closer to mass adoption than you might expect.
New AI Robot Dog Protects, Leads and Interacts Socially with Owners
We begin with a curious story out of CNET through the article titled “AI helps this Koda social robot dog sense human emotions,” which discusses a new robot dog that can act as a seeing-eye dog or guard dog and companion with the ability to process complex problems, learn new skills, and, unlike other ‘robot dogs,’ react to human emotions with a blockchain-enabled decentralized AI infrastructure.
"It is a functional piece of home technology, a family pet and a piece of art, all at once," Koda CEO Emma Russell said in a statement. ".... it evolves from a puppy-like state to a robotic dog with the intelligence of a supercomputer."
Unlike many other internet of things devices that are connected to a home network, the Koda dog uses Blockchain to record and store information, meaning that the data it collects isn’t stored in a central location, but is copied and spread across a network of computers to ensure the data is secure. This decentralized approach means the data the robot collects is private and can’t be shared or hacked.
While a robot dog might seem off-putting to some, the idea might have more ‘legs’ than you might expect at a time when many people are feeling especially isolated and vulnerable due to the pandemic. For the aging, a relatively care-free, smart companion could be just the respite they need. The price tag –– at the moment the robot dog costs from $45,000 to $55,000 –– seems somewhat prohibitive. But the benefit may be worth it for some. Check out the dog in action and judge for yourself here.
Jet-Powered Electric Taxi Startup Set to Open Locations in Florida
We conclude with a bit of news those Jetson-enthusiasts out there will be happy to hear. According to the Bloomberg article “Jet-Powered Flying Taxi Startup To Develop Hubs Across Florida,” German startup Lilium GmbH recently struck a deal to build a network of at least 10 so-called vertiports to serve their fleet of five-seat all-electric jet taxis in Florida’s major population centers, including Miami and Tampa.
“.... the pay-per-ride services will be emission-free, five times faster than a car, and produce less noise than a motorbike,” writes Bloomberg contributor Christopher Jasper. “The aircraft’s battery will have a 300-kilometer (186-mile) range; initial flights will feature a pilot but can also operate in drone mode.”
In 2019, we reported that Lilium’s taxis might be emerging into the markets within the next six years. This news certainly builds on that idea. While there are no announcements on when the vertiports will be up and running, the company hopes to expand into numerous markets by 2025.
The jet taxi rides are expected to cost roughly the same as a limo ride from the airport. It’s difficult to imagine jet taxis flooding the skies any time soon. However, should they prove safe and unobtrusive (they’re noise-minimal, for the record), they could prove to be an fast, effective and environmentally friendly means of transportation in the near future.
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