The Royal Shakespeare Company is partnering with Intel and The Imaginarium Studio for a new production of The Tempest featuring virtual reality. That means a role for live motion-capture performance – aka that of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings – with the character of Ariel the sprite rendered as an animated character on stage via a an avatar powered by motion-sensor control.
Transport operator Keolis has allied with French driverless-EV maker Navya to put an autonomous passenger vehicle, the Arma, on Las Vegas’ streets – the first self-driving bus to transit passengers on public roads in the US. People can ride on the shuttle as it travels along east Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Eighth Street, alongside regular street traffic during a week-long trial.
Google has brought down its solar-drone project aimed at bringing Internet access to remote parts of the globe. The move means a grounding for an initiative which saw moonshot research company X, operated by Google holding company Alphabet, acquire Titan Aerospace, a maker of ‘atmospheric satellites’ able to fly at altitudes up to 20kms, back in 2014.Titan resources are now being redeployed on the balloon-based Loon Net-access programme and Project Wing drone-delivery platform.
While artificial intelligence could potentially help solve global challenges ranging from climate change and resource utilisation to the impact of population growth and healthcare issues, potential dangers include mismanagement, design vulnerabilities, accidents and unforeseen occurrences, warns the World Economic Forum in its latest Global Risks report. The WEF adds that these pose serious challenges to ensuring the security and safety of individuals, governments and enterprises.
BMW, Daimler, Ford and VW are joining forces to build around 400 next-generation charging stations across Europe this year that will enable an electric car to be charged in a matter of minutes rather than hours. The planned superfast 350kW chargers will be developed together with specialists at Innogy, E.ON and Siemens in Germany, along with Portugal’s Efacec, while a number of leading energy providers are expected to come onboard the fast-charge initiative.
Synthetic foods and cellular agriculture are set to enter the mainstream in 2017. That means more plant-based proteins re-engineered to simulate meat-like experiences, along with breakthroughs in tissue engineering and synthetic biology to grow food in laboratory environments, Andreas Markdalen, principal design director at Frog, tells Fast Company. This means a broad range of new plant-based meat replacements in grocery stores extending well beyond the vegan aisle.
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network have launched a $27 million fund to support research into the development of artificial intelligence in light of the humanities and social sciences. The MIT Media Lab and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard will be the lead academic institutions for the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund which will back AI ethics initiatives both in the US and internationally.
Intel is taking a 15% stake in digital maps outfit Here – formerly a Nokia unit but now owned by Audi, BMW, Audi and Daimler – with the two companies looking to collaborate on the research and development of real-time updates of high-definition maps for highly and fully automated driving. The idea here is that HD mapping will support localisation to within centimetres to help vehicles precisely position themselves on the roadway to enable more reliable autonomous driving.