Weekly News Roundup 29/8/2016

Near Future tech stories this week include Mars simulations, Drones delivering Pizza and Autonomous Taxis in Singapore.

It is all happening for people that are excited about tech on the horizon that represents huge steps in the mainstream adoption. As for the people terrified about the eventual enslavement of the human race under the repressive regime of hyper-smart robots, strap in guys it is coming.

Mars Simulation concludes after a year of isolation.

NASA_HiSEASThere has been an experiment running for just over a year called the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) where a group of 3 men and 3 women have spent the past year in a simulation dome. The project intended to give the sense of isolation and living conditions expected by future crews living and working on the surface
of Mars.

The participants had to perform their research project with limited resources as well as avoid personal conflicts with eachother. The simulation even went to the extent of delaying communications to the outside world by 20 minutes to mirror the time it would take to relay messages from Mars to Earth.

The researchers are now looking forward to swimming in the ocean and enjoying fresh fruit which were not available within the dome.

Original Space.com story here.

Real flying pizzas in New Zealand!

Dominos Pizza has commenced trails in partnership with Flirtey a drone delivery service with the aim to begin food deliveries as soon as CASA is satisfied that the technology is safe.

The service is expected to work alongside the existing delivery services and fill in the gaps where traffic or local conditions might mean that pizza-by-drone is a quicker option.

The hitch with all drone delivery services is that commercial operation of UAV or Drones is subject to a lot of rules and regulations to ensure the safety of the general public so there are a heap of hoops to jump through. Regardless, Dominos Pizza NZ demonstrated pizza delivery by Flirtey Drone in the presence of Cival Aviation Authority and Minister of Transport  Simon Bridges.

Pizza Delivery is an ideal start to put drones to the test as the typical package is 2 kilograms and low cost so testing can happen as frequently as the technology will allow.

For now, have a look at the video of the delivery on a rainy NZ day.

Story from Techau.com.au here.

Look out UBER, nuTonomy just beat you to the world’s first self-driving taxi.

nutonomy_AVJust when the taxi industry could not be under more pressure, nuTonomy a small Singaporean MIT spin-off has launched it’s public beta tests in the One North business district of the city state.

The small fleet of cars consisting of the Renault Zoe and Mistubishi i-MiEV will pick up and drop off members of the public for free while an engineer is in the drivers seat to observe the systems and if needed take control of the wheel.

NuTonomy is aiming for a fully self-driving fleet by 2018 that will dovetail into Singapore’s “Smart City” program. Singapore’s high density and small size is an idea area to really put the self driving technology to the test.

Original techcrunch article here.

UPDATE : UBER has announced recently that they will be testing Self Driving technology in Pittsburgh and sightings have already revealed an UBER vehicle with strange equipment on the roof of the car pretty much giving away the autonomous vehicle in the wild.