Tag Archives: Computer System

Driver? What Driver?

by Richard

Perhaps you dudes have heard, but there’s a reason I’m not going back to Las Vegas or, really, anywhere in Nevada for a long, long while.

Turns out, Nevada just agreed to let Google’s driverless cars operate on public streets in that state. Yeah, driverless cars.

Cars controlled by computer systems, just like the computer system that controls your computer. You know, the one that keeps crashing? The one that can’t keep running without a patch or an update every 13.2 seconds? Yeah, that one.

On Monday, Nevada became the first to approve a license for “autonomous vehicles” — in other words, cars that cruise, twist and turn without the need for a driver — on its roads.

In a 2010 post on Google’s official blog, engineer and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun said that the self-driving vehicle project aims “to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.”

He noted that the “automated cars use video cameras, radio sensors and a laser range finder to ‘see’ other traffic, as well as detailed maps … to navigate the road ahead.” There is no driver needed, though one is typically in the front seat ready to take control if need be.

As of this spring, Google researchers had supposedly logged more than 200,000 miles of test driving for the driverless vehicle, which uses a suite of sensors and cameras, coordinated by collision avoidance software, to monitor the surrounding area and direct the direction and speed of the vehicle.

Other than the fact that there’s no one sitting behind the wheel, the only other way to tell one of these cars is to look for the red license tag with AU on it. The AU stands for autonomous vehicle. Although, shouldn’t that be AV? Well, whatever.

So, yeah. I think I’ll be staying out of the state for a while. I already worry that there’s brain-dead drivers on the road. Now I’ve got to be concerned with the completely, literally, brain-less drivers? No thanks.

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Iron Man

Honestly? think there are people in Japan who are deliberately trying to mess with my head. And not in a good way. It seems there’s a company there named Cyberdyne, Inc. that’s building a robotic exo-skeleton. That’s very close to robots and we all know about Cyberdyne and robots, right? Seriously? Cyberdyne designed the Skynet computer system that brings about Judgement Day in the Terminator movie franchise.

Yeah, truth really is stranger than fiction. Or at least much, much scarier.

So the fictional Cyberdyne makes Skynet, which goes rogue, which then causes nuclear armageddon, which leads to a war of extermination against the remaining humans, which leads to the Governator going back in time to kill the mother of the leader of the resistance before that leader can even be born. “Ah’ll be bock” and all that. Which leads to another Governator coming back in time to save the leader of the resistance as a young teenager (Hasta la vista, baybee), which leads to a really bad movie, which leads to the reboot of the franchise with Batman playing the part of the leader of the resistence. (See, not so complicated.) So, yeah, call me more than a little freaked out. It’s like they know the feelings behind the name and are doing it to mess with, well, me.

The (so far) not-so-fictional Cyberdyne, however, seems more interested in copying Iron Man than in copying the Terminator. They’ve built a slick-looking white exo-skeleton that representatives say will actually increase human speed, strength and endurance, while also, possibly, filling in for missing limbs. Here’s a look at it.

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A prototype of the exoskeleton suit is designed for the small in stature, standing five feet, three inches (1.6 meters) tall. The suit weighs 50.7 pounds (23 kilograms) and is powered by a 100-volt AC battery (that lasts up to five hours, depending upon how much energy the suit exerts).

Sure, this all sounds well and good, but it’s still made by an evil corporation that’s destined to end the world in nuclear fire and unleash killer robots on us all. Maybe not such a good thing. I have to go now as the microwave is starting to make some rather unsettling demands.

— Richard, who’s toaster is making some very suspicious noises.

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