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Forget Autonomous Cars—Autonomous Ships Are Almost Here

If Rolls-Royce has its way, commercial vessels will soon have no crew on board

10 min read
Illustration: Eddie Guy
Illustration: Eddie Guy
Red

It's midnight on the North Atlantic, where a massive container ship receives the latest weather report. There's a nasty storm brewing ahead. Quietly, the ship changes course and speed, to skirt the worst of it and ensure an on-time arrival at its destination. The ship's owners and the harbormaster at its next port of call are advised of the revised route. And as it nears shore, the giant ship must correct course once again, this time to steer clear of a fishing vessel off its starboard bow.

Just another day for trans-Atlantic shipping, it might seem. In fact, it's not. You see, this ship has no one aboard. It's commanded from an operating center on the other side of the world, where technicians are monitoring and controlling this vessel and others like it through a satellite data link—that is, when the ship isn't just controlling itself.

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iRobot CEO Colin Angle on Data Privacy and Robots in the Home

In light of Amazon's recent acquisition, we revisit our 7 September 2017 Q&A with iRobot's CEO

8 min read
iRobot CEO Colin Angle.
iRobot CEO Colin Angle.
Photo: iRobot

Editor's note: Last week, Amazon announced that it was acquiring iRobot for $1.7 billion, prompting questions about how iRobot's camera-equipped robot vacuums will protect the data that they collect about your home. In September of 2017, we spoke with iRobot CEO Colin Angle about iRobot's approach to data privacy, directly addressing many similar concerns. "The views expressed in the Q&A from 2017 remain true," iRobot told us. "Over the past several years, iRobot has continued to do more to strengthen, and clearly define, its stance on privacy and security. It’s important to note that iRobot takes product security and customer privacy very seriously. We know our customers invite us into their most personal spaces—their homes—because they trust that our products will help them do more. We take that trust seriously."

Story from 7 September 2017 follows:

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New EV Prototype Leaves Range Anxiety in the Dust

Mercedes-Benz’s Vision EQXX completed a record-breaking 747-mile run in May

5 min read
a silver car driving down the road with a mountain of switchbacks behind it

The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX

Mercedes-Benz

Not long ago, a 300-mile range seemed like a healthy target for electric cars. More recently, the 520-mile (837-kilometer) Lucid Air became the world’s longest-range EV. But that record may not stand for long.

The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX, and its showroom-bound tech, looks to banish range anxiety for good: In April, the sleek prototype sedan completed a 621-mile (1,000-km) trek through the Alps from Mercedes’s Sindelfingen facility to the Côte d’Azur in Cassis, France, with battery juice to spare. It built on that feat in late May, when the prototype covered a world-beating, bladder-busting 747 miles (1,202 km) in a run from Germany to the Formula One circuit in Silverstone, England.

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General Purpose IOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

Understand the safety mechanisms in an automotive-ready GPIO IP library suite to detect the faults in GPIO cells

1 min read
GPIOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

The prevalence and complexity of electronics and software in automotive applications are increasing with every new generation of cars. The critical functions within the system on a chip (SoC) involve hardware and software that perform automotive-related signal communication at high data rates to and from the components off-chip. Every SoC includes general purpose IOs (GPIOs) on its periphery.

For automotive SoCs, GPIO IP is typically developed as Safety Element out of Context and delivered with a set of Assumptions of Use. It is important that the GPIO blocks are treated as a safety related logic. In this role, GPIOs need safety analysis to mitigate any faults occurring in them before the result of fault occurrence causes a system-wide failure.

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