Loser: Why the Chevy Volt Will Fizzle

General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt hybrid car is a courageous design, but it won’t make money

5 min read
Illustration by MCKIBILLO
Illustration: MCKIBILLO

This is part of IEEE Spectrum’s special report: Winners & Losers VII

img Illustration: MCKIBILLO

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Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine Turns 200

Error-riddled astronomical tables inspired the first computer—and the first vaporware

7 min read
An intricate metal clockwork consisting of columns of toothed gears on a rectangular wooden base.

During Charles Babbage’s lifetime, this 2,000-part clockwork was as near to completion as his Difference Engine ever got.

Science Museum Group

It was an idea born of frustration, or at least that’s how Charles Babbage would later recall the events of the summer of 1821. That fateful summer, Babbage and his friend and fellow mathematician John Herschel were in England editing astronomical tables. Both men were founding members of the Royal Astronomical Society, but editing astronomical tables is a tedious task, and they were frustrated by all of the errors they found. Exasperated, Babbage exclaimed, “I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam.” To which Herschel replied, “It is quite possible.“

Babbage and Herschel were living in the midst of what we now call the Industrial Revolution, and steam-powered machinery was already upending all types of business. Why not astronomy too?

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Inventor of the First AI System That Could Read Handwriting Dies at 72

IEEE also mourns the loss of other members

3 min read

A photo of a man in a dark jacket in glasses.  University at Buffalo

Sargur “Hari” Srihari

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Bridge the Gaps in Your ADAS Test Strategy

Full-scene emulation in the lab is key to developing robust radar sensors and algorithms needed to realize ADAS capabilities

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

Achieving the next level in vehicle autonomy demands robust algorithms trained to interpret radar reflections from automotive radar sensors. Overcome the gaps between software simulation and roadway testing to train the ADAS / AV algorithms with real-world conditions. Sharpen your ADAS' radar vision with full-scene emulation that allows you to lab test complex real-world scenario, while emulating up to 512 objects at distances as close as 1.5 meters.

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