Google wins patent for driverless car technology

first_img © 2011 The patent describes how the car can know where it is located and which direction to drive. The car would arrive at a specific location and once reaching a “landing strip” could show acceptable parking places for the vehicle. Additionally the strip may tell the vehicle that it is parked in a region where it can transition into autonomous mode. The car could get helpful information from Internet-driven data about other spaces available, or which direction to move for the next part of the trip. The patent presents an example of the vehicle providing a tour of Millennium Park in Chicago The machine could be programmed to stop at a sculpture for five minutes, move to a fountain for five minutes and then to the ice rink for a pre-set amount of time, before returning to its starting point. “Disclosed are methods and devices for transitioning a mixed-mode autonomous vehicle from a human driven mode to an autonomously driven mode” says the patent. “Transitioning may include stopping a vehicle on a predefined landing strip and detecting a reference indicator. Based on the reference indicator, the vehicle may be able to know its exact position. Additionally, the vehicle may use the reference indictor to obtain an autonomous vehicle instruction via a URL. After the vehicle knows its precise location and has an autonomous vehicle instruction, it can operate in autonomous mode. “For Google watchers, the patent victory is an easy reminder of all the publicity that the company has enjoyed over its ambitious dream project of driverless cars. Google has used a fleet of cars clocking 190,000 miles on highways, in city traffic and on roads in demonstrating how successful driverless cars can be. Earlier this year, Google also set up a demo system on its campus to show off driverless golf carts that communicate with sensors. Google’s project leaders are convinced that smarter vehicles equipped with specially designed sensors, artificial intelligence, video cameras, and other sophisticated tools could help to make transportation safer.Of the many reports about the patent victory, BBC’s report has raised the question of how the patent might possibly be used. “The patent will allow Google to restrict other companies from using a similar method to switch their cars between human-controlled and automatic modes. Alternatively, it could charge them a fee for a licence.” ( — News surfaced this week that Google has won a patent for driverless car technology. Google filed the patent in May this year. The application is titled “Transitioning a Mixed-mode Vehicle to Autonomous Mode.” The patent presents a method listing numerous “embodiments” suggested, for a vehicle that switches from being driven by a human to moving, stopping, and parking autonomously. Explore further Citation: Google wins patent for driverless car technology (2011, December 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from With human behind wheel, Google’s self-driving car crashes This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Ecologist finds shimmery insects more difficult for bird to catch

first_img More information: Interference coloration as an anti-predator defence, Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0159AbstractInterference coloration, in which the perceived colour varies predictably with the angle of illumination or observation, is extremely widespread across animal groups. However, despite considerable advances in our understanding of the mechanistic basis of interference coloration in animals, we still have a poor understanding of its function. Here, I show, using avian predators hunting dynamic virtual prey, that the presence of interference coloration can significantly reduce a predator’s attack success. Predators required more pecks to successfully catch interference-coloured prey compared with otherwise identical prey items that lacked interference coloration, and attacks against prey with interference colours were less accurate, suggesting that changes in colour or brightness caused by prey movement hindered a predator’s ability to pinpoint their exact location. The pronounced anti-predator benefits of interference coloration may explain why it has evolved independently so many times. Many animals and insects have a shimmering exterior where they have coloring that appears to change in color, hue and/or intensity depending on distance and angle. Biological scientists have sought for many years to explain why such coloring, which they call interference coloring, has come about. Some have suggested it has to do with mating, or species identification. Others have gone so far as to suggest that for some it serves as a thermal regulator. In this new effort, Pike suggests that it might be a means of warding off prey.To learn more, Pike chose to study Japanese quail, because they eat bugs and because they are relatively easy to train. He first trained several volunteer birds to peck at a simulated bug crawling across a computer driven touch screen—doing so successfully resulted in the bird winning a mealworm. Next, he changed the look of the bug on the screen to resemble the coloring of a green bottle fly, which of course has interference coloring and then tested the change in difficulty of the birds trying to peck it. He found that when the bugs were trying to peck the bugs with the special coloring, it took them on average four pecks to get it right, versus two and a half pecks for the plain colored bugs. This he claims, shows that the interference coloring makes it more difficult for the bird to make out its prey. He found that when the birds missed, they tended to miss by a wider margin when pecking at the specially colored bugs as well.Of course, it is a long way from computer screen to the natural world, as Pike readily acknowledges, but his results have shown enough to indicate that similar experiments will likely be conducted in the wild at some point to see if interference coloring really does make it more difficult to be caught. Citation: Ecologist finds shimmery insects more difficult for bird to catch (2015, April 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further Being more colorful found to be disadvantage for female plover © 2015 Phys.orglast_img read more

Researcher explores the current state of domestic animal cloning

first_imgResearchers are able to clone domestic animals using various techniques, including embryo splitting and nuclear transfer, but the expense and inherent inefficiencies of most cloning processes have limited procedures to research and certain agricultural activities. Carol L. Keefer of the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences of the University of Maryland has contributed a paper to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that provides a contextual overview of the innovations and contributions of cloning while seeking to answer an important question: If cloning is impractical and inefficient as a means of producing animals, and in the absence of societal acceptance for transgenic products, how is artificial cloning being used? Credit: Noël Zia Lee, Wikimedia Commons Explore further Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) involves the implantation of a donor nucleus into an enucleated oocyte to produce a viable embryo. It was through SCNT techniques that Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996. That accomplishment shook the foundations of genetic science, but it also highlighted the major inefficiency of SCNT, as Dolly was the only live offspring resulting from 29 transferred embryos. Multiple barriers to artificial cloning, including epigenetic changes that occur during development that researchers are only beginning to understand, prevent its viability for the efficient production of domestic animals.While the concept of artificial cloning evokes images of identical, factory-produced animals, such science fiction ideas are still wildly beyond the means of researchers. Artificial cloning has instead been used to reproduce breeding stock from animals with advantageous genotypes and to produce fertile clones from sterile animals. Keefer points out that in Texas, beef cattle have been “resurrected” based on their carcass traits. But the mass production of domestic animals is inhibited by a number of developmental genetic hurdles, and only an estimated five to 15 percent of transferred embryos actually result in live offspring.However, SCNT techniques are quite advantageous for the production of transgenic animals. Multiple methods are used to produce transgenic mice expressing desired traits for scientific research. Transgenic cattle, sheep, and pigs have been produced expressing desirable industrial proteins like spider silk, and increased nutrients in milk. Keefer also cites a study in which the prion protein that causes mad cow disease was knocked out in transgenic cattle using SCNT. Yet, only a single product from a transgenic animal has been approved for sale in the United States—the biotherapeutic protein antithrombin. “Whether transgenic animals ever fulfill the animal production-related promise researchers envisaged will depend on societal acceptance and revised regulatory guidelines,” Keefer writes. Instead, the chief value derived from transgenic animals is in scientific research, including such developments as cloned pigs that have served as controls and recipients for neural stem cells in work toward spinal cord repair.Because SCNT is so inefficient, much research has been devoted to improving techniques, and the result has been a number of answers to basic questions in developmental and reproductive biology. For instance, SCNT was used to determine the role of foreign paternal antigens in the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy—researchers demonstrated that a mare could carry to term a pregnancy initiated by her identical clone, implying that foreign paternal antigens are not necessary for establishing such a viable pregnancy.Noting the value of SCNT research for answering basic science questions, Keefer concludes, “Future studies taking advantage of such unique research opportunities provided by SCNT may help answer questions and solve technical issues in reproductive medicine and regenerative studies.” From a drop of blood, a clone Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienceslast_img read more

Researchers suggest airlines could halve emissions by 2050 by making costeffective adjustments

first_img Norwegian airline green, British Airways less clean: study Citation: Researchers suggest airlines could halve emissions by 2050 by making cost-effective adjustments (2015, November 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Nature Climate Change Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (—A small team of researchers from University College London, the University of California, and MIT, is suggesting that U.S. airlines could cut their emissions in half over the next thirty five years by making changes that would actually save them money. In their paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the team describes their research and the changes they believe could be made and the reductions and savings that could result if the major airlines would take their advice.center_img More information: Andreas W. Schäfer, Antony D. Evans, Tom G. Reynolds & Lynnette Dray, Costs of mitigating CO2 emissions from passenger aircraft, Nature Climate Change, © 2015 Boeing 737-700 jet airliner. Credit: Wikipedia/Arcturu To better understand what airlines could do to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (which amount to approximately 2 to 3 percent of the global total) the researchers looked at information from airline industry sources, papers written by academics and other studies that have been done on the topic. They found that concentrating on narrow-body aircraft made the most sense as they accounted for nearly 75 percent of gas usage. After analyzing all the information, they came up with 14 things airlines could do to cut emissions.One of the ideas was to keep planes at the gate until their turn comes to take off instead of making them idle on the runway, others included using fewer engines when taxiing or better yet, electric motors, cleaning engines more often, or reducing weight by lowering the amounts of contingency fuel used, or replacing seats with those made from lighter materials. They also suggest flying with more passengers, retiring older planes, replacing brakes with those made from lighter materials and adding blended winglets (those little upturns on the ends of wings). Other ways to reduce emissions could include making changes in the air, such as updating flight paths so that planes could fly more direct routes and adjusting altitude and speed to avoid turbulence that causes drag. There is also the possibly of switching to synthetic fuels if it becomes feasible.The researchers note that their ideas are based on the current price of jet fuel, if prices rise, airlines could benefit more by making changes, whereas they may be stifled by dropping prices. They also acknowledge that many airlines are already making some of the changes they have suggested, which bodes well for passengers, because it could mean shorter flights, less waiting on the ground, and perhaps even lower ticket prices.last_img read more

Solving systems of linear equations with quantum mechanics

first_img(—Physicists have experimentally demonstrated a purely quantum method for solving systems of linear equations that has the potential to work exponentially faster than the best classical methods. The results show that quantum computing may eventually have far-reaching practical applications, since solving linear systems is commonly done throughout science and engineering. Journal information: Physical Review Letters Citation: Solving systems of linear equations with quantum mechanics (2017, June 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2017 The physicists, led by Haohua Wang at Zhejiang University and Chao-Yang Lu and Xiaobo Zhu at the University of Science and Technology of China, along with their coauthors from various institutions in China, have published their paper on what they refer to as a “quantum linear solver” in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.”For the first time, we have demonstrated a quantum algorithm for solving systems of linear equations on a superconducting quantum circuit,” Lu told “[This is] one of the best solid-state platforms with excellent scalability and remarkable high fidelity.”The quantum algorithm they implemented is called the Harrow, Hassidim, and Lloyd (HHL) algorithm, which was previously shown to have the ability, in principle, to lead to an exponential quantum speedup over classical algorithms. However, so far this has not been experimentally demonstrated.In the new study, the scientists showed that a superconducting quantum circuit running the HHL algorithm can solve the simplest type of linear system, which has two equations with two variables. The method uses just four qubits: one ancilla qubit (a universal component of most quantum computing systems), and three qubits that correspond to the input vector b and the two solutions represented by the solution vector x in the standard linear system Ax = b, where A is a 2 x 2 matrix. By performing a series of rotations, swappings of states, and binary conversions, the HHL algorithm determines the solutions to this system, which can then be read out by a quantum nondemolition measurement. The researchers demonstrated the method using 18 different input vectors and the same matrix, generating different solutions for different inputs. As the researchers explain, it is too soon to tell how much faster this quantum method might work since these problems are easily solved by classical methods.”The whole calculation process takes about one second,” Zhu said. “It is hard to directly compare the current version to the classical methods now. In this work, we showed how to solve the simplest 2 x 2 linear system, which can be solved by classical methods in a very short time. The key power of the HHL quantum algorithm is that, when solving an ‘s-sparse’ system matrix of a very large size, it can gain an exponential speed-up compared to the best classical method. Therefore, it would be much more interesting to show such a comparison when the size of the linear equation is scaled to a very large system.”The researchers expect that, in the future, this quantum circuit could be scaled up to solve larger linear systems. They also plan to further improve the system’s performance by making some straightforward adjustments to the device fabrication to reduce some of the error in its implementation. In addition, the researchers want to investigate how the circuit could be used to implement other quantum algorithms for a variety of large-scale applications. “Our future research will focus on improving the hardware performance, including longer coherence times, higher precision logic gates, larger numbers of qubits, lower crosstalk, better readout fidelity, etc.,” Wang said. “Based on the improvement of the hardware, we will demonstrate and optimize more quantum algorithms to really show the power of the superconducting quantum processor.” Physicists uncover similarities between classical and quantum machine learningcenter_img (Left) False color photomicrograph and (right) simplified circuit diagram of the superconducting quantum circuit for solving 2 × 2 linear equations. The method uses four qubits, marked Q1 to Q4, with four corresponding readout resonators, marked R1 to R4. Credit: Zheng et al. © 2017 American Physical Society This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Yarui Zheng et al. “Solving Systems of Linear Equations with a Superconducting Quantum Processor.” Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.210504. Also at arXiv:1703.06613 [quant-ph] Explore furtherlast_img read more

Been there seen that

Kiran Uttam Ghosh should now start looking for inspirations. The Spring Summer androgyny look that she presented on Saturday can best be described as ‘been there, done that’. The flower prints, which she is calling ‘ghosts of flowers’ this time round, also need serious afterthoughts. Nevertheless, Ghosh showcased layered jackets, angrakhas, sequinned pajamas, waistcoats, kaftan dresses and sarong saris in monochromes interspersed by bursts of colour. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Just when one had almost forgotten that Poonam Bhagat ‘also designs’ apart from being a regular at every party, bang came the designer on the Pragati Maidan ramp with a fairly impressive collection that was inspired by Central Asian suzanis [handcrafted embroidered fabrics]. Structuring and detailing formed the leitmotifs of Bhagat’s ensembles. They were edgy and contemporary. The collection opened with a ‘lamp’ dress in black cotton silk with embroidered rice motif. This was followed by an origami cloud dress with appliquéed yoke. Bhagat stuck to cottons, chanderis, tie and dye and cotton silks and monochromes. read more

Insight to 71 Bengal

first_imgArt, music, dance are just a few ways of expressing one’s emotions in a way that people connect to it. Theatre among all the performing arts is one that can actually make one smile, laugh, excited and if done well, it can also make one cry. A strong topic is a must for a play to be a success. And here we have in the Capital, produced by People’s Theatre Group, Abaar Ekattor, meaning ‘71 Again. It  is one of the most critically acclaimed play across the country. It goes back to the horrifying days of 1971 when the human race in east was paralysed by famine, war and birth of Bangladesh from the womb of sacrifices. The migration of millions to India led to instability and borders were drawn with political knives. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The change that is perceived to be happening is a mirage of political extravaganza that overshadows the lives of people. Polarisation and bifurcation of human ideologies summons the change that tears apart human characteristics. Toying with the current mockery of democracy by the politicians and religious intimidators, the play begins and ends with journey of four lives that have travelled through different situations since 1971. The time has changed but the process of living through fallacies of democracy has not gone beyond times. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAfter more than four decades of those dark days, similar issues have come back to haunt us, only in a discreet tone. The bifurcation of India into new states and new castes have taken out those knives which might be rusted but has not lost its illumined features. Regional and religious conflicts, rotten grains, unfathomed prices for necessities, corrupt axis of power and growing discontent over the very existence of constitution, mark the return of those days. Abaar Ekattor is written and directed by one of the most people oriented contemporary dramatist, Niloy Roy. He has gained many a critical appreciation for his other plays. Iti Krishna, Chotushpod, Jam, Typewriter, Ekti Ayena O Duti Oboyob are just a few to mention. Swapner Shohor – City of Dreams was a play that emphasises on greed, lust and growing urban facade over simplistic human need, the playwright emerges as much more valiant in Abaar ‘71. With the kind of appreciation it received, a formidable performance is expected this time too. Don’t miss this.last_img read more

Govt bolsters infrastructure in bid to boost tourism in Murshidabad Malda

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to attract more tourists to the historical places of Murshidabad and Malda, the state Tourism department has taken up major infrastructural development in both the districts.The department has taken steps to upgrade the existing tourist lodges in the districts into three-star category holiday homes. There are also plansto build up connectivity between all the tourist places in Murshidabad through waterways.Houseboats will also be introduced in Murshidabad. This tourism circuit has been named as a ‘place of historical importance’. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeState Tourism minister Goutam Deb recently held a high level meeting with the senior administrative officials. He also took stock of the ongoing works for setting up the tourism circuit, covering all the places of historical importance in Murshidabad. He also visited various historical places in the district to monitor their condition.It may be mentioned here that the state government has already announced tourism circuits in Bengal, covering the places having historical significance across the state. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe minister had earlier announced that his department will develop a tourism circuit covering places in Murshidabad and Malda, where there are so many historical places.The tourism circuit will also cover Plassey in Nadia district, where the British had won a decisive battle in 1757 over the Nawab of Bengal and historical sites of Hazar Duari and Lal Bagh in Murshidabad.The circuit will also cover Adina Mosque and Buddhist Stupa in Malda and Motijheel in Murshidabad. The senior administrative officials in the districts have been asked to monitor the project. Various fairs will also be organised in the districts to attract more tourists.Another tourism sector is being developed at Bishnupur in Bankura, which is famous for terracotta temples belonging to the 17th and 18th centuries and Mukutmanipur, where the second biggest earth dam of the country is located.It may also be mentioned here that various degree and diploma courses on tourism would be introduced in educational institutions. Skill development programmes would also be started in various districts.During the Left front regime, the budget allotment for the tourism sector remained at Rs 40 crore, but during the tenure of Mamata Banerjee government, the figure has gone up to Rs 275 crore, the minister said.last_img read more

IIT Kharagpur student found hanging in hostel room

first_imgKolkata: An IIT-Kharagpur student, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, was found hanging inside his room, police said on Friday. “Gangireddy Hanimi Reddy, the second-year M.Tech student, was found hanging on Wednesday night. Initial probe suggests suicide but only the autopsy report can reveal how he actually died,” a senior police official of West Midnapore district said. According to the police, the security guards at the institute were informed by the students that Reddy’s room was locked for a long time. “The family members are not ready to accept that Reddy had committed suicide and they demanded a detailed probe,” the official added.last_img read more