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OnStar users now sending Google Maps directions to their cars

Posted in Google by Conner Flynn on July 1st, 2010

Today is a special day. It’s the first day that turn-by-turn capable GM vehicles as old as 2006 can search for destinations using Google Maps and have those destinations sent directly to their vehicles. Proof that some of us are living in a future slightly ahead of the rest of us. Those with GM vehicles.

The OnStar eNav feature is now fully functional and totally Googled. Hopefully other factory navigation systems start doing this very soon.

Lost robot crosses city by asking directions

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on May 14th, 2009

ACE is a robot that will find humans, ask for directions, even interpret the pointing gestures of silly humans to find its way. He even says thank you before going on his way. With ACE, German scientists have shown that robots lost in urban areas don’t need to rely on their own faculties to get from place to place.

This is the real world that the robot is roaming, not a controlled environment. After 5 hours and 38 interactions, ACE reached its destination. So it is actively gathering and using real world data to find it’s way. It doesn’t seem very efficient, but it’s a huge step. As they say, knowledge is power. I’d much rather have a robot that is able to adapt then a dumb machine following a route.

Robot rescues lost souls, searches for his own

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 28th, 2008

Robot helps the lost
If you’re easily lost in large malls, you’ll soon have a robot friend helping you out. Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) based in Osaka has demonstrated a humanoid robot that recognizes people who seem lost and helps them on the spot. His name is Robovie, and he seems 50% creepy and 50% cute. I would want him to help me if I were lost, but I would also be wondering how he plans to disembowel me and take over the world with his machine friends. His Stormtrooper colors don’t help put me at ease, either.

His helpfulness was recently put on display at the Universal Citiwalk in Osaka. In an earmarked area measuring 100 square meters the robot scanned every passerby’s face. He had the help of 16 cameras, 6 laser range finders and 9 RFID tag readers installed in and around the area that acted like eyes and ears. He proceeded to watching 20 people at a time, and read their actions to group them in 10 different categories like waiting, wandering, running, etc.