So it turns out that in Walworth Business Park, Andover there is a food packaging centre that is entirely built to suit robots and not humans. The factory is called the customer fulfilment centre (CFC) and was developed by Ocado’s, the online grocery store, in order to better serve their customers.
The CFC has a choice of over 45 thousand products, and will pack around 3.5 million items and up to 65 thousand orders a week at its full capacity. That is just insane!! The site is around 240 thousand square feet, or just a bit bigger than 7 football pitches. In essence, the majority of the site is set up in a three dimensional grid, where the robots travel around 4m/s and within 5mm of one another.
On occasions, where the containers are difficult to manipulate, the packaging plant has bespoke robot arms designed by Universal Robots. Interestingly these robots have a 3D imaging camera to aid in the packaging process, which most of us already know as an Xbox Kinect. Hey, why waste technology that is already advanced enough for the job you are doing.
One comment that got us thinking was that this is a full system that relies on all components to operate correctly. Similarly the human bodies antibodies and blood cells aren’t considered to be different parts, but parts of a whole person. So using the same logic, arguably of course, this is one massive robot and not 3000 small robots. 🤖👾⌨️🎚➡️⬅️
Have you heard of ‘The Grand Challenge’ by DARPA? The challenge was set up to aid in the development of technologies and to create the first fully autonomous ground vehicles capable of completing a substantial off-road course within a limited time frame. The challenge was started in in 2004 and run in the Mojave dessert, USA. The route followed along a 150-mile (240 km) path of the I15 Interstate, from Barstow, California to the California–Nevada border in Primm.
None of the vehicles that entered the first race finished the route. Carnegie Mellon University’s Car, Sandstorm (a converted Humvee) traveled the farthest distance, completing 11.78 km (7.32 mi) of the course before getting stuck on a rock after making a tight turn. In 2004 there were no winners declared, and the cash prize was not given. As DARPA had intended to give the cash price regardless, a second Grand Challenge event was scheduled for 2005, and the price money was doubled to $2 Million. Runners up in 2nd and 3rd place each received $1 million and $0.5 million respectively.
The challenge provided a great opportunity for for the development of autonomous technologies and gave a lot of people a reason to develop this field. We personally think some of the cars also look very cool and hope you do to!
If you know of any opportunities that have helped push forward AI and robotic technologies then post it below, we will be sure to check them out!
‘Nissan is driving towards carbon neutrality with a world- first EV manufacturing ecosystem’ announced Nissan on twitter this summer, as they unveiled the; Nissan EV36Zero, a £1 billion flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem!
Managed from Sunderland, UK, Nissan EV36Zero will supercharge the company’s desire to achieve carbon neutrality and establish a new 360-degree solution for zero-emission motoring.
The launch began with a £1bn investment by Nissan and its partners Envision AESC and Sunderland City Council. The idea interconnects three initiatives, which bring together electric vehicles, renewable energy, and battery production.
Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer, Makoto Uchida stated: “This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes”.
This initiative aims to greatly accelerate Europe’s drive to achieve carbon neutrality. Isn’t that just what we need right now?
And this is not all, as this idea has been designed for global markets, UK production will be exported to the European markets traditionally served by Nissan’s Sunderland plant, making it truly a drive towards Europe’s carbon neutrality. It has been stated that the new crossover will be built on the Alliance CMF-EV platform, with a forecasted production capacity of up to 100,000 units to be installed.
This means that the production in Sunderland will create 909 new jobs at the plant, and more than 4,500 in the UK supply chain, while further ensuring 75 R&D jobs. Indeed, the transformational project and various investments into producing a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK, takes the total capital investment by Nissan into the plant past a whooping £5bn!!
In fact, by evaluating Nissan’s expertise in crossovers and the worldwide success of the Nissan LEAF, one can already get excited about the upcoming next-generation vehicle styling, efficiency, and battery technology, which will hopefully make the switch to electric driving even more accessible.
However, this project appears to go beyond the promises of the products as the means to create a blueprint, the Sunderland City Council aims in fact to deliver a 100% renewable electricity ‘Microgrid’ that will save 55,000 tonnes of carbon annually!
By combining the existing Nissan wind and solar farms, initial plans suggest there could be as many as ten solar farms created, with an anticipated 132MW generation, and with a direct connection to renewable energy from the UK grid for ‘firm’ supply to Nissan and automotive companies located on the adjacent International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP). However, these plans will continue to be developed and evaluated with potential private sector green investors.
As a debut, this project is estimated to be an £80 million investment, which further includes plans for a 1MW battery storage system using second-life Nissan EV/Envision AESC batteries. If this idea would be to become successful, this would allow for excess energy generated during daylight hours to be captured and used at another time, helping to balance demand on the grid. How amazing does that sound?!
However, now that we know a little bit more about this investment, what are we thinking? Are all those ideas too good to be true? Or maybe, there is something that could be done differently? Let us know what you think!
Python vs C++ what’s the difference? Both python and C++ are programming languages that can be used for procedural or object-oriented programming however were designed for the latter. C++ programs are much faster to run, has a large community and if used correctly can make better use of memory than its python counterpart. Python is fast to develop, doesn’t need a specific design environment and requires no bespoke compilers to operate. Ultimately like most situations, there is a trade-off between performance and ease of use, each program you write will require you to divide which is best. if you have any comments or would like use to talk about a specific subject then leave a comment or send us a message.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is intelligence that is demonstrated by machines. This is in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans or animals.
AI is often defined in many different ways, however the consensus is generally agreed upon 4 types of AI systems.
Reactive AI: Used for simple pattern recognition and is able to function in a scenario with very few, or no unknown quantities. These types of situations mean computations can be done much faster than a human. This is the type of AI that you may find in Echo or Siri devices.
Limited Memory: Can be used to solve for more complex tasks. It uses the history of the data to make predictions of the future. This is the type of AI you’ll find in the current level of self driving vehicles. Arguably this is where all current AI research is located. Theory of Mind: This type of AI is able to understand human reasoning and perspectives. It is able to learn with fewer examples than the previous type of AI and is truly the next milestone in AI development.
Self-Awareness: This is the level of AI where the AI knows of itself, what it is, and how it operates. This is the kind of AI that you will have seen 1000 times in movies and games. We really do think that AI can change the world as we know it and aid us as humans in developing further. All we have to do is work collectively to push the technology forward. Heard of a cool AI, post it in the comments below and we will be sure to check it out!
We just wanted to take a minuture to talk about Cardiff and technology. Were you aware that the first ever radio signal was sent from Lavernock point, Cardiff. That’s the same radio waves that are now used everyday by millions of people. Every phone is based off of the RF technology that was pioneered here in South Wales.
In 1896 Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first ever radio signal 3 miles from Lavernock point across to the lighthouse on Flat Holm Island in the Bristol Channel. Both locations had a 100ft mast with an arial on top. The press had even turned up to witness this amazing feat of Engineering. Ultimately Marconi is known as the inventor of wireless radio and in 1909 won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
A plaque commemorating the achievements of Guglielmo Marconi and his partner, George Kemp can be found in the St Lawrence churchyard, Lavernock, near Cardiff.
If you have any interesting engineering related topics then let us know in the comment below!
One big topic for the world of EV’s is the transfer of pollution. Let’s talk about what this means.
Typically with internal combustion engines (ICE) the pollutants are exhausted. This is strictly controlled by law to ensure vehicles do not harm our atmosphere.
The move to electric vehicles (EV) has come with a lot of negative feedback, people saying that pollution is just transferred to the air around power stations with the increased demand in electricity. This is in someways technically correct however fundamentally flawed thinking.
We think that this is obviously a complex situation however one perspective that we like is that the move to EV’s creates a new situation. Our cities and countries will be transformed. Our health will significantly improved and the data is shows that heart disease, asthma and respiratory problems will all reduce.
With more localised pollution sources stricter and more rigorous control measures can be used to control and compact the pollution and thus rebalance climate change.
Our carbon footprint is something we have control over, it just takes small amounts of commitment that start at home with how we act.
We really want to know your opinions on climate change so like and leave a comment below.
Who is DARPA? DARPA stands for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. They are a research and development department under the US Department of Defence. And are basically in place to find, crest and develop emerging technologies that might stand to better support the US military.
We talk a lot about DARPA project simply because they sit so close to our fundamental goals of driving new and innovative technologies that could change the current status quo. Sometimes DARAPA has been responsible for the robot projects that we adore at AI, for instance Big Dog by Boston Dynamics was a DARPA funded project that ultimately was the taking off point for SPOT, the small yellow now commercially available dog like robot that we have previously spoken about.
DARPA has an annual budget of around $3.4 billion which is just a radical sum of money, but still a drop in the ocean when you compare it with the US defence budget of $715 billion in 2022.
All this money has meant that DARPA is reasonable for the Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine, weather satellites, GPS, drones, stealth technology, voice interfaces, the personal computer and the internet which is a very impressive rap sheet.
If you know of any other cool companies that are related to the work that we do, then post a comment below, we’d love to know more. 😁
Once again, we are looking at the Wales based company, Vortex IOT, and how one of their projects works towards the monitoring and improvment of air quality.
This Swansea based company has designed the next generation of Air Quality Monitoring (AQM) sensors to benefit the industrial sector and for the application of smart cities.
Vortexs’ plan is to use the AQM sensors to ‘empower organisations to reduce pollutants and improve air quality through Digital.’ Vortex are producing the equipment so that companies and councils can monitor and improve their own air quality within their local area’s.
If you know of any other cool technologies or the application of artificial intelligence, then be sure to drop a comment below. We will be excited to look into it.
One company that is absolutely driving the charge in robotic development is Boston Dynamics. You may recognise the name because we have posted a lot of project that have been developed by there teams.
Boston Dynamics (BD) is an American robotics/engineering company that was established in 1992 as an spin off of MIT university, USA. The company has worked with funding from DARPA (the us military research organisation) and has build under Google, Hyundai and numerous other private ventures.
Interestingly Hyundai bought a majority share 80% of BD from the Softbank Group in 2020 for $880 Million, giving the company a value of little over $1 Billion.
So yesterday we posted a few robots by a company that may not seem to be a robotics company, and that is Toyota.
Toyota has always been a respectable and reputable company when it comes to automobiles, but a-lot of people don’t know how many other ventures they are involved in. Toyota actually have a robotics devision called “Partner Robot Division” which comes under there Frontier Research. They look at what gaps are in the market and aim to build robots that can be used in day to day life.
One quote we liked was:
“Our aim is to help society by creating friendly and helpful robots that can co-exist with people and support them in their daily lives”
– Akifumi Tamaoki, General Manager, Partner Robot Division.
If you know of companies that unexpectedly work on robotics and relating projects then why not let us know in the comments below.