Every innovation primarily makes the World a better place, but also brings about the end to certain aspects in things as we know them. Autonomous or driverless car or robotic driving is coming, and promises to revolutionize the concept of transportation with exceptional safety, added comfort, and reduced travel-time. All prominent automotive brands are currently developing their prototype of autonomous cars but will this innovation also mean an end to sports cars? The human element to driving is at the backbone of sports cars, exploring the sheer abilities of an individual behind the steering wheel, something autonomous driving is challenging head-on. Two brands, Porsche and Mazda, have decided not to indulge in the driverless car frenzy just yet, foreseeing a different future.
Mazda Remains Focused on Driving and Racing
Mazda is aiming to apply the driverless technology uniquely, reiterating its tagline “Driving Matters.” According to the CEO of Mazda, Masahiro Moro, the company remains completely focused on niche consumers who love driving and promises to maintain a human-centric approach. The technology being developed by Mazda aspires to override the controls in case of a misshapen or human error, and bring the car to a safe place.
Porsche Asserts Autonomous Driving Not a New Concept
Porsche’s CEO, Klaus Zellmer, agrees with the bandwagon but refuses to jump on it, asserting that autonomous driving began decades ago with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Though the engineers at Porsche are also working toward a press-the-button-and-reach-home concept, customers will always be able to choose between autonomy and manual shifting. Zellmer insists that autonomous driving is more of a feature of stability management, like brake assist, and the frenzy behind it is mostly overhyped!
As Microsoft sends out the invitation for its Spring Event on May 2 in New York, rumors suggest that CloudBook with Windows 10 Cloud could be unveiled. Since the company’s invitation was supported by a hashtag “#MicrosoftEDU”, it’s likely that the event will be focused on the education sector, which has long been a Google stronghold.
Windows 10 Cloud is expected to be Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chromebook, which is earning credits with its low cost. Industrial experts believe that Microsoft may have learned a good lesson from the old Windows RT OS, which was a grand failure a few years back. With Windows 10 Cloud, users will only be able to download apps from the Windows Online Store, both Universal Windows Platform apps and Win32 apps.
The story behind the name “CloudBook”?
Recently, Microsoft released a collection of educational apps in its store under the ID of “cloudbook”, which made ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley first speculate that the new device might be called “CloudBook”. Rumors also suggest that the new device will utilize an ARM processor, possibly the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. The processor will reduce costs and offer a machine that will be long-lasting and complement the working environment in a classroom.
These are all just conjectures, of course. However, numerous questions have started popping up from all directions regarding battery life, storage, and cost. Another prominent question is whether this device will be as advanced as Surface Book. We’ll have to wait for the answers to such questions until the event to see what Microsoft actually has to offer us from its bag of tricks.
The uses and applications of robotics in the medical industry have significantly increased in the past few years and a number of innovative products in this area are making inroads, at least on experimental basis, in the global market. In a recent development, the famed Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced that it has designed a robotic leg, named Welwalk WW-1000, to help disabled people walk. The device has a mechanical frame, which fits the patient’s leg below the knee. The patients can practice to walk with the help of a special treadmill with the robotic leg.
The new device was demonstrated by the company in its Tokyo headquarters the previous week. Scientists at the country’s Fujita Health University helped Toyota design the robotic leg. The device is to be fitted on one leg of patients who are suffering from paralysis on one side of the body due to a disease or a stroke.
An Intelligent System
The device is attached to patient’s thigh, ankle, and knee using a strap and uses a motor to help bend and straighten patient’s knee. Sensors in the device provide real-time data about what is happening and the medical staff can control the system through a remote screen. Designers of the device state that the action helps barely enough, which is a good thing as too much of help can slow down the recovery for patients.
This device could help common paralysis caused due to health issues such as strokes that can happen to geriatrics. As Japan’s population increasingly ages, with around 26% of the country’s population over the age of 65 in 2015, this device could witness high demand after it hits the market. Toyota expects that the device will be seen in medical centers in the country through a rental program by the end of this year.
Post its exit from the European Union, Britain is planning to scrap EU’s ambitious green energy targets the Union had set to be fulfilled individually by member countries by 2020. The most common target set by the Union for all of its member countries was to source at least 20% of their overall energy needs from renewables by the said year.
The EU renewables directive requires that all countries in the Union must ensure that at least 10% of the fuel used for transportation comes from renewable sources by the end of this decade. The individual targets in countries from around 10% in Malta, which is the lowest, to around 49% in Sweden. This target is of 15% for Britain, including three sub targets of 10% for transportation, 12% in heat, and 30% in electricity.
Ministers against the Targets?
Reports from government sources suggest that Britain is preparing to scrap the renewables targets after Brexit. Only last year, ministers on the Energy and Climate Change Committee, which is now defunct, had warned that if the UK continued to follow its current growth dynamics, it will fail to achieve its renewables targets set for 2020.
Some MPs in the country believe that the whole focus on renewables in the past few years has distorted the entire energy market. It is a way of transferring money from poor constituencies to wealthier ones who are establishing heavily subsidized and pointless wind turbines. So while the country moves ahead to establish some new laws and directives post its exit from the Union, ministers and future governments could seek to bin individual legislations if desired, of which the renewables pact could be one.