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During Tesla’s AI day last week, Elon Musk unmasked his next creation to come: “friendly” Tesla robots that can perform dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks like fetching tools for repairs or getting groceries.
In the presentation, Musk explains how this robot is the natural evolution for the tech at Tesla. “Tesla is arguably the biggest robotics company because our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels,” he boasts. It “makes sense,” he says, to put the cars’ self-driving capabilities and built in neural networks that understand and navigate the world around the car into a humanoid robot form.
[Related: There are two kinds of AI, and the difference is important]
The robot will supposedly stand 5’8” tall and weigh 125 pounds. It will be able to carry up to 45 pounds, deadlift up to 150 pounds, and move at a maximum speed of 5 mph. Musk assures the audience that this robot will be one that humans can run away from and overpower (if necessary). “Hopefully that doesn’t ever happen, but you never know,” he joked. The prototype is expected to come online sometime next year, and the company has put up an open call for team member applications.
The plan? Dress a human up as a robot so that people pay us a lot of money for a nonexistent thing. chúng tôi Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) August 20, 2023
Critics have issued their doubts about the practicality of Musk’s promise, citing the fact that several companies have already undertaken projects to build robots for mundane labor, and that Musk is severely underestimating the time and work it takes to construct and test even the simplest form of these machines.
Further dampening the hype for Musk’s robot is the fact that the self-driving system which powers Tesla’s cars, and theoretically would power this new robot, has recently been under federal investigation for crashing into emergency vehicles.
Taking into account that Musk is known for being a showman over being a realist, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for him to deliver this promised product on time.
Musk is not alone in his ambitions. Many companies and universities have been working on robots that can take on human-supporting tasks, from monitoring health, to going on rescue missions, to just being a butler. But, there’s still a wide gap between the types of robot assistants portrayed in movies and TV versus what is possible right now with current research.
Here’s where some of the notable robots stand, and where they seem to be headed.
[Related: An Interactive Guide To The Latest Artificially Intelligent Robots]Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics, arguably the leader in humanoid robotics, has been testing their tech for almost a decade. The company, previously owned by SoftBank, was acquired by Hyundai Motor Group in June. Their humanoid Atlas robots have undergone several trials to test their agility and motion in different environments. Atlas was first introduced to the public in 2013. Recently, the robot managed to master parkour. Atlas is just under five foot tall, weighs around 196 pounds, and can run at speeds up to 5.6 mph. These robots are still just for research and are not available commercially. However, one of their dog-like robots, Spot, is available for purchase at a ticket price of $74,500.Agility Robotics
Agility Robotics has their own version of a humanoid work bot called Digit. In 2023, Agility Robotics teamed up with automaker Ford Motor to put Digit to work. Digit has working and adjustable arms and legs that helps it walk around, pick up objects and move them. It uses LiDAR and other sensors to navigate. Now, Ford is testing whether Digit in combination with Ford’s self-driving car can collaborate to make deliveries.SoftBank
SoftBank’s Pepper, introduced in 2014, was one of the first social humanoid robots. At one point, it was available for purchase if you have $2,000 to spare. Pepper has the features of a small child, can mimic upper-body human movements, and can recognize human emotion and pick up non-verbal social cues, creating an illusion of understanding, or what some developers call artificial empathy. Despite stints at the Smithsonian and Buddhist temples, the production of Pepper was put on halt this year, reported The Verge.Hanson Robotics
Hanson Robotics is responsible for creating the uncannily human-like robot Sophia, which came on the scene in 2023. Reuters reported in January that the Hong Kong-based company would start mass-producing four robot models sometime this year, including Sophia. Founder David Hanson told Reuters that these robots could be helpful in healthcare, retail, and airline settings.Honorable mentions
Even though not all humanoid robots can share the spotlight equally, some are good at specific tasks while others are important as proof-of-concepts. The neural network-run Japanese robot Altar is nothing more than a complex inflatable air dancer, but it provided an example of how coordination and moving in harmony with humans is not an easy thing to teach robots.
Stanford’s OceanOne diving robot was able to retrieve a vase from an underwater shipwreck, hypothetically reducing the need for people to go on dangerous diving missions. However, this aquatic humanoid diver still needs humans to direct it virtually. Samsung has been keen on making at-home robotic health aides. But in practice, these health-monitoring robots work less like Big Hero 6’s Baymax, and more like a Roomba with a Life Alert button.
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You may be having a rough day, but at least you didn’t have to swab the anal glands of a fully conscious meerkat. But we can’t all have jobs where we get to sit quietly in air conditioned offices. Some people spent November 2011 creeping up on unsuspecting meerkats lounging outside their dens to swab for bacteria inside their scent glands. No meerkats were harmed in the making of this study, but they probably weren’t thrilled about the whole thing.
These are the things biologists do for science. And it doesn’t end at anal gland swabbing—there was anal paste, too. Before we get to the gritty details (and here “gritty” is both metaphoric and literal), let’s pause for a moment to ask a crucial question: why were biologists swabbing meerkat butts in the first place?
It’s not an unreasonable question. Sure, everyone is wired differently and some people obviously aren’t that bothered by anal glands, but they’re still probably not going to do it just for kicks. No, these biologists are driven by a quest for knowledge. More specifically, they were curious how bacterial communities differ from meerkat to meerkat, and how those bacteria influence anal gland scent (aren’t we all?). Lots of animals use scent to send social signals. Anal gland secretions can help mark your territory or tell your fellow mammals that you’re ready to mate. They’re why dogs sniff each other’s behinds; they’re just trying to get to know one another. Meerkats do the same thing, but unlike dogs they live in complex social hierarchies.
Meerkats rub their little furry butts on bushes and rocks for much the same reason that the youths make graffiti: to make their mark on the world, literally. Neighboring colonies need to establish their grounds and alpha meerkats (read: not Timon from The Lion King) want to assert their smelly dominance. Just because our mongoose friends use their behinds doesn’t make it less legitimate. If anything, meerkats take their glands more seriously than we take our spray paint.
Meerkats also mark things using their cheeks, much like cats, which is far cuter but less interesting. Courtesy of Lydia Greene, Duke University
It’s not enough to know that there are bacteria living in there, though. Nor is it enough to know that the types of bacteria vary between meerkats. You have to show that the chemicals produced by specific bacteria breaking down anal paste vary according to the bacteria type, and by meerkat traits. And to do that, you have to swab some glands. The group of biologists who took it upon themselves to do so published a similar study in 2014, but weren’t able to fully tie all the pieces together. They published their updated results on Monday in Scientific Reports.
As it turns out, meerkats living in Kuruman River Reserve in South Africa have become so habituated to human presence that a little anal swabbing is par for the course. Up until now, you were probably picturing an anal pouch as a small hole on their butts that extruded some kind of liquidy paste, kind of like a more musky anus. Think again.
You can’t unsee this. Courtesy of Lydia Greene, Duke University
Those pouches are wide open. They’re almost asking to be swabbed. Collecting the paste pre-pouch mixing required more finesse and some general anesthesia. To get pure anal paste, you have to partially evert the anal pouch, which means basically to turn it inside out. Then you have to gently—gently—squeeze the anal gland and collect the paste in a small tube. Presumably this is where alien myths come from in the meerkat world and perhaps why UFOs visiting Earth assume that we, too, want our anal glands probed.
By analyzing the chemical components of each meerkat’s anal paste, the biologists figured out that it was indeed due to native bacteria that the animals’ scents varied. A similar phenomenon has been observed in hyenas, but this is the first time specific bacteria have been linked to the odorants they produce in the paste. Before, we only had correlative evidence. The type of bacteria may vary between animals, but that could easily be because certain microorganisms tend to flourish depending on the composition of the paste. This evidence shows that it goes the other way—the bacterial profile is what’s giving the paste its distinct smell. Female meerkats have more Corynebacterium, while the males have more of a proteobacterium. Each of these microorganisms break down particular chemicals into odorous molecules, giving male and female meerkats their distinctive musks. The scent even varies between individual meerkats. Males tend to have more variation than females, which the authors think may be because males travel between colonies more and thus need to be able to adjust their microbiota more frequently.
Next up: understanding what each scent tells a meerkat. Sure, dominant meerkats have one smell and subordinate females another, but what actually tells a meerkat that? We can try asking them, though there’s really only one way to find out: more anal swabs.
Regarding the impact of robots, there is a major debate among people about whether their effect would be positive or negative. The use of robots is growing around us. The following article aims to list the major effects robots will have on human life.Free-up Workload
Robots generally complete work that is monotonous or strenuous for human beings. TheCheap and Convenient
Robots can bring down the cost of goods and services because it would decrease the price of labour. It would give a greater number of people access to things that might have previously been out of their means. Certain jobs, like crop planting and harvesting, require a great deal of physical strength and fortitude to perform. They also tend to be harder to do. Robots can do all of this work.Better Availability of Goods and Services
Robots can make ten times more goods and services than human labour, which would increase the rate of production and the availability of everything to people. For example, if human labour can make ten bowls, a robot would make 100 bowls in its place, which would help a lot more people to have the benefit of using bowls. On the other hand, it would also reduce the manufacturing cost of the bowls and it would make prices of the bowls cheaper. In effect, it would make those products available to people in large numbers.Balance in Work and Personal life
Having help from robots in their everyday work, people will have more balance in their work and personal life. Those who would lose their job due to the automation systems would be able to find new positions and learn new skills. It would also help them to understand the real value that human employees bring to the organisation.Household Service Healthcare Services
Regarding the impact of robots, there is a major debate among people about whether their effect would be positive or negative. The use of robots is growing around us. The following article aims to list the major effects robots will have on human life.Robots generally complete work that is monotonous or strenuous for human beings. The aim of making robots is not to replace humans, but it is to free them from the tedium of performing most of the basic and low-level tasks. Tasks like coordinating schedules or managing correspondence do not require human intelligence and they can be easily done by robots. It would leave humans to do more important work that would require human intelligence.Robots can bring down the cost of goods and services because it would decrease the price of labour. It would give a greater number of people access to things that might have previously been out of their means. Certain jobs, like crop planting and harvesting, require a great deal of physical strength and fortitude to perform. They also tend to be harder to do. Robots can do all of this work. Robots can perform a lot of work like helping in the farm works, doing the labour work in industries and other works that take a lot of time. Robots doing these tasks will help in reducing the cost of human labour.Robots can make ten times more goods and services than human labour, which would increase the rate of production and the availability of everything to people. For example, if human labour can make ten bowls, a robot would make 100 bowls in its place, which would help a lot more people to have the benefit of using bowls. On the other hand, it would also reduce the manufacturing cost of the bowls and it would make prices of the bowls cheaper. In effect, it would make those products available to people in large numbers.Having help from robots in their everyday work, people will have more balance in their work and personal life. Those who would lose their job due to the automation systems would be able to find new positions and learn new skills. It would also help them to understand the real value that human employees bring to the organisation. Robots can immensely help in doing household chores that would save a lot of time and energy. People will be able to concentrate on valuable ways to spend their time. They will also have a lot of free time to do things they like instead of wasting their time cleaning and chúng tôi it comes to healthcare, robots can provide more accurate results in tests and diagnosis than humans. Robots are now used not only in the operating room but also in clinical settings to support health workers and enhance patient care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and clinics began deploying robots for a much wider range of tasks to help reduce exposure to pathogens. It’s become clear that the operational efficiencies and risk reduction provided by health robotics offer value in many areas.
It’s the goal of every organization to see their business become successful. That said, understanding customer behavior deeply is one of the elements you can leverage for increased business success. One way to do this is by knowing your customers’ last purchase date in Power BI. You may watch the full video of this tutorial at the bottom of this blog.
In this blog post, I am going to demonstrate how you can work out how many days it has been since a customer last purchased from you.
This is very important from a sales, marketing, and promotional point of view because gaining such insight can help you strategize around your marketing initiatives.
For instance, if a customer buys from you every two weeks, you can use email marketing strategies to send offers at times which will most likely lead to a sale and ultimately increase your revenue.
If you have a CRM system in place, you would want to know if a customer is actively buying from you. They might have gone to a competitor or they might be considering taking the business elsewhere. You want to know these things in real-time.
By understanding this metric and learning about your customer behavior, you are likely to make better decisions that will ultimately improve the sales and services you’ll be offering to your client base.
I’ll show you how to analytically think about this in Power BI. Plus, how to solve it, implement the right DAX formula, and then visualize it in a compelling way.
Before we proceed, let’s take a look at the underlying table. This is where we’ll get all the information we’ll need, including the Purchase Date of our customers.
The specific insight we’re going to look at is how many days since the last purchase a customer has made. We have to walk through a few steps in order to find out.
In this table, we get to see the Customer Name, Date of Last Purchase, and Days Since Last Purchase fields.
The first thing we need to do is to work out when was our customers’ last purchase. We do this by creating a new measure using this formula:
Once we apply this formula, we will see that the customers have been filtered, and all that’s left in the sales table are the dates of the customers’ last purchase.
The next thing we need to do is work out the last purchase date in Power BI for every customer.
We can work it out by creating a new measure in Power BI using this formula: MAXX(ALL (Sales), Sales[Purchase Date]).
So for this demo data set, you’ll see that the Last Purchase Date in this particular case is January 6, 2023.
From here, we can now work out the days since the last purchase since we have the individual Last Purchase Date of each customer.
To get the Days Since Last Purchase, all we have to do is deduct the Date of Last Purchase from the Last Purchase Date. We do this by creating a measure using this formula:
If we subtract a date from a date, it will return a date format. Therefore, we use VALUE so we can turn the text value into a number.
We definitely don’t want a result that shows customers even if they did not make a purchase in Florida. The way we do that is by using logic in our model.
Another option you can use to create a new measure is by using a threshold.
Let’s say we want to have a list of customers who have breached the 300-day threshold. We can come up with a customer list by using this formula:
You can then create a chart that will showcase the customers that are above this 300-day threshold.
By coming up with formulas from the purchase date in Power BI, we can use the data we gathered from a marketing or a customer outreach perspective.
It is amazing how you can quickly branch out into these fantastic insights using Power BI. With the data you have gathered, you can create an insight and then use it to implement your marketing strategies.
This blog post shows just one way to predict customer behavior. To learn other business analytics techniques that you can utilize, check out the module below from Enterprise DNA On-demand.
Business Analytics Series
All the best!
Tesla Motors continue to add self-driving capabilities to its Model S electric car at a breathtaking pace, and the company announced yet more this past Sunday.
This latest software upgrade, Version 7.1, has been eagerly awaited by Model S owners whose carswere built since August 2014.
The new software is now in the early phases of its rollout, and as of writing, your author’s 2023 Tesla Model S P85D has not yet been updated.
It is also said to have better lane-keeping when passing highway exits. On an early road trip from Sacramento to Chico, my P85D scared the daylights out of my passenger (a fellow Model S owner) when it swerved sharply at a rural exit that we did not want to take.
2023 Tesla Model S P85D, May 2023
Fortunately, I knew this was a potential outcome, and had my hands on the wheel as instructed to correct for this “mistake.”
Version 7.1 is also expected to provide better lane-keeping even when lane markings are faded.
Around my Sacramento home, several sections of Interstate-5 are so horribly worn that when driving with the auto-steer function activated, the system frequently beeps me to take over because it cannot follow the poor lane markings.
2023 Tesla Model S P85D, May 2023
With its intelligent cruise control, the car could fully handle driving in the stop-and-go traffic of commute time.
Version 7.1 can now also independently park the car in a tight garage (meaning one too narrow for a driver to open the door when inside). In this setting, the car can also back itself out of the garage.
This is what Tesla calls “summoning,” and represents the first step toward KITT—the intelligent self-driving car of 1980s television.
The Model S can even open the garage door as it approaches, and close it when finally in place, by transmitting the commands to an electronic door opener.
It can also automatically perpendicular park, via backing into such a space. And in the driver’s display, the panel now will show exactly what vehicles are around the front of the Model S: car, truck, or motorcycle.
2023 Tesla Model S P85D, May 2023
Needless to say, Tesla owners are eagerly updating and testing out the new functions. As YouTube user “GasKicker” relates in a Tesla Motors Club forum:
Version 7.1 also incorporates a more minor range of improvements, including a function that unlocks only the driver’s door when a person approaches with the key fob. This actually represents a huge positive and overdue feature for any Model S driver who has been at risk when approaching the car in settings that are less than safe and secure.
The trip-planner software has been improved to avoid the silly possibility of backtracking to the nearest Supercharger (I lost three hours late one night following the “backtracking” instructions from Version 7.0, when I should have known better).
However, while the newest software indicates Supercharger sites that are not “in service” and so should be avoided, it doesn’t yet show whether there are—or will be—open stalls at a Supercharger location, a feature requested by most owners.
Tesla Model S Version 7.1 software Summon automatic parking feature Youtube video by Ricco831
During his conference call, Musk said these latest changes are still “baby steps” toward full autonomous cars, which he expects “technically could be here in 24-36 months.”
In coming months, he claimed, with the current technology plus its “fleet learning,” the 7.1 software will be “better than humans in highway driving.”
Tesla Model S electric cars at Tejon Ranch Supercharger December 26, 2023 TMC user Lump
The car now actually looks ahead, for example, and will reduce speed when it approaches a sharp turn in the road.
For full autonomous driving, a Tesla will need more sensors than in the current production vehicles include—but with improved hardware and the development of national standards for autonomous driving, Musk expects that “we will see this happen….soon.”
Despite the shocking risks taken by some early drivers using the auto-steering found in Version 7.0 (many documented on video), Musk said he is “not aware of any accidents with the Model S under auto-steering control.”
The future is coming, and it is coming “soon” at a Tesla pace.
More from Green Car Reports:
Hellcat-Powered Jeep Grand Cherokee Here By End Of 2023: Official
2023 Lincoln Continental Lands At Detroit Auto Show: Live Photos And Video
2023 Lexus LC Coupe Bows With V-8 Power, 10-Speed Auto: Live Photos And Video
2023 Honda Ridgeline Debuts At Detroit Auto Show: Live Photos And Video
2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Live Photos And Video
You’ll need an organism—preferably one with hard bones or a shell. Add fine-grained sediment and rapid burial and in 10,000 years or so, you’ll be well on your way to a deliciously durable fossil.
It’s a cooking project that can only take place in Earth’s test kitchen, and the baking time is admittedly long. But what if there were a quicker way—think microwave instead of slow cooker? A group of paleontologists think they’ve discovered a way that upends tradition and could give others in the field new insights into the way things fossilize. They published a paper on their method today in the journal Paleontology.
Taphonomy, or the study of the fossilization process, has been part of paleontology since the 1950s, when the term was coined by Ivan Yefremov, a Soviet scientist who won the Stalin prize—the USSR’s answer to the Nobel—for his work.
“Basically it’s about the process of death and disintegration,” explains Ronald Martin, a paleontologist at the University of Delaware who literally wrote the book on taphonomy.
A lizard foot covered in scales, artificially fossilized Evan Sattia, Field Museum/University of Bristol and Tom Kaye, Foundation for Scientific Advancement
Paleontologists aren’t the only ones who care about the discipline—it’s used by archaeologists, forensics experts and others to help understand how organisms die and are preserved. They use those insights to do things like figure out what kinds of animals or habitats are overrepresented in the fossil record as well as to understand time scales, climate change, and other nuances that wouldn’t be clear without an idea of how something got from living creature to fossil in the first place.
Typically, paleontologists use nature itself to figure out how fossils are made. “Some of it is pretty ingenious,” says Martin. In 1993, for example, a nationwide group of paleontologists banded together to create the Shelf and Slope Experimental Taphonomy Initiative. The long-term project involves burying a variety of marine species beneath the Gulf of Mexico and the waters of the Bahamas, then periodically visiting and studying them to observe how they’ve decayed over the years.
Another group created an atlas of invertebrate decay, sticking a variety of dead animals in water for up to a year and logging the changes that befell each creature. Others head to the lab to try to speed up the process. At the Laboratory of Experimental Taphonomy at Madrid’s National Museum of Natural Sciences, for instance, paleontologists can simulate the effects of everything from rain to pollution and climatic cycles.
These experiments yield important insights into how fossilization works, but they have their limits. Many happen within closed containers that make it hard to figure out what’s going on inside; most take place without the existence of, say, predators or earthquakes or any of the myriad things that can change fossilization. Researchers have to decide whether they care more about the early stages of fossilization or “maturation,” during which rock changes from sediment to sedimentary rock with the help of temperature, pressure, and other factors.
A bit of feather used to see how more delicate body parts get preserved. Evan Sattia, Field Museum/University of Bristol and Tom Kaye, Foundation for Scientific Advancement
And then there’s the issue of time; Though some experimental methods can nudge the process ahead, there’s nothing like ten or more millennia to make a fossil.
For the less patient, there’s a new option: “bake” fossils by packing the work of tens of thousands of years into a 24-hour period.
Field Museum researcher Evan Saitta and his colleagues call their method “sediment-encased maturation,” and it involves pressing samples into clay tablets which are then baked in an oven at 3500 psi—about the pressure of a professional-grade power washer, and roughly equivalent to the pressure of rock in the shallow parts of Earth’s crust, where fossils are found. The result looks and acts like a real-life fossil. They tested the method on feathers, lizards, and leaves.
The researchers think they can use their method to compare what kinds of materials can survive fossilization, identify structures found in actual fossils, and better understand how soft tissues like skin respond to fossilization. By testing different variables using the process, paleontologists could possibly learn to identify what temperature or gases contributed to a real-life fossil’s formation.
“Our experimental method is like a cheat sheet,” says Saitta, who is the study’s lead author, in a release. “If we use this to find out what kinds of biomolecules can withstand the pressure and heat of fossilization, then we know what to look for in real fossils.”
Fake fossils may make it speedier to figure out how things fossilize, but they won’t take the guesswork out of paleontology—or replace the frisson of finding the real deal out in the wild. Still, it’s another tool to help reconstruct what really happened in the wild pressure cooker that is Earth…one faux fossil at a time.
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