Wednesday, July 18, 2012

iDROIDs: The Robot Cars Are Already on the Roads

iDROIDs: The Robot Cars Are Already on the Roads
by Kenny Smith for IFS

MEMPHIS (IFS) Robots have been around for along time, and they have silently begun to take their places among the living.  First they started out in the car factories as painters, then wielders, Alan Beckett was the first cameraman to use them in making motion pictures, calling them auto-scoping cameras, then computer building units that function on the assembly lines.  They were repetitive masters with great precision that used the stationary pivoting robot arms that were doing mind-numbing tasks, without breaks, lunch, unions and any back talk.

Now these little units are found in the homes of everyday people cleaning the floor and vacuuming the carpets, where you can purchase them at Wal-Mart for less then $80 dollars.  But is does not stop there.  These robots have been reduced in size down to Nano robots or called nanobots that are placed in the human blood stream where they fight cancer cells and other diseases.  Doctor Leonard McCoy from “Star Trek” would just say, that this is a good start.

Google, the master robot developers have used their Motorola Company to placed the first auto robotic cars on the freeways of America, by getting the first robotic driving licenses from the State of Nevada where their vehicle drive themselves using onboard computers, cameras and Velodyne 64-beam laser range finder mounted on the roof.

With over 1.2 million people killed in traffic worldwide every year, Google thinks that technology can significantly reduce that number of deaths on the road.  Google’s combination of GPS data and the constant vision of it’s’ surroundings enables these vehicles to drive themselves avoiding obstacles and respecting the traffic laws.

As with guns in general, its going to be very hard to pry the steering wheel from the hands of the driving public and let a robot do the driving.  As with IBM’s Watson, or Honda’s Mono walking robot, or the quest for Star Trek’s Commander Data, the future is here already.  It has been a quiet revolution in the making.  With the combination of iPads, iPhones and Androids, I hereby dubbed thee “iDroid”, because it’s all going to be the same thing in the future.  One robotic nation that started with the television show “Jeopardy” and that will continue long after mankind’s rein on this Earth.

As a young student at Antelope Valley Community College in Lancaster, California back in late 1960’s, Doctor Charles Parker of my Economics class told me that Congress would pass laws that would tax robots and levee social security, FDIC and other humanly taxes upon them, and that this tax would be placed in our retirement system and it would give man more leisure.  I loved his vision of the future, but in reality that dream of robots paying into the tax base died somewhere in Congress in the early 1970’s and was never again brought to the front of the table for discussion.

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