Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.6.2 | Award Amount: 18.24M | Year: 2011
The objective of the DRIVE C2X Integrated Project is to carry out comprehensive assessment of cooperative systems through Field Operational Tests in various places in Europe in order to verify their benefits and to pave the way for market implementation. This general objective is split into four major technical objectives:\nCreate a harmonised Europe-wide testing environment for cooperative systems\nCoordinate the tests carried out in parallel throughout the DRIVE C2X community\nEvaluate cooperative systems\nPromote cooperative driving.\nThe proposal fully responds to EC requirements and the Call 6 contents on Field Operational Tests.\nDuring the past decade, researchers have been working on cooperative systems worldwide in numerous research projects. Tentative results suggest that communication between vehicles and vehicles and infrastructure can substantially improve sustainable transportation. There is today a general understanding of the benefits of cooperative systems in terms of traffic safety and efficiency, but so far these systems have been tried out in small scale experiments only. There is no proof of their benefits yet with many communicating vehicles used in variable conditions on roads.\nThe work proposed builds strongly on previous and on-going work on cooperative systems, which are now considered to be mature enough for large-scale field operational tests. The Europe-wide testing community envisaged for DRIVE C2X comprises of six test sites in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, France and Finland. Essential activities in this project are the testing methodology and evaluation of the impact of cooperative driving functions on users, environment and society. In addition to impacts, other important areas of testing are technical functionality and robustness of the systems also in adverse conditions. The user feedback and the results from technical tests enable the creation of realistic business models for the following market introduction.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2013-1 | Award Amount: 1.53M | Year: 2014
The European Road Network is undoubtedly one of the most important land infrastructures in the EU. It is and will remain for the foreseeable future a crucial artery for Europe, both in economic terms, as it services the vast majority of goods traffic, and in social terms, as it does so for passenger travel as well. Maintenance is considered to be the most expensive function of a high-way operating agency, so there is a special need for the early detection of deterioration mechanisms and of potential presence of defects through a more advanced road pavements inspection technology. The proposed system will detect the presence of defects, determine the cause, extent and rate of deterioration, provide information for assessing stability and serviceability and for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of various remedial measures and provide this information in real time, not causing traffic disturbances. The system is aiming to upgrade and optimize the inspection & maintenance of the European roads, reducing costs and increasing traffic safety and will achieve this by developing a novel automated and integrated NDT (Non Destructive Techniques) system for high speed analysis and evaluation. It will demonstrate the value of combining 3 technologies: Ground Penetrating Radar, InfraRed Thermography and Air Coupled Ultrasonic testing with Near Real-Time data transfer and analysis as a reliable, fast and safe tool for pavement inspections, as well as a great business opportunity for SME participants in EU. The proposed system incorporates and drastically enhances the capacities of the 3 different techniques, to produce quantitative, reliable, precise, continuous and at-traffic-speed measurements. Research & innovation outcomes will be to obtain a GPR capable of detecting adjacent layers of the same materials at traffic speed, quantitative and high speed image capturing Thermography, continuous ACU at traffic speed and a 100% coverage measurement tool.
News Article | February 17, 2017
Tesla's autonomous vehicles, especially Model S, have been the subject of both criticism and praise for its achievements in acceleration but if there is something Tesla co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk wants to send across, it is that the company takes safety seriously. So when Manfred Kick, a Model S driver, acted heroically by sacrificing his vehicle to save someone's life, Musk was quick to react to it. Forty-one-year-old Manfred Kick was driving on the Autobahn near Munich, Germany when he noticed a Volkswagen Passat moving erratically on the highway. Kick grew concerned because the vehicle not only swerved about but also collided with the guardrail multiple times, which could have meant car trouble, someone is driving under the influence, or something was very wrong with the driver. What Kick did was to speed up his Model S and took a peek at what was going on inside the VW Passat and it was then he realized that the rogue car's driver seemed to be unconscious. Kick immediately accelerated his Model S, positioned it in front of the Passat, and allowed the erratic vehicle to collide with his car gently. Kick then slowed down his Model S, along with the Passat, until both vehicles came to a stop. Afterwards, he immediately approached the Passat and opened it to administer first aid on the unconscious driver. The passers-by who saw the situation were quick to call for emergency services, and medical help soon arrived to take the man to the hospital. Due to Kick's quick action and willingness to sacrifice his Model S to save a stranger who suffered a stroke, police say the man is now stable. A road accident — regardless of intent — is still an accident so the German police still have a job to investigate the collision against Kick. The good news is that, since the man was saved and no other vehicles were involved, the police believe Kick will receive an award for his heroism instead of a fine. Kick saved a life and he is most likely getting an award but there is one other thing to take care of: the bills. According to reports, the damages, though minor, total to about $10,700 (€10,000) for both vehicles and that is most likely Kick's responsibility. Ouch! As the old adage says, "You reap what you sow," and Kick's heroism and compassion earned him a reward from Musk. On Feb. 15, the Twitter active innovator shared the story and announced that Tesla will cover the expenses for the damages to Kick's Model S. Take a look at Musk's tweets below. That is definitely a huge load off our Good Samaritan's back and a good way for Tesla to prove why its vehicles' safety features can still be manipulated by the drivers. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | September 22, 2016
The most obvious changes to the 2016 7 Series are the now-standard long wheelbase of 126.4 in (321 cm), the standard adaptive air suspension, and a totally revamped interior with enough bells and whistles to make Captain Picard jealous. At the heart of it all is a very well-tuned chassis and, in the 750i model, a throaty V8 powering all four wheels. The EPA estimates fuel economy in the 2016 750i to be 19 mpg (12.3 L/100km) combined, with 16 mpg (14.7 L/100km) in the city and 25 mpg (9.4 L/100km) on the highway. In our week with the big sedan, we saw very close to those numbers at 17.5 mpg (13.4 L/100km) overall. That's with several "test runs" doing 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) sprints in under five seconds to make sure this big Bimmer lived up to expectations. On the outside, the 2016 BMW 7 Series sees only subtle changes. Aside from the now-standard long wheelbase, which makes the BMW 7 Series the longest in the class, changes to the exterior are found in the front fascia and window framing. The fascia sees some narrowing to bring it in line with the current BMW look, with the hood curving down a bit more and the grille and headlamps becoming slightly narrower. Along the bodywork, the curves in the beltline and rear pillar are a bit more accented to aid the overall look of a sport coupe gone sedan that is the common theme throughout the German automaker's lineup. Nineteen-inch wheels and LED exterior lighting are standard on the 750i. Behind the fully-adjustable steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that provides a multitude of options for the driver. Instrumentation can be switched between several layouts and information displayed can be customized to the driver's needs or interest. This is all augmented by a standard heads-up display that appears in the lower windscreen ahead of the driver. Setting these things to one's taste can take a little time and experimentation, but the menu system is fairly straightforward and once the sweet spot is found, the instrumentation approaches perfection. Also seen as standard in the 2016 BMW 750i is a 10.2-inch infotainment screen in the center of the dash. This is controlled by a touchpad-enhanced control knob using the iDrive system that includes several added options from the BMW ConnectedDrive connectivity suite, such as MyInfo and BMW Apps. On-board internet and Wi-Fi are also standard in the 750i. Those familiar with the BMW command system for infotainment will immediately be at home, while a short learning curve ensures those new to it will become old hats in quick fashion. The only downside to iDrive is the plethora of options that can be paged through when all upgrades are present. BMW has yet to really create an integrated smartphone app to help with this, but the included instructions in the system can be a boon to those who feel overwhelmed. New this year, and much-touted, is Gesture Control, which allows the driver to use finger and hand movements to control the infotainment system. Once the novelty wore off, however, we found this to be less than useful in everyday use. It is fun to impress your friends with a simple finger movement to raise the radio volume or a "kill it" hand movement in front of the screen to hang up the phone, but it's generally easier to use voice commands and steering-mounted buttons for most things. Along with all of this tech up front, the BMW 750i also has a bevy of safety technologies included or available. We highly recommend the Autobahn package if you plan to drive the 750i yourself, as it includes driver aids such as variable-ratio steering and Comfort Drive. The former changes steering assistance according to driver settings to stiffen or loosen its feel, while Active Comfort Drive uses a camera system to sense road conditions and adjust suspension dampers to absorb expected bumps. That system is an excellent upgrade when the big Bimmer is taken on rough roads in town or on the highway. After driving with the system off, we quickly appreciated how responsive it makes the suspension to cushion harsher blows from the road. Meanwhile, the Driver Assistance Plus package adds several upgrades, such as lane-departure warning, semi-automated parking (parallel), blind-spot monitoring, front collision mitigation, a surround-view camera, and more. Upgrading that to the Driver Assistance Plus II package adds adaptive cruise control, lane-departure prevention, and more. We especially like the Traffic Jam Assistant added with the second upgrade, which takes the stop-and-go capability of the adaptive cruise to a new level, adding minute steering adjustments when in slow-moving traffic. The driver is required to keep a hand on the wheel, but that can be a soft touch without much input as the car adjusts itself to the lane in stop-and-go. This tablet, which automatically charges when stowed in its console-integrated storage spot, can control many of the car's climate, entertainment, navigation, and other functions and can connect to Google Play and the internet to download apps and games. The Tablet is functionally the same as any similar Android device with an app suite for the car and we found it to be the best way to control the entertainment screens in the back, as the included remote for that purpose is clunky to operate. As with most executive-class sedans, of course, if you must ask what the price tag is for these upgrades, you probably can't afford them. The base price for the 2016 BMW 750i xDrive is US$97,400, and our test model, which contained most available options, rang in at US$129,245 delivered. But you get what what you pay for here. This is a thoroughly enjoyable sedan to both drive and be driven in. From the massaging seats to the fast-paced acceleration and understated opulence, this is a beautiful car for everyone who's in it. This is what the executive class is all about.
News Article | February 17, 2017
To kick things off, as reported on sister site Gas2: “Tesla will reward a Good Samaritan in Germany by paying to repair his Model S after it was damaged in a daring highway rescue. While driving his Model S on the Autobahn near Munich, Germany, this week, Manfred Kick noticed a Volkswagen Passat driving erratically as it bounced repeatedly off the guardrail. Pulling alongside, Kick could see the driver appeared lifeless, his head and arms hanging limply as the car sped along. “Kick drove ahead of the Passat and positioned his Tesla so the Volkswagen would run into it. Then he braked repeatedly until both cars came to a halt. Kick then administered first aid to the crippled driver, who was later transported to a local hospital by rescue workers. He apparently suffered a stroke while driving and is reported to be recovering. “Damage to both cars caused by the emergency maneuver was estimated by authorities to be in excess of $10,000. Shortly after the story broke, Elon Musk read about it on Jalopnik. He took to Twitter to announce that Tesla would pay the cost of repairing Kick’s Model S in full and would see that the repair work was completed promptly.” I saw the tweet minutes after Elon sent it out, and this happened to be in the midst of a long piece on branding that I have coming soon. For sure, this move by Elon was an uplifting show of gratitude, empathy, and human decency. The Tesla driver did something heroic, and then Elon saw the story, recognized that, and wanted to show his thanks. But let’s be frank — this is also a masterful branding move. Tesla could have covered the costs quietly. The driver would benefit more or less the same. Instead, Elon made the Tesla gift of thanks public, and the Tesla brand is sure to gain from that. Maybe Elon was simply moved by the moment and wanted to share his support for such an altruistic (and seemingly successful) effort to save people’s lives. Even so, there’s a deep history in Elon and Tesla’s approach to storytelling and PR that this is part of, so I don’t think you can separate the two. Like I said, I have a much longer piece on this topic coming, so I’ll basically leave it at that for now, but we were eager to get this positive news covered anyway and a sharp comment from “Matt” prompted me to publish this now. As he wrote, “Great non-advertising by TESLA in Germany.” What Do Elon Musk, Frodo Baggins, & Luke Skywalker Share In Common? Why Elon Musk Is Loved So Much Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | March 2, 2017
BARCELONA—Once upon a time people in the trucking industry could fantasize about increasing efficiency by having the likes of Burt Reynold’s “Bandit” character—from the 1970s chase film Smokey and the Bandit—racing around in his classic black Trans Am to fend off the cops so his partner’s 18-wheeler could ignore speed limits. But with all due respect to the Bandit, the long-haul business has a much better idea these days: self-driving big rigs that improve logistics, cost savings and road safety. And they could be on freeways even sooner than autonomous passenger cars, which have been hogging most of the limelight. The process of automating long-haul freight trucks—the behemoths that deliver food and goods, often to places airplanes, boats and trains can’t or won’t go—is actually easier than it is for cars. This is because these trucks spend most of their road time on open highways, where there is less stopping and fewer traffic rules than in areas with pedestrians, according to Anthony Levandowski, CEO of Otto, an autonomous-trucking company he co-founded early last year. Speaking at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Levandowski—a former software engineer on Google’s self-driving car project—added that despite racking up only 5.6 percent of all the miles driven in the U.S., trucks are found to be at fault for nearly 9.5 percent of the country’s driving fatalities. Many proponents of self-driving technology believe it can reduce human error, often brought on by fatigue. Otto, which Uber bought in August 2016, also wants to enable driverless commercial trucks to operate in carefully synchronized fleets. Truck convoys are nothing new, of course, but a computerized driving system could theoretically let them safely drive even closer together, reducing the wind drag that makes engines work harder and burn more gas. Some autonomous truck makers also envision the rig’s cab becoming a sort of mobile office of the future, where a human can focus on planning and logistics rather than traffic. For obvious reasons these trucks could also stay on the road for longer stretches, giving drivers some much-needed downtime rather than keeping them at the wheel well past exhaustion. All of that suits Daniela Gerd tom Markotten just fine. Markotten, who is not involved in Levandowski’s research, lives in Stuttgart, Germany—which she calls “the capital of truck traffic.” There, she heads Digital Services and Solutions for Mercedes-Benz Trucks, a division of Daimler, AG. “Autonomous [technology] is even more important for large vehicles than it is for passenger cars,” she said during a conference session Monday at the Mobile World Congress. Mercedes is developing its own self-driving 18-wheeler—the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, featuring the company’s Highway Pilot automation system. A test version of the Future Truck debuted in July 2014 on a closed-off section of the Autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany. Autonomous trucks will stay on a fast-track toward deployment if companies like Uber and Mercedes see a market for them and continue to invest heavily in the technology. Trucks have been a relatively slow option over land in Europe because they typically do not operate around the clock and are often delayed at borders, says Wolfgang Fengler, the World Bank’s lead economist in trade and competitiveness for eastern Europe and central Asia. Although Fengler does not claim to be an expert on autonomous vehicles, he says that if self-driving trucks can translate more hours on the road into guaranteed faster delivery, that would create “massive value” for producers and customers alike.
News Article | February 15, 2017
CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - February 13, 2017) - The Midwest Automotive Media Association announced today that the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has been named the winner of its seventh annual Family Vehicle of the Year award. MAMA is a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public relations professionals, and it developed the award to help car-shopping families make a wise decision when they're ready for a new vehicle. "Choosing a family vehicle is an important decision. It should be versatile, reliable, efficient, and reasonably priced. MAMA members pooled their expertise and experience to select the best family vehicle from an excellent group of new and notably refreshed models, and the Chrysler Pacifica came out on top of them all," said MAMA Senior Vice President Damon Bell. To qualify for the award, vehicles had to have four doors, start at less than $50,000, appear at one of MAMA's two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2016 Spring Rally, which took place last May. The MAMA Spring and Fall rallies feature roughly 100 manufacturer vehicles for journalists to drive and evaluate. Voting took place at both rallies, and out of more than three dozen competitors, we ended up with 12 finalists: Acura MDX, Audi A4, Chevrolet Volt, Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Fusion, GMC Acadia, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Jaguar F-PACE, Mazda CX-9, Toyota RAV4, and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. In each round of voting, three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two points were given for a second-place vote and third-place votes were valued at one point each. MAMA members then voted in one final round, and 91 automotive journalists selected the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica as the winner with 215 points, beating the 2016 Mazda CX-9, which garnered 109 points. The 2017 GMC Acadia placed third with 47 points. Voting for the 2018 Family Vehicle of the Year award will begin at the 2017 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 24-25 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The MAMA Fall Rally is scheduled for October 4 at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill. Founded in 1991, and now in its 26th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 278 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from 25 states, D.C. and Canada. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization's primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, major issues, and new products in the auto industry.
News Article | November 19, 2016
The auction will be co-hosted by Katie Cleary, a well known and passionate animal advocate. She is the founder and president of World Animal News and Peace 4 Animals and strives to make a difference in bettering animal welfare through the media, education and awareness. When: December 3, 2016 Time: 11:00 am Pacific Time Where: Streaming live online at Bid Network Online (BNO.com) Visit the auction’s direct page at BNO here. Social Compassion Social Compassion (SC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on saving animals’ lives and preventing pain and suffering in any situation, promoting veganism, and undertaking research for legislation for its sister organization and lobbying arm Social Compassion in Legislation. SC has been instrumental in helping to pass animal welfare legislation in the State of California, as well as supporting legislation dedicated to a better future for the environment and humanity. It also supports the efforts of its media partners: World Animals News and Jane UnChained. Social Compassion is lead by veteran activist Judie Mancuso. BNO is delighted to offer a tantalizing selection of auction offerings to benefit this worthy charity. Supporters of the charity can bid on travel packages and experiences, sports memorabilia, art & collectibles, and more. Porsche Driving Experience for One Feel the exhilaration that comes from driving some of the world’s most thrilling sports cars during one of the most dynamic driving experiences possible. At the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles, you’ll navigate the latest Porsche models through the electrifying circuit of off-road courses. You’ll feel the power, responsiveness and safety at the core of Porsche engineering. Experience is 90 minutes long and includes driving two different Porsches: your choice of 911 Turbo vs. 911 GT3, or 911 Carrera 2 vs. 4S. Also includes two tickets for a behind-the-scenes vault tour of some of the most unique cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Non-driving guest welcomed at no additional cost. Napa Valley Experience for Two Three-night hotel accommodations in a standard king room at the Andaz Napa, an upscale boutique hotel recognized as one of the top hotels in Northern California by the Conde Nast Traveller. Includes Private Estate Tasting Experience at Quintessa Winery: a privately hosted tour of the vineyard, winemaking facility and underground caves, followed by a sit-down tasting at a private table showcasing the current release and library vintage of Quintessa. Also includes dinner for two at REDD in Napa Valley, a top-rated restaurant by acclaimed Northern California chef Richard Reddington. Attend the 2017 CMA Awards Spend an unforgettable night at the 2017 Country Music Awards in Nashville and experience America’s best-loved music genre live! Celebrate your favorite country recording artists like Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan. Includes two 300-Level tickets to the 51st Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. Also includes two-night stay at the Marriott Union Station Hotel. Revisit the excitement and anticipation of turn-of-the-century travel at Union Station Hotel, a stunningly restored 100 year old railway station. Indulge in old-fashioned Southern charm at this historic property, complete with state-of-the-art comforts. Visit the auction’s direct page at BNO here For more information on BNO and its auctions, or to register to bid on any of its art works, please visit BNO.com. World Animal News World Animal News (WAN) stands as leading the media network for breaking animal news worldwide. The mission of World Animal News is to mainstream animal welfare in the media through action alerts, campaigns, live broadcast and breaking animal news to motivate change in the way animals are treated on a global scale. Katie Cleary is a well known and passionate animal advocate. She is the founder and president of World Animal News and Peace 4 Animals and strives to make a difference in bettering animal welfare thRough media, education and awareness. Her vision is to see a world where humans live in harmony with all animals and work to protect them against harmful interference. Katie is also the writer and producer of Peace 4 Animal's first documentary, "Give Me Shelter". Her ultimate goal is create positive change to help protect the planet and its precious animals so we can all live together in peace. Jane Unchained JaneUnChained: Videos for the Voiceless is a multi-platform social media news source founded by award winning TV journalist and New York Times bestselling author Jane Velez-Mitchell. JaneUnChained.com produces hundreds of videos a year on animal rights, with a key focus on ending the horrors of factory farming, animal experimentation and fur. JaneUnChained has 208,000 followers on JaneUnChained, Facebook.com/JaneVelezMitchell and 187,000 followers on Twitter @jvm and growing weekly. These videos are also widely shared on Linkedin, Tumbler, Pinterest, You Tube, Instagram and other social media platforms. JaneUnChained also does a daily vegan cooking show via FacebookLIVE called #LunchBreakLIVE. About BNO Bid Network Online (BNO.com) is a unique, new auction website where a professional auctioneer hosts a live entertaining auction streamed online in real time. It offers an exceptional user experience, combining the exciting feeling of being immersed in a live, brick and mortar auction, with a user-friendly online bidding platform, and proprietary features for pro-bidders. BNO offers auctions in a variety of different categories including: Creations (Art & Collectibles), Autobahn (Automobiles), Real Estate (Land & Properties), and Charity (Fundraiser Auctions).
News Article | March 1, 2017
No one saw the crisis coming: a coordinated vandalistic effort to insert Squidward references into articles totally unrelated to Squidward. In 2006, Wikipedia was really starting to get going, and really couldn’t afford to have any SpongeBob SquarePants-related high jinks sullying the site’s growing reputation. It was an embarrassment. Someone had to stop Squidward. The Wikipedia community knew it couldn’t possibly mobilize human editors to face down the trolls—the onslaught was too great, the work too tedious. So instead an admin cobbled together a bot that automatically flagged errant insertions of the Cephalopod Who Shall Not Be Named. And it worked. Wikipedia beat back the Squidward threat, and in so doing fell into a powerful alliance with the bots. Today, hundreds of algorithmic assistants fight all manner of vandals, fix typos, and even create articles on their own. Wikipedia would be a mess without them. But a funny thing happens when you lock a bunch of bots in a virtual room: Sometimes they don’t get along. Sometimes a pair of bots will descend into a slapfight, overwriting each other’s decisions thousands of times for years on end. According to a new study in PLOS ONE, it happens a lot. Why? Because no matter how cold and calculating bots may seem, they tend to act all too human. And these are the internet’s nice, not-at-all racist bots. Imagine AI-powered personal digital assistants in the same room yelling at each other all day. Google Home versus Alexa, anyone? On Wikipedia, bots handle the excruciatingly dull and monotonous work that would drive an army of human editors mad—if an army of editors could even keep up with all the work. A bot does not tire. It does not get angry—well, at least not at humans. It’s programmed for a task, and it sees to that task with a consistency and devotion humans can’t match. While disagreements between human Wikipedia editors tend to fizzle, fights between bots can drag on for months or years. The study found that bots are far more likely to argue than human editors on the English version of Wikipedia: Bots each overrode another bot an average of 105 times over the course of a decade, compared to an average of three times for human editors. Bots get carried away because they simply don’t know any better—they’re just bits of code, after all. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t trustworthy. Bots are handling relatively simple tasks like spellchecking, not making larger editorial decisions. Indeed, it’s only because of the bots’ work that human editors can concentrate on those big-picture problems at all. Still, when they disagree, they don’t rationally debate like humans might. They’re servants to their code. And their sheer reach—continuously scanning more than 5 million articles in the English Wikipedia alone—means they find plenty of problems to correct and potentially disagree on. And bots do far more than their fair share of work. The number of human editors on the English Wikipedia may dwarf the number of bots—some 30,000 active meatspace editors versus about 300 active editors made purely out of code—but the bots are insanely productive contributors. “They’re not even quite visible if you put them on a map among other editors,” says the University of Oxford’s Taha Yasseri, a co-author of the study. “But they do a lot. The proportion of all the edits done by robots in different languages would vary from 10 percent, up to 40 even 50 percent in certain language editions.” Yet Wikipedia hasn’t descended into a bloody bot battlefield. That’s because humans closely monitor the bots, which do far more good than harm. But bots inevitably collide, Yasseri contends. For example, the study found that over the course of three years, two bots that monitor for double redirects on Wikipedia had themselves quite the tiff. (A redirect happens when, for instance, a search for “UK” forwards you to the article for “United Kingdom.” A double redirect is a redirect that forwards to another redirect, a big Wikipedia no-no.) Across some 1,800 articles, Scepbot reverted RussBot’s edits a total of 1,031 times, while RussBot returned the favor 906 times. This happens because of discrepancies in naming conventions—RussBot, for instance, made “Ricotta al forno” redirect to “Ricotta cheese,” when previously it redirected to “Ricotta.” Then Scepbot came in and reverted that change. For its part, Wikipedia disputes that these bots aren’t really “fighting.” “If, for example, Scepbot had performed the original double-redirect cleanup and RussBot performed the second double-redirect cleanup, then it would appear that they are ‘reverting’ each other,” says Aaron Halfaker, principal research scientist at the Wikimedia Foundation. “But in reality, the bots are collaborating together to keep the redirect graph of the wiki clean.” ‘We’re perfectly aware of which bots are running right now.’ Aaron Halfaker, Wikimedia Foundation Still, Halfaker acknowledges that bots reverting each other can look like conflict. “Say for example you might have an editor that wants to make sure that all the English language lists on Wikipedia use the Oxford comma, and another editor believes that we should not use the Oxford comma.” (Full disclosure: This writer believes the Oxford comma is essential and that anyone who doesn’t use it is a barbarian.) But Wikipedia has a bot approval process to catch these sorts of things. “We’re perfectly aware of which bots are running right now,” he says. Also, Wikipedians are at all times monitoring their bots. “People often imagine them as fully autonomous Terminator AI that are kind of floating through the Wikipedia ether and making all these autonomous decisions,” says R. Stuart Geiger, a UC Berkeley data scientist who’s worked with Wikipedia bots. “But for the most part a lot of these bots are relatively simple scripts that a human writes.” A human. Always a human. A bot expresses human ingenuity and human mistakes. The bot and its creator are, in an intimate sense, a hybrid organism. “Whenever you read about a bot in Wikipedia, think of that as a human,” says Geiger. “A human who’s got a computer that they never turn off, and they’ve got a power tool running on that computer that they can tweak the knobs, they can fiddle the words, they can say they want to replace X with Y.” On the all-too-human front, Yasseri’s study also found cultural differences among the bot communities of different Wikipedia languages. “That was really interesting, because this is the same technology being used just in different environments, and being used by different people,” says Yasseri. “Why should that lead to a big difference?” Bots in the German Wikipedia, for instance, argue relatively infrequently, while Portuguese took the prize for most contentious. Those differences may seem trivial, but such insight has profound implications as AI burrows deeper and deeper into human society. Imagine how a self-driving car that’s adapted to the insanity of the German Autobahn might interact with a self-driving car that’s adapted to the relative calm of Portugal’s roadways. The AI inside each has to make nice or risk killing the occupants. So the different ways bots interact on different versions of Wikipedia could foretell how AI-powered machines get along—or don’t—in the near future. And imagine that AI elsewhere on the internet like Twitter makes its way into machines. Bots that spew fake news, that imitate Donald Trump, that harass Trump supporters. Unlike the benevolent bots of Wikipedia, these fool humans into thinking they’re actually people. If you think Wikipedia bots squabbling is problematic, imagine machines with heads full of malevolent AI doing battle. For now, though, the many bots of Wikipedia collaborate, clash, and keep Squidward in his place.
News Article | February 23, 2017
TEL AVIV, Israel, Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine a revolution in sound, where sound becomes dynamic, smart, personal, private and healthy. Last week, in front of over 1000+ attendees at Daimler's Startup Autobahn, Noveto Systems, an innovator in high-tech acoustic systems,...