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MM: AeroMobilā€™s Flying Car Debut; Making Robots Easy To Use

In this Manufacturing Minute episode, making robots easy to use and answers to lingering questions about AeroMobilā€™s flying car debut.

Making Robots Easy-To-Use

Robots will undoubtedly pose range of opportunities ā€” and challenges ā€” in coming years.

But a primary concern is how robots designed by scientists will be used by a layperson.

Conventional methods require roboticists to adjust a system of virtual rings and arrows, across two computer screens, to tell robots exactly what to do.

Although the system is effective for experts, engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology warned that it is complex ā€” and could lead to errors if left in the hands of people who aren't familiar with it.

They responded with a simple interface that allows a user to select an item with a mouse. An algorithm then analyzes the object and suggests a few options for the robot to grasp it.

Once a grip is selected, the robot takes care of everything else, reducing mistakes and making the process much faster.

Georgia Tech scientists presented the system at a conference last month and released it as open-source software.

They said that it could be used for in-home assistance, search-and-rescue operations and space exploration.

But it could also help in manufacturing, where companies worry about whether they'll have the skilled workers to fill increasingly high-tech job requirements.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? 

Could a simpler interface make robots easier to use ā€” and more prevalent in factories?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

AeroMobilā€™s Flying Car Revealed

In last weekā€™s episode, we covered how AeroMobil was finally ready to reveal the worldā€™s first commercially available car in Monaco. Well, this week is all about what happened in Monaco and what AeroMobil delivered after years of ramping up customer expectations.

So, hereā€™s what we now know: the flying carā€™s body is made from high-strength, lightweight carbon fiber. Behind the passenger cell is a 300 hp turbocharged 2.0 L four-cylinder engine that drives a variable pitch pusher-propeller in flight. When on the ground, that same engine acts as a generator that powers a pair of electric motors on the hybrid automobile.

Yep, itā€™s a hybrid and the best part is that you donā€™t have to charge it. The AeroMobil team says hybridization solved the problem of having to build an engine that meets emissions restrictions for both aircraft and automobiles.

Also, yes the flying car is actually both a fully functional 4-wheel automobile and an aircraft. AeroMobil says that it takes less than three minutes for the car to transform in flight and that the range is about 450 miles as a road car and when cruising at altitude.

OK, so the price. Right now, if you want a flying car it will cost you between $1.3 and $1.6 million. If thatā€™s within your price range, AeroMobil is currently taking pre-orders and says the flying car will be delivered to customers by 2020.

SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Did AeroMobilā€™s flying car live up to years of hype?

Tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews or in the comments section below.

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