Mining sewage for fertilisers and energy to prevent water shortages

Image Credit - Danilo Pinzon / World Bank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Transforming the dirty water we flush down the drain into new products, such as clean energy and fertilisers, can help prevent reservoirs from running dry and change the way this valuable resource is viewed. Currently, water use risks leaving half the world facing severe scarcity by 2030 as demand outstrips supply. The linear way our societies … Read more

‘Trusting self-driving cars is going to be a big step for people’

When self-driving cars start to operate in a real-life context, it could be transformative for people's perception of autonomous driving, says Dr Bonnefon.

Self-driving cars are set to bring one of the biggest changes to our global transportation system in decades, but their potential to increase road safety should not be over-emphasised if we want to increase people’s trust in automated vehicles, says Dr Jean-François Bonnefon from the Toulouse School of Economics, France, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, … Read more

‘Online voting isn’t ready for high-stakes elections’

Image credit - Santeri Viinamäki, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Online voting is often considered a way to improve voter turnout and security. But according to Dr Steve Kremer of the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, computer scientists have got a long way to go before they make it a viable alternative to pencils and paper. He is researching ways of making … Read more

A ‘cookbook’ for vehicle manufacturers: Getting automated parts to talk to each other

Image credit - MAN Truck & Bus

Semi-autonomous cars are expected to hit the roads in Europe next year with truck convoys following a few years later. But before different brands can share the roads, vehicle manufacturers need to agree on standards for automated functions. Automation will increasingly allow vehicles to take over certain aspects of driving. However automated functions are still … Read more

Fleets of autonomous satellites to coordinate tasks among themselves

Image credit - Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Space missions have long benefited from some autonomous operations being carried out aboard spacecraft, but with a sharp increase expected in the number of satellites being launched in the next few years, researchers are using automation and artificial intelligence to make them smarter and more effective. Technology firms and researchers see scope for giving satellites … Read more

Robotic arms and temporary motorisation – the next generation of wheelchairs

Image credit - AIDE, Universidad Miguel Hernandez

Next-generation wheelchairs could incorporate brain-controlled robotic arms and rentable add-on motors in order to help people with disabilities more easily carry out daily tasks or get around a city. Professor Nicolás García-Aracil from the Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH) in Elche, Spain, has developed an automated wheelchair with an exoskeleton robotic arm to use at home, … Read more

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