Monday, December 28, 2015

FAA sets out Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) (“drone”) registration requirements

Etopia News posed some questions today to Ian Gregor, Public Affairs Manager at the Federal Aviation Administration Pacific Division, about their recently-promulgated regulation requiring owners of certain weight Unmanned Aircraft Systems to register their flying robots with the FAA.  Here’s what he had to say:

Q: How many of these vehicles have been registered already? 

A: We expect to release registration numbers after we’ve had a chance to compile them following the holidays. The registration system continues to operate smoothly and we are seeing steady activity on the part of aircraft owners.

Q: What is the deadline for registration of newly-acquired systems?  What is the deadline for legacy systems owned before the regulations went into effect?

A: If you operated your UAS before Dec. 21, 2015, you have until February 19, 2016 to register your UAS. If you purchase your UAS after Dec. 21, 2015, you must register before you operate it outdoors.

Q: What are the penalties for not registering? 

A: Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years. However, our near-term focus is on educating people, not taking enforcement action against people for failing to register.

Q: What steps does FAA envision taking to enforce this rule?  

A: The FAA, along with our government and industry partners, is engaging in a wide range of educational outreach initiatives to make sure people are aware of the registration requirement and what flying safely means.

Register your drone with the FAA here

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will probably “end up with 100 people in each location”

Etopia News recently reported that Toyota Research Institute (TRI) CEO Gill Pratt would be appearing at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on January 5, 2016, as part of the Consumer Electronics Show to speak in more detail than previously about TRI’s plans to spend a billion dollars over five years researching machine learning and artificial intelligence for automotive, robotic home care, and who-knows-what-other future applications in the shadow of, and in cooperation with, two of the country’s premier scientific and technological universities, Stanford and MIT.

Now Cindy Knight, a Toyota spokesperson, has responded to an Etopia News follow-up inquiry asking for further details about TRI operations as it starts up with this statement:

“All of these questions will be touched upon in our press conference on Jan 5 in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, in particular, the first group of researchers to be hired, the ongoing relationship with the two universities [Stanford and MIT], [and] the first set of projects.

“We’ve already announced that there will be two physical locations, very close to Stanford and MIT respectively.  Work begins in early 2016.  I think we plan to end up with 100 people in each location.

“Gill Pratt’s speech and the press release will be posted to our Newsroom Web site at 1:00 PM that same day [at]

“And as I mentioned, CNET, the official channel of the show, is planning on Livestreaming.”

Toyota is already doing cutting-edge research related to safe automotive navigation, as indicated in "Toyota to Display New Map Generation System at CES 2016" and "Toyota to Boost Investment in Artificial Intelligence by Strengthening Relationship with Preferred Networks Inc."

Monday, December 21, 2015

TRI CEO Gill Pratt will divulge “more detail about the new company” at CES

According to Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight, the newly-appointed CEO of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), Gill Pratt, will appear at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at 1:00 pm on January 5, 2016, in the ballroom created by combining Islands A, B, F, and G at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, at which time he will reveal more details about this new company, which was recently established by Toyota Motors Corporation to conduct cutting-edge research and development of machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve automotive safety and create effective home care robots, among other possibilities, many yet to be announced, or probably even envisioned.

According to Ms. Knight, his presentation will be streamed live on C|Net.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

OpenAI will focus on AGI and making it friendly, not technological unemployment, yet

In two pithy e-mails from spokesperson Matt Krisiloff, the recently-established OpenAI organization let it be known that, for now, their focus will be on creating Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and making sure that it’s friendly.  They will not yet be focusing on “technological unemployment,” the replacement of humans by robots and artificial intelligence that some observers are concerned about.

Asked about whether the organization would be addressing this issue of technological unemployment, here’s what Matt had to say:

“It will informally be part of the conversation, and may become more prominent as we get closer to success, but won't be a central focus for now.”

Etopia News then asked him “Will your central focus be on developing AGI and making sure it’s friendly?”  To which Matt promptly replied:

“In (very) short, yes :)”