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MIT’s new autonomous boat ruled Amsterdam’s canals for 3 hours

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When it comes to autonomous transportation, people primarily talk about cars, buses, and lorries. For cities like Amsterdam, its waterways are an important method of moving people and cargo around. So, it’s another territory autonomous vehicle researchers are exploring as a futurist way of transport.

Recently, researchers MIT‘s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) successfully completed a trial of its autonomous half-sized (2-meters long) vessel, Roboat II. The ship completed a three-hour course of Amsterdam‘s canals and returned to the starting point with an error of just 0.17 meters. 

MIT started the 5-year long transportation project along with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions with the first public demo held in October 2018. Roboat II is the second version of the boat in the project with improved capacity for freight.

The vessel weighs 50kgs and it’s equipped with four propellers LiDAR, GPS, and other internal sensors that allows it to move in any direction. It has an adjustable design to carry both cargo and people (capacity of two person).

The Roboat II has an updated algorithm for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), so the controller can assign it tasks such as passenger pickup. Once the task is assigned, the algorithm automatically charts its path based on conditions such as weather and traffic. 

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Because of its modular nature, a “leader” boat can work with a fleet of other autonomous boats to carry a large set of cargo around the city. Researchers are using a technique called “distributed control system” to manage communication between leader and follower boats.

“The development of an autonomous boat system capable of accurate mapping, robust control, and human transport is a crucial step towards having the system implemented in the full-scale Roboat. We also hope it will eventually be implemented in other boats in order to make them autonomous,” says Wei Wang, a senior postdoctoral associate from the Senseable City Lab and CSAIL.

As a next step, researchers are aiming to build a bigger (4-meter) version of the boat that can carry 4-6 passengers. In addition to this, the team wants to improve real-time object detection and identification, so that it can tackle more complex scenarios that might occur in city waterways. Plus, it wants to create adaptive controls so that the internal structure of the boat change depending on the object placed on it.

Published October 26, 2020 — 15:50 UTC

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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