U IS BEAUTIFUL
Androidol U is a life-like female android eveloped by Osaka University professor,
Hiroshi Ishiguro and collaborators. It recently
debuted during a program on Niconico Live —
a popular Japanese video sharing website and
broadcasting platform. The android wizard
himself appeared on stage alongside the robot,
dressed in his trademark black jacket and pants.
Sporting a bob cut, white blouse, yellow
skirt, and blue tights, Androidol U is a fully
autonomous conversational robot that has a
more compact air servo system, better voice
and body movement coordination, and softer
body materials compared to previous androids.
LICENSE PLATES FOR DRONES?
In late 2015, mandatory drone registration went into effect in the United States. Since then, anyone who
wants to fly a drone (or model aircraft) weighing over
0.55 pounds (0.25 kilograms) must register with the US
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to receive a
unique identification number. This number needs to be
placed on the drone, but there are no requirements for
it to broadcast signals to allow for remote identification.
That might change in the future.
The FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016
required the FAA administrator to “convene industry
stakeholders to facilitate the development of consensus
standards for remotely identifying operators and owners of
unmanned aircraft systems and associated unmanned aircraft.”
Recently, DJI — the world’s largest commercial drone
manufacturer — announced a proposal outlining a general scheme for
doing just that.
The company’s ideas are more fully described in a whitepaper it
issued in response to a recent call for papers on the topic by the
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — a
trade group involved with “all things unmanned.”
DJI’s proposal attempts to balance public interests in being able
to identify who is using a drone in a particular place and time with
the privacy interests of the drone’s owner or operator. As the
company points out in its whitepaper, drone operators might want to
maintain anonymity even if there were people around to witness their
DJI proposes that drones be required to broadcast an identifying
code by radio. That code would not include the name and address of
the owner, but authorities would be able to use it to look that
information up in a non-public database — a kind of electronic
license plates for drones.
At the same time, it’s easy to understand why law enforcement
or regulatory authorities would sometimes want to identify the
owner or operator of a drone; say, if somebody felt the drone was
invading their privacy or if a drone was being flown close to a nuclear
power plant. “Many people have concerns [about drone flights] that
could be ameliorated if somebody could talk to [the operator],” says
Adam Lisberg, DJI’s spokesman for the US and Canada.
That requirement would not apply to all drones, however. Ones
at the small end of the spectrum would be exempt, just as they are
from current FAA regulations to register drones and model aircraft
that exceed 0.25 kg. DJI thinks that threshold is too low; a more
reasonable value should apply to both the current registration
requirement and to any future requirement to broadcast an ID
number by radio.
bots IN BRIEF
22 SERVO 05.2017
Photo: DFSB DE via Flickr