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Seen & Heard: Tesla’s tussles, otter tracks

November 2, 2021  - By

“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry.


Photo: Tesla

Photo: Tesla

TESLA’S TUSSLES

Tesla has offered “full self-driving” on its cars since 2016, but most owners have never come close to experiencing a self-driving Tesla, with owners telling CNN Business that they’ve lost confidence in CEO Elon Musk’s predictions. Incidents of Teslas involved in accidents while on autopilot haven’t helped. In California in September, authorities arrested a woman for a DUI while her Tesla drove on autopilot, while in August, another Tesla on autopilot hit a parked police car in Florida. Unsurprisingly, the autopilot feature has increasingly come under scrutiny by U.S. regulators and lawmakers. Meanwhile, Musk announced a “Tesla Bot” humanoid robot prototype is coming in 2022.


Study author Lingqiu Jin tests the robotic cane. (Photo: Cang Ye, VCU/NIH)

Study author Lingqiu Jin tests the robotic cane. (Photo: Cang Ye, VCU/NIH)

MANEUVERING INDOORS

A robotic cane is being developed to help the visually impaired navigate indoors. The cane is equipped with a color 3D camera, an inertial measurement sensor and an on-board computer. When paired with a building’s architectural drawing, the device can accurately guide a user to a desired location with sensory and auditory cues, while helping the user avoid obstacles such as boxes, furniture and overhangs. Its development is funded by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. Details of the design were published in the IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica, under lead author Cang Ye (pictured), Virginia Commonwealth University.

 


Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

MAKING TRACKS WITH SEA OTTERS

Space Shop, a 3D print shop at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, is printing a better tracker for wildlife. The prototype is being tested on sea otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium with the help of USGS. The GPS-enabled tracker is lighter and more accurate than current trackers; it costs less and is solar powered. It withstands a salt-water environment, and the occasional chomping from a sea otter’s strong teeth.


Photo: Garmin

Photo: Garmin

NIGHT VISION? NO PROBLEM

Garmin has provided India’s defense forces with two handhelds equipped to receive the country’s NavIC signals. Both multi-GNSS handhelds also are equipped with altimeters, barometers and three-axis electronic compasses. The GPSMAP 66sr model has specialized military features, including compatibility with night-vision goggles so troops don’t have to remove their goggles to use it. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has asked Garmin to integrate NavIC into all of its upcoming satellite navigation devices.

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About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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