CHICAGO: Researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) are teaching self-driving cars to recognize and predict pedestrian movements with greater precision by zeroing in on humans’ gait, body symmetry and foot placement.
According to a news released posted on UM’s website, the researchers captured video snippets of humans in motion in data collected by vehicles through cameras, LiDAR and GPS, and recreated them in 3D computer simulation.
And based on this, they’ve created a “biomechanically inspired recurrent neural network” that catalogs human movements, with which they can predict poses and future locations for one or several pedestrians up to about 50 yards from the vehicle, about the scale of a city intersection.
The results have shown that this new system improves upon a driverless vehicle’s capacity to recognize what’s most likely to happen next.
“The median translation error of our prediction was approximately 10 cm after one second and less than 80 cm after six seconds. All other comparison methods were up to 7 meters off,” said Matthew Johnson-Roberson, associate professor in UM’s Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. “We’re better at figuring out where a person is going to be.”
To rein in the number of options for predicting the next movement, the researchers applied the physical constraints of the human body: human’s inability to fly or fastest possible speed on foot.
“Now, we’re training the system to recognize motion and making predictions of not just one single thing, whether it’s a stop sign or not, but where that pedestrian’s body will be at the next step and the next and the next,” said Johnson-Roberson.
Prior work in the area typically looked only at still images. It wasn’t really concerned with how people move in three dimensions, said Ram Vasudevan, UM assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
By utilizing video clips that run for several seconds, the UM system can study the first half of the snippet to make its predictions, and then verify the accuracy with the second half.
“We are open to diverse applications and exciting interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities, and we hope to create and contribute to a safer, healthier, and more efficient living environment,” said UM research engineer Xiaoxiao Du.
The study has been published online in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, and will appear in a forthcoming print edition.
Pakistan among top countries where Facebook restricted most content
KARACHI: Pakistan ranked second in the list of countries where social media giant Facebook restricted maximum content.
The total content curbed in Pakistan by the platform doubled between July and December 2018, according to Facebook’s latest transparency report released on Friday.
4,174 items were restricted in Pakistan during the second half of 2018, as compared to 2,203 pieces from the first half of the year.
According to the breakdown of the content restricted in Pakistan, Facebook suspended 3,811 posts, 343 pages and groups, 10 profiles and one album. On Instagram, the platform restricted a total of nine items — seven posts and two accounts.
China slams US ‘lies’ about Huawei-government ties
BEIJING: Beijing on Friday accused the United States of spreading “lies” about Huawei after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the telecom giant was not being truthful about its ties to the Chinese government.
Huawei has been thrust at the centre of escalating tensions between the world’s two top economies, with President Donald Trump saying Thursday the fate of the company could be included in any deal to resolve their trade war.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of the “specifics” of Trump’s comments and repeated that dialogue must be based on “mutual respect”.
The Trump administration has infuriated Beijing by blacklisting the smartphone and telecommunications company over worries that China uses it as a tool for espionage and allegations of breaking Iran related sanctions.
Huawei has repeatedly denied that it works with the Communist-led government.
“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo said.
Lu said US politicians have spread rumours about Huawei without providing evidence.
SpaceX launches first satellites of its internet network
WASHINGTON: SpaceX on Thursday launched a rocket containing the first 60 satellites of its “Starlink” constellation, which is intended to provide internet from space and could one day number 12,000 satellites.
One of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets took off without incident from Cape Canaveral in Florida around 10:30 pm (0230 GMT).
The second stage of the rocket will begin to release them one hour after launch, at an altitude of 270 miles (440 kilometers), and then the satellites will use their thrusters to take up their places in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers).
That’s slightly higher than the International Space Station, but well below the majority of terrestrial satellites, the highest of which sit in a geostationary orbit of 22,400 miles (36,000 kilometers).
The launch was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed, first due to high winds and then due to the need for a software update.
Billionaire Elon Musk’s firm, which is leading the private space race when it comes to rocket launches, is now looking to seize a chunk of the future space internet market.
The launch will make it an early forerunner, along with rival OneWeb, a startup, but well ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Musk’s space rival Jeff Bezos.
Each of the satellites weighs just 227 kilograms (500 pounds) and was built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle.
Starlink will become operational once 800 satellites have been activated, which will require a dozen more launches.