Forget about Autonomous Cars, This Robot Can Be Your Chauffeur

Nao robot 1 photo
Photo: Robots Lab
Google is fighting to be first in the autonomous cars competition, the Cinese also announced they will join in and at least a couple of other auto makers are planning to play the game. But what would you think if we were to tell you scientists already designed a robot that is able to drive your car by himself without hurting any pedestrian.
Last time we checked, Google autonomous cars would not be allowed on the street as long they don’t come with standard controls. But auto manufacturers worldwide might just get a big surprise in their struggle to conquer technologies that would make self driving cars possible and affordable, which is... a robot.

Turns out, the scientists over at Robots Lab, a company creating robots for educational purposes, have already designed a specimen that is driving a car by itself. We’re talking about a combo pack called Nao that has a robot and an electric BMW Z4, available to drive you around for $9,990 (EUR 7,669). Oh, there is one little impediment, it’s a mini combo, so you might not actually fit in the car.

Nao is a companion robot that was designed to respond to verbal commands, see with cameras, recognize voices and communicate over both internet and infrared channels. According to its creators, the little robot can be programmed in C++, Python, Java and other languages, while the mini BMW comes with a laser rangefinder, autonomous driving, and obstacle avoidance built in.

To be completely honest with you, the package was designed as a learning tool for schools and students, but that doesn’t mean we can’t expect to see a real scale NAO soon enough.

Who knows, maybe the future is all about butler robots who'll do the things humans dislike, so that we can focus on making more money to afford buying them...

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