PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Technology expert Greg Nibler joined KOIN 6 News AM Extra to discuss Google’s self-driving cars’ weather detection, NASA’s upcoming Artemis I launch and a kick starter for robots.
After months of delays, Nibler said NASA’s Artemis I moon rocket launch may finally happen.
“This is part of the whole NASA goal to send humans back to the moon,” Nibler explained. “This launch was originally scheduled back in August, but it’s been years and years in the making, kept getting delayed.”
Nibler said there are no humans on this launch, which aims to test the rocket and see if it’ll be able to work.
“If it does, today as it launches, [it] will start a 280,000-mile round trip around the moon and come back to the Earth all while doing a bunch of tests on board, they’ve got some dummies on there to test the effects of space travel on what would be humans,” Nibler said.
The launch is set for 10 p.m. Tuesday and will be livestreamed on NASA’s website.
In other tech news, Waymo — a division of Google — is developing “robo-taxis,” Nibler explained.
“These will be autonomous vehicles,” he said. “You call the taxi, there’s no driver, it picks you up.”
Currently, the self-driving vehicles are being tested in Phoenix because the weather is dry, Nibler said, adding “but they want to try testing it in more colder weather, places with rain, places with fog – in San Francisco in particular, they’re testing it out right now.”
These “mini weather stations” use “the windshield to detect how much precipitation is falling on it and then use that to send it to their cloud system to the other Waymo cars,” Nibler said.
Expanding access to robotics, Nibler also discussed a kick starter for Robotics Access for Everyone, or RAFE.
Nibler described the robot as a tiny vehicle similar to a Roomba. The robot also includes high-tech features such as high-quality cameras and 3-D sensing ability to map out a room. The software also allows users to control the robot through their iPhones.
“The idea here is that all of this software is going to be open source. So, once you get it, you can really tamper around with it and mess with it and create something of your own. Use that software to develop some third-party thing because they want people to really have access to that kind of robotic software,” Nibler said.