Notes from the field: learning AI with the VIA Pixetto visual sensor

VIA Pixetto

It was a great pleasure to visit the prestigious Taipei Municipal Renai Junior High School last Friday to learn about the program the institution has developed to educate its students about advanced technologies like AI.

The goal of the program, as the school principal emphasized during his presentation, goes beyond simply teaching students narrow technical skills such as how to code or build a robot. Its overall objective is to provide a holistic framework for students to improve their critical thinking and problem solving abilities so that they can harness technology tools to make a greater contribution to society. Continue reading Notes from the field: learning AI with the VIA Pixetto visual sensor

notes from the field: enabling new last-mile services with autonomous delivery vehicles

last-mile services

Autonomous delivery vehicles have the potential to be much more than a replacement or extension of existing delivery services. With a powerful computing system inside them, they will be able to go beyond simply transporting goods or meals from a logistics hub to a consumer’s home to providing a wealth of new last-mile services that improve convenience, security, and health for individual consumers and the community at large.

In addition to core navigation and safety functionality such as 360° surround view video, long and short-range radar, and LiDAR, autonomous delivery vehicles will be able to support a huge selection of additional features and applications to meet individual and community needs – such as facial recognition to ensure that the right person is picking up the delivery and even thermal sensors for scanning the temperature of workers and other people who come close to the vehicle. Continue reading notes from the field: enabling new last-mile services with autonomous delivery vehicles

Notes from the field: when will autonomous delivery vehicles become a commonplace sight?

Autonomous delivery vehicles

How long will it be before autonomous delivery vehicles become a commonplace sight on the streets of our towns and cities?

Perhaps this will happen much sooner than many people think. Demand for such devices looks set to explode as delivery and logistics companies look to reduce operational costs and expand the range and convenience of the services they offer without having to hire additional drivers. According to a recent AutoSens blog article, there are already over thirty companies providing autonomous delivery solutions in China – with many more expected to pile into the market. In the US, a growing number of retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, Lowes, and Target have also started testing autonomous deliveries using vehicles from the likes Nuro, Ford, and Waymo. Continue reading Notes from the field: when will autonomous delivery vehicles become a commonplace sight?

Notes from the field: promising new seeds of mobility?

new seeds of mobility

It’s hard to be optimistic when it comes to predicting how the mobility market will develop as more and more countries gradually emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown.

One key question is whether the traditional auto industry will be able to recover from its catastrophic drop in sales once people are allowed to hit the road again. The fragile state of the global economy and the growing popularity of remote working practices and on-demand grocery and meal delivery services suggest that achieving a recovery will be challenging to put it mildly. In the short term at least, it’s likely that auto makers will have to put a lot of long-term development projects on hold as they grapple with today’s grim economic realities. Continue reading Notes from the field: promising new seeds of mobility?

Notes from the field: it’s only in the cold of winter

cold of winter

Given the turbulent times that Confucius lived in, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are plenty of passages in the Analects that resonate with the difficult times that we ourselves are experiencing.

The one I find most resonant is in 9.28, were Confucius quotes an ancient saying: “It’s only in the cold of winter that you realize that the pines and cypresses are the last to wither.” The key point he is making is that it is only when tough times arrive that people reveal their true character. While it’s all too easy to prosper in the soft warmth of summer without any real effort, it’s a lot more difficult to make it through the harsh cold of winter. Continue reading Notes from the field: it’s only in the cold of winter

Analects of Confucius Book 9: Confucius on ritual integrity

Confucius on ritual integrity

Even though Confucius was a strong advocate of preserving ancient Zhou dynasty rituals in all their pristine glory, that didn’t mean that he was completely averse to making changes to them when it made sense – as long as they didn’t affect the integrity of the ceremonies.

In 9.3, he doesn’t raise any objections to replacing hemp or linen with silk in the production of ceremonial caps because it is much more economical to do so. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 9: Confucius on ritual integrity

Notes from the field: CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 highlights

reflections on CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020

It’s a pity that CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 ended on a rather muted note as a result of mounting concerns about the Covid-19 virus. I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this awesome event and get a colorful snapshot of the latest construction industry trends.

The highlight for me was the live demonstration Caterpillar gave of their latest vehicles.  I was particularly impressed with how they showed the increasingly important role technology is playing in improving operator productivity and safety by enabling the real-time capture and analysis of key telematics data. Continue reading Notes from the field: CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 highlights

Analects of Confucius Book 9: the great forbearance of Zilu and Zigong

Zilu and Zigong

Unlike the sainted Yan Hui, neither Zilu nor Zigong manage to earn unequivocal praise from Confucius in Book 9 of the Analects. Indeed, Confucius rebukes them both for a variety of sins – ranging from a serious violation of ritual protocol to a failure to understand the qualities required of a leader.

Zilu is the one who is responsible for breaching ritual conventions by acting as if he is a retainer of a feudal lord while the sage is seriously ill in 9.12. Given that Confucius doesn’t belong to such an august rank, he roundly scolds his well-meaning if misguided follower after he recovers: “Zilu, this deception has lasted long enough. Who do I deceive with these bogus retainers? Do I deceive heaven? Rather than die among retainers, I would prefer to die in the arms of my followers. I may not receive a grand funeral, but I’ll hardly die by the roadside.” Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 9: the great forbearance of Zilu and Zigong

Analects of Confucius Book 2: Confucius on the mandate of heaven

Confucius on the mandate of heaven

Confucius didn’t “do god” in the sense of worshiping a specific deity or religion, but he did subscribe to a belief in the idea of an all-seeing and all-knowing “heaven” (天/tiān) that acted as a sort of moral guide for the world and bestowed its will or mandate (命/mìng) on virtuous individuals to rule the world wisely and benignly. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 2: Confucius on the mandate of heaven

Analects of Confucius Book 9 overview: Confucius praises Yan Hui

Confucius praises Yan Hui

Like Book 8, Book 9 of the Analects of Confucius is a bit of a hodgepodge of various sayings and episodes culled from multiple sources – making it impossible to discern a central theme. It does, however, include some revealing passages involving Confucius and three of his most faithful followers that shed further light on his relationships with them.

Confucius’s protégé and favorite Yan Hui makes the most appearances in the book with three. Zilu and Zigong both make two. The only other possible follower featured is the enigmatically-named Lao (牢) in 9.7. He is usually identified as the fastidious and relatively obscure Yuan Xian. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 9 overview: Confucius praises Yan Hui