Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:What? Wait ... (Score 5, Informative) 125

by bughunter (#49563499) Attached to: Smart Headlights Adjust To Aid Drivers In Difficult Conditions

The bit you're apparently not grasping is something called a spatial light modulator.

You've probably encountered one as a digital cinema projector, or possibly even own one for PowerPoint presentations.

Couple it with a microwave radar or ultrasound sonar, and you can track individual raindrops and then cast shadows on them.

Sounds unnecessarily expensive for consumer automotive, but might be nice for buses/locomotives, emergency vehicles or passenger aircraft.

Comment: Re:And when capped internet comes then people will (Score 2) 282

by bughunter (#49528965) Attached to: German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal

I need control over what comes down the pipe.

I don't need a court ruling to justify that. It's my browser, my computer, my request. You're not *entitled* to send me extra shit I don't want. And I'm not *obligated* to load anything you might put on your page.

Sorry. Deal with it advertisers and click sellers. As long as I pay for an ISP subscription, that's my right: Flat rate or metered; capped or unlimited; dial-up trickle or Tier 3 deluge. It's *my* option and I'm going to exercise it.

If you want to make money or defer your costs, charge a fee or request a donation. That's your option.

Comment: Pilots will always be needed (Score 5, Interesting) 78

by bughunter (#49479483) Attached to: GAO Warns FAA of Hacking Threat To Airliners

This is why the idea of remote overrides of pilot controls is a particularly BAD idea.

A trained, qualified pilot must always have last resort authority, over any automated system and preferably even over any "assisted" system, whether it be fly by wire, hydraulic, etc. If control can be taken out of his or her hands remotely, because someone (or something) on the ground doesn't agree with the pilot's judgement, I guarantee we'll see more disasters, not fewer.

The instances where intentional pilot misconduct or hijacking occur are few, but notorious. But the instances where human pilots in the cockpit handle minor emergencies that could easily have turned into deadly ones occur regularly and we seldom hear about most of them.

Case in point: Do you think an autopilot on the ground could have heard a stowaway baggage handler?

Comment: Kudos for Musk (Score 4, Insightful) 117

by bughunter (#49474191) Attached to: SpaceX Dragon Launches Successfully, But No Rocket Recovery

This is an achievement. Take it from an old rocket grognard, a veteran of Amroc, Orbital, and others: just getting this far is an accomplishment.

And it's smart of Musk to append a test operation onto a paying mission. The launch fee for the ISS delivery offsets a major portion of the cost of the test.

And in a test sequence, close does count, because all data gathered is useful. And often, data from a failure is more useful than data from a success.

"Success is a lousy teacher; it seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." —Bill Gates

Comment: Human In The Loop Abort (Score 5, Informative) 91

by bughunter (#49464351) Attached to: Killer Robots In Plato's Cave

I once worked on the camera portion of a semi-autonomous weapon which, once a target was designated, would continually analyze the live image to maintain, track and intercept that target. A key part of the system was a human in the loop abort, which would cause the system to veer off target before impact should the operator see something he or she didn't like: not the intended target, high probability of collateral damage, etc.

The point is, all judgements about selecting the target and aborting the mission or changing targets were in the hands of a human. The automated parts were vehicle operations, corrections for terrain and weather, tracking an operator-designated object, etc. — all things that required no risk assessment, moral judgment, ethical considerations, etc.

That's the difference between autonomous and semi-autonomous: A human identifies the target, and monitors the system to issue a stand down order as new information becomes available.

(It's also the only weapon system I ever worked on, and it caused me great conflict. Though the intended use had merit, the possible unintended uses made me very uncomfortable. No, I can't be more specific.)

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

Working...