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Robotics

Toward Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft Technology 137

coondoggie writes with a NetworkWorld piece that begins, "Researchers at Purdue will soon experiment with an unmanned aircraft that pretty much flies itself with little human intervention. The aircraft will use a combination of global-positioning system technology and a guidance system called AttoPilot ... to guide the aerial vehicle to predetermined points. Researchers can be stationed off-site to monitor the aircraft and control its movements remotely. AttoPilot was installed in the aircraft early this year, and testing will begin in the spring, researchers said."
Science

Magpies Are Self-Aware 591

FireStormZ writes "Magpies can recognize themselves in a mirror, confounding the notion that self-awareness is the exclusive preserve of humans and a few higher mammals. It had been thought only four species of apes, bottlenose dolphins, and Asian elephants shared the human ability to recognize their own bodies in a mirror. But German scientists reported on Tuesday that magpies, a species with a brain structure very different from mammals, could also identify themselves. It had been thought that the neocortex brain area found in mammals was crucial to self-recognition. Yet birds, which last shared a common ancestor with mammals 300 million years ago, don't have a neocortex, suggesting that higher cognitive skills can develop in other ways."

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