Article from : factor-tech


To create their MPPI control algorithm the team combined large amounts of car handling information with data on the dynamics of the vehicle, to calculate the most stable trajectories from the numerous possibilities.

“Aggressive driving in a robotic vehicle – manoeuvring at the edge – is a unique control problem involving a highly complex system,” said School of Aerospace Engineering assistant professor and project leader, Evangelos Theodorou.

“What we’re talking about here is using the MPPI algorithm to achieve relative entropy minimisation, and adjusting costs in the most effective way is a big part of that,” said James Rehg, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing.

An update to vTime , the leading virtual reality app for social interactions, is enabling users to meet up and socialise inside their own photographic memories, taking family holiday photo viewing sessions to a whole new level.

As a result, the product is fast cementing itself as the answer to social interaction in VR, with expressive avatars and interesting environments going a long way to making users feel as if they really are in a room with friends who live halfway round the world.


Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources has secured $21.1m in funding to deploy and operate Ceres, an advanced Earth observation business.

The project, which will feature the first commercial infrared and hyperspectral sensor platform, aims to better understand and manage humanity’s natural resources. The company’s operations will include Earth observation, as well as prospecting and mining asteroids.

Based on the company’s vision to explore and utilise asteroid resources, Ceres will use the Arkyd spacecraft to deliver affordable Earth intelligence of natural resources anywhere on the planet.

The advantage that Ceres has over typical satellite imagery – which only provides a picture – is in its ability to provide actionable data with higher spectral resolutions (i.e. beyond what the human eye can see). This is made possible by measuring thermographic properties and detecting the composition of materials on the Earth’s surface.

Ceres will use a midwave-infrared sensor, which is the first ever commercial capability from space to offer thermographic mapping and night-imaging. It will also feature a hyperspectral sensor, which includes 40 colour bands in the visible to near-infrared spectrum – an unprecedented feature.

The imaging technology will be integrated onto the Arkyd spacecraft and arranged as a constellation of ten satellites in low-Earth orbit. This constellation will then provide global monitoring capabilities, benefitting industries from agriculture to oil and gas.

For example, Ceres will be able to analyse the spectral signatures of crops, identify energy and mineral resources, and monitor pipelines and remote infrastructure. It can track toxic algae blooms, monitor global water quality and enable the detection of early-stage wildfires.


The company is currently testing Ceres’ sensor platform, and will demonstrate the technology in space with a scheduled launch of its Arkyd 6 spacecraft. The mission aims to validate the thermographic sensor and supporting technologies.

“As we continue toward our vision of the expansion of humanity and our economy into the Solar System, our team has been working on the critical technologies required to detect and identify the most commercially viable near-Earth asteroids and their resources,” said Chris Lewicki, Planetary Resources president and CEO.

“To characterize these resources, it required more than just a picture, and our team has developed advanced spectral sensors to serve this need. We have also created new technologies for onboard computing, low-cost space platforms, and are now applying these transformative technologies in additional markets.”

Bryan Johnson, founder of OS Fund, one of the companies funding the project, added: “With Ceres, Planetary Resources has leapfrogged traditional imagers for monitoring Earth’s natural resources, creating far-ranging opportunity.

“It’s a seismic shift for the new space economy.”

Funding for the Ceres project was led by Bryan Johnson and the OS Fund, with support from Idea Bulb Bentures, Tencent, Vast Ventures, Grishin Robotics, Conversion Capital, The Seraph Group, Space Angels Network, Larry Page and a syndication of investors from