Increasingly clever machines


in Geek stuff, Oxford, Science

It seems my mountain climbing, robot-building friend Mark has a relatively new blog. He works with autonomous robots of the kind that competed in the recent DARPA Urban Challenge.

Here is one way in which such robots see the world: as a set of laser determined ranges.

Previous robot-related posts:

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

. November 4, 2007 at 4:40 pm

Was that a stop sign?
* Nov 30th 2006
* Cars that drive themselves

A challenge, eh?
* Nov 1st 2007
* Robot cars

. November 4, 2007 at 4:45 pm

DARPA’s Urban Challenge ends, six cars cross the line

“DARPA’s Urban Challenge has finished, with six of the eleven cars making it across the finishing line. Cars from Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and Virginia Tech were the “winners,” taking less than the six hour maximum to complete the 60 mile course which involved avoiding obstacles and fifty cars with human drivers…

That’s a far better showing than the first ever “Desert” Challenge in 2004 where not a single car finished. Since then the number of cars completing has only increased, and with it, the potential for cars that can drive themselves.”

R.K. November 4, 2007 at 7:37 pm

Here is one way in which such robots see the world: as a set of laser determined ranges.

Nice try. Everyone knows that robots see like this.

R.K. November 4, 2007 at 7:49 pm

You may enjoy this blog: Nerd Wisdom. That said, there is some risk that it will be too nerdy even for you.

Mark November 4, 2007 at 8:51 pm

Thanks Milan! A little exposure is a fine thing for my fledgeling blog.

Milan November 4, 2007 at 9:09 pm


I see you set things off in a serious way: a proper domain, WordPress, Google Analytics, etc.

Mark November 5, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Yeah – the primary reason I’m rubbish at getting things going is that I rather like to do it right!

The only thing I’m not too happy about is the hosting provider I chose – DreamHost. They’re not expensive, and in many ways very good, but they’re SLOOOW. My site sometimes takes over 10 seconds to load, and sometimes goes down entirely. Apparently this is not uncommon with shared hosting. I had a poke around from my shell account and discovered there are 783 other sites hosted on the same sever as my one, which seems a little over-sold to me.

What’s your hosting experience been like? Found anyone you’d recommend? I’m already looking around for somewhere to move the site to when my current subscription expires.

Milan November 8, 2007 at 12:32 am


I was actually considering switching to DreamHost. GoDaddy can also be slow, and they sometimes have reliability issues with their MySQL servers.

Sharing a server with 700+ sites does seem a lot, but it may not be a problem for a site only hosting a few hundred page views per day. Going to a dedicated server increases costs dramatically.

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