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Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS)

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Dezeen

An MIT study has found that the wide spread adoption of self-driving cars could lead to increased carbon emissions, reports Rima Sabina Aouf for Dezeen. “The study found that with a mass global take up of autonomous vehicles, the powerful onboard computers needed to run them could generate as many greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers in operation today,” writes Aouf.

The Hill

A new study by MIT researchers finds that “the energy required to run computers in a future global fleet of autonomous vehicles could produce as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers in the world,” reports Sharon Udasin for The Hill. The researchers found that “1 billion such cars, each driving for an hour daily, would use enough energy to generate the same amount of emissions that data centers do today.”

The New York Times

Prof. Steven Barrett speaks with New York Times reporter Paige McClanahan about the pressing need to make air travel more sustainable and his research exploring the impact of contrails on the planet’s temperature. “Eliminating contrails is quite a big lever on mitigating the climate impact of aviation,” said Barrett.

Politico

Politico reporter Derek Robertson writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds the computing power required to replace the world’s auto fleet with AVs would produce about the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers currently operating. Robertson writes that the researchers view the experiment “as an important step in getting auto- and policymakers to pay closer attention to the unexpected ways in which the carbon footprint for new tech can increase.”

BBC News

Graduate student Soumya Sudhakar speaks with BBC Digital Planet host Gareth Mitchell about her new study showing that hardware efficiency for self-driving cars will need to advance rapidly to avoid generating as many greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers in the world.

Popular Science

Using statistical modeling, MIT researchers have found that the energy needed to power a fleet of fully autonomous EVs could generate as much carbon emissions as all the world’s data centers combined, reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science.

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds the “future energy required to run just the computers on a global fleet of autonomous vehicles could generate as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers in the world today.” 

Mashable

MIT’s mini cheetah robot was taught how to goal keep using simulation, reports Emmett Smith for Mashable. “The robot was able to block 87.5 percent of the shots taken, which is just slightly above the best professional goalies in the English Premiere League,” writes Smith.

TechCrunch

In a new paper, MIT researchers detail the use of reinforcement learning to teach MIT’s mini cheetah robot to play goalie in a soccer match, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “In this work, we focused solely on the goalkeeping task, but the proposed framework can be extended to other scenarios, such as multi-skill soccer ball kicking,” the researchers explain.

NPR

Loh Down on Science host Sandra Tsing Loh spotlights Prof. Cathy Wu and graduate student Vindula Jayawardana and their work developing a new method for self-driving vehicles that would help minimize idling at red lights. “In their method, self-driving can be taught to minimize stops at red lights. To make this work, traffic lights and self-driving cars would have sensors. This would let them check in with each other on their surroundings,” says Loh.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporters Kyle Wiggers and Devin Coldewey spotlight how MIT researchers developed a new technique for simulating an overall system of independent agents: self-driving cars. “The idea is that if you have a good amount of cars on the road, you can have them work together not just to avoid collisions but to prevent idling and unnecessary stops at lights,” write Wiggers and Coldewey.

Mashable

MIT researchers developed a new control system for the mini robotic cheetah that allows the robot to jump and traverse uneven terrain, reports Jules Suzdaltsev for Mashable. “There’s a camera for processing real-time input from a video camera that then translates that information into body movements for the robot,” Suzdaltsev explains.

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Prof. Sanjoy Mitter, Prof. Munther Dahleh, research affiliate Le Xie and their colleagues underscore the need to build a “resilient energy ‘superhighway,’ an electric grid that delivers a wide portfolio of energy supplies to the end users in a reliable manner.” They add that: “Investments are needed both in building the backbone interconnections, as well as in upgrading the ‘last mile’ distribution grid.”

Engadget

Engadget reporter Jon Fingas writes that MIT researchers have developed a tiny computer chip small enough to fit on a honeybee-sized drone that can help the drone navigate. The technology could eventually be applied to, “smart pills that navigate to where they're needed, or virtually any vehicle that may need to last for a very long time on one battery charge.”

Salon

MIT researchers have developed a virtual reality system that can train drones to fly faster while also avoiding obstacles, reports Lauren Barack for Salon. Barack explains that the “researchers are programming the drones so they think they're in a living room or bedroom while they fly. They virtually see obstacles around them, but those impediments aren't really there.”