If I saw a giant shrub headed down my street, I'd probably just think my neighbor was disguising himself as an evergreen again. But now I find out I'd better look more closely, as it could be a solar-powered shrub car!
Artist Justin Shull said he created the Terrestrial Shrub Rover in the spirit of NASA and its forthcoming lunar expeditions. I'm having a bit of trouble connecting moon missions with a vehicle that looks like a boxwood, but Shull seems to be getting at the notion of innovation here.
He says the car "presents the opportunity to explore terrestrial and social environments back on Earth from within a manned, foliage-bedecked, solar-electric-powered rover." (Also in development is an unmanned, remotely controlled, Webcam version). The thing is, amazingly, the Terrestrial Shrub Rover actually works, as you can see from the below video of it taking a ride through a place that alternately looks like a cemetery and a park, and where it appears to be quite at home.
Of course, all that greenery on the frame obscures the space where a windshield on a shrub car would normally go. Instead, the driver uses video screens mounted on shelves inside the vehicle to gauge what's going on outside (including--and especially!--drunk trees in the rover's path).
The K5 robot, developed by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Knightscope, is designed to be a surveillance robot for law enforcement, private security firms, schools and anything else looking for an extra set of eyes and ears on the ground. The 5-foot, 300-pound robot can roam autonomously, sending back real time data about an area with technology that does facial recognition, lidar mapping and 360-degree video. CNET's Kara Tsuboi got a closer look at what makes the K5 robot tick.