Could HUBO Robot Save Lives?

Whether it’s winter or summer, every two years people all over the world tune in for the Olympics. This year’s Winter Olympics were held in PyeongChang, South Korea. An important and arguably one of the most popular parts of the Olympics, is the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony contains performances and events that officially start the beginning of the Olympics.

One special event within the opening ceremony, is the lighting of the torch. The Olympic torch relay that is completed in today’s modern Olympics honors the ancient games that started it all. The ancient games took place in Olympia, Greece and used the sun to light the torch, to ensure purity. A flame burned on the altar of the Greek Goddess Hestia, and such fires were also lit on the altars of Zeus and Hera, during the ancient games. During the modern day Olympics, the flames are lit for the entire duration of the Olympics and are extinguished at the end of the games at the closing ceremony.

This year’s Olympic torch lighting was done a little differently. HUBO the humanoid robot, created by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIST) and was included in the relay race and ran the final leg of the relay in the city of PyeongChang,South Korea. HUBO was developed by Professor Jun Ho Oh from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST University, and is best known for being the winner of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge in 2015.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge is a competition encouraging participants to develop semi-autonomous ground robots that can do complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments, which falls in line with DARPA’s mission statement, “Creating breakthrough technologies and capabilities for national security.” In 2015, there were over 22 different robots created by robotics teams from all around the world, for the challenge. HUBO completed every challenge faster than any other robot in the DARPA competition. The challenges that the robots have to complete are tasks that can be used during any disaster situation. The tasks include:

DARPA Robotics Challenge Requirements

1. Drive a utility vehicle at the site.

2. Travel dismounted across rubble.

3. Remove debris blocking an entryway.

4. Open a door and enter a building.

5. Climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway.

6. Use a tool to break through a concrete panel.

7. Locate and close a valve near a leaking pipe.

8. Connect a fire hose to a standpipe and turn on a valve.

KAIST university reported that the HUBO was mainly created for disaster rescue operations. While HUBO was created with ambitious goals, one more humble way it might be able to save lives is by helping car accident victims. Even if technology advances to only have autonomous cars on the road, there may always still be a risk of car accidents happening. In the present time, when 1.3 million car accidents happen per year, worldwide according to Safe International Road Travel, and over 1 million people are killed each year from car accidents, according to the NHTSA, HUBO may be able to help at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. One main problem with how we deal with car accidents today is the often times slow response time of overworked and understaffed first responders, especially in major cities like Detroit, which has a response time of about 52 minutes per accident, according to Bridge News.  

A robot like HUBO may be able to help create faster response times and in some situations, may provide safer and quicker help than human responders who may have to put their own lives at risk. HUBO can move debris and break through concrete walls, and may be able to adapt its skills to pry open a crushed vehicle, allowing people trapped in a potentially fatal situation under the vehicle's weight, to be helped. And HUBO may be able to cut metal faster than it takes a couple of firefighters to operate the jaws of life. So, not only can HUBO save lives quicker but it may make first responders’ jobs safer. First responders’ won’t have to move or cut open cars or large debris, so it lowers the risk of them getting injured while trying to help somebody who was involved in a car accident. 

Hopefully, HUBO will be fully operational and deployed in life saving situations, all over the world, very soon!

With technology advancing as quickly as it is, people should be aware of everything that technology has to offer. Robots like HUBO can have a huge impact on car accidents and help lessen the number of people injured or killed in car crashes. If you have been involved in a car accident, call a car accident attorney from The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Rock Thrown From Overpass Kills Michigan Man

A Michigan man has died after the vehicle he was traveling in was struck by a large piece of concrete. According to the Detroit Free Press, on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, Kenneth White, 32 of Mount Morris, Michigan was riding in the passenger seat of a work van, traveling south on I-75 at about 70 MPH. As the vehicle approached the Dodge Road overpass, a chunk of concrete weighing about 6 pounds smashed through the windshield. White sustained fatal injuries, most notably a fractured skull, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The accident occurred in Vienna Township, Genesee County, about 80 miles north of Detroit. White leaves behind a fiance and a young son.

Flint Car Accident Lawyer

Investigators immediately suspected that the chunk of concrete had been thrown from the overpass intentionally, as opposed to other accidents in which debris has fallen from overpasses accidentally. Before White’s vehicle had been struck, approximately 20 other rocks had already been thrown, and 4 vehicles had been hit and were pulled over waiting for police to arrive. Those 4 vehicles only sustained minor damage.

Mlive reported that investigators were handling the accident as a homicide investigation, and initially offered a $2,500 reward for anyone with information who was willing to come forward. Police received a social media tip that lead them to take 5 teenagers into custody for questioning. Kyle Anger, 17; Mark Sekelsky, 16; Mikadyn Payne, 16; Trevor Gray, 15; and Alexander Miller, 15, all of Clio, Michigan, have since been charged as adults with second-degree murder. They have also been charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and six felony counts of malicious destruction of property. They face up to a lifetime in prison, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled yesterday morning, November 2, 2017.  According to Fox 2 Detroit, "police say the 17-year-old Anger is accused of throwing the rock that hit the van."

Flint Car Crash Lawyer

Officials say the the debris were gathered from a dead-end street in Vienna Township, Michigan, and then transported to the overpass in a flatbed pickup truck. Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said in a statement that “while some may be saying well we want first-degree murder, I don't believe there was pre-mediation (to cause a death) here. It's not a prank. It's second-degree murder. I don't think anybody is laughing. This is not a prank.”

According to ClickOnDetroit, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, who is trying the 5 teenagers as adults echoed Sheriff Pickell saying, "I don't believe this was a deliberate act to take someone's life...It was a willful and wanton act that resulted in someone's death. These people should've known better. They should've known this could kill someone, and under Michigan law, that's second-degree murder."

While we can all make choices to drive as safely as we can, accidents like this are unfortunately something we have no control over. Nothing, a rock or otherwise, should ever be thrown from an overpass. It’s not a prank, it’s not funny, and it could be deadly. Drivers already have enough to pay attention to on the road in order to avoid being involved in motor vehicle accidents. Adding something that's falling from the sky that the vehicle will likely be unable to avoid is has proven to be deadly, and anyone who thinks that doing such a thing is funny or harmless will likely find themselves in serious trouble.

Any sort of "prank" that involves distracting drivers or adding another element to the road that drivers need to be prepared for is not funny, and could lead to a serious car accident and fatal injuries. If you or someone you know have been the victim of an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Pet Passenger Safety

It’s not uncommon to see people traveling with their pets whether they are going to and from a friend's house for a pet play date, traveling on vacation, or even just running errands. While it's common to see dogs hanging their heads out of car windows, just how safe is it to have a pet in a moving vehicle?

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The Dangers of Traveling With Pets

According to Kurgo, a leading supplier in dog traveling products, only 16% of dog owners who drive with their pets actually restrain them inside the vehicle. Letting pets roam free is not only dangerous for man's furry little friend, but for the driver too. Cuteness aside, pets can serve as a huge distraction to the driver by barking, seeking attention for pets, or climbing all over the vehicle. These distractions can cause the driver to become more concerned about attending to their pet rather keeping their eyes on the road. 

Pet Safety Precautions

The American Humane Society (AHS) recommends that when traveling with animals, it is best for pets to travel in a carrier that has been secured to the vehicle by a seat belt or by other secure means. There are even custom or specifically engineered dog restraints and belts that drivers can purchase to keep pets still in the vehicle, which in turn prevents them from causing distractions to the driver. 

Another precaution to take when driving with a pet is to stop them from sticking their heads out of the window. This can lead to the pet becoming sick, accidentally being blinded by debris, or getting it's head stuck or caught in the window, which not only hurts them but requires the driver to take their eyes off the road to help the animal. There is also the possibility that unsecured pets, especially those small in size, could jump or fall out of the window. Not only would a dog ejected from a window cause the driver to immediately stop possibly leading to the driver being rear-ended, but a dog in the middle of traffic could cause endless commotion to other motorists, many more potential accidents, and even the dog's death.

In the case of such an accident or in the event that the pet is experiencing a Marley & Me moment, pets should always wear their ID collar so that they can be properly identified and/or tracked. Finally, The AHS would suggest taking frequent rest stops so that pets can walk off excessive energy and go to the bathroom.  

Source: GIPHY,  Marley & Me

Source: GIPHY, Marley & Me

Pet-Safe Vehicles

For those who really love to travel with their pets, the safest way to transport them is to use a roomy vehicle. According to Autotrader, a minivan or crossover SUV would be best suited for pet travel. These types of vehicles provide more room for crates and allow pets to have enough space be comfortably move around but not enough that they distract the driver.

Drivers who travel with their pet should also look for vehicles with rear climate control, a containment barrier to keep the front seat a designated human area, and a rear lift-gate to make getting animals in and out of the vehicle easier. 

Autotrader’s 2016 Pet-Friendly Vehicles Include:

  • Volkswagen Tiguan 
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Volvo XC90

Pets are a cherished addition to any family and as such, their humans should take their safety just as seriously. Since most pets are the size of children, not restraining them when vehicles are in motion may result in serious injury or even death, in the event of a motor vehicle accident. While accidents are sometimes unavoidable, by following these tips, hopefully people will be better able to protect their pets while traveling. 

Pet owners should be prepared to take the necessary precautions to protect their pet because accidents can happen in a blink of an eye. If you or someone you know has been injured in a collision due to a pet’s distraction, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys know how much pets mean to their humans but also how dangerous they can be when let loose in a moving vehicle. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.