Autonomous bicycle from China – why?

What is the point of autonomus bike? It is a symbol of growing Chinese expertise in advanced chip design! This bike not only balances itself but steers itself around obstacles and even responds to simple voice commands. Nothing special you say? It’s the brains behind the bike that matter! It uses a new kind of computer chip, called Tianjic, that was developed by Luping Shi and colleagues at Tsinghua University, a Beijing’s top academic institution.

The Tianjic chip features a hybrid design that seeks to bring together two different architectural approaches to computing: a conventional, von Neumann design and a neurologically inspired one. The two architectures are used in cooperation to run artificial neural networks for obstacle detection, motor and balance control, and voice recognition, as well as conventional software.

In a paper published in the journal Nature today, the researchers suggest that such a hybrid architecture could be crucial for the future of artificial intelligence, perhaps even providing a route toward more general forms of AI. The chip also hints at the progress China is making in developing its own chip design capabilities. As outlined in this feature article, China has long struggled to build its own chip industry, a major weakness in its technological capabilities that have been exploited in the ongoing trade war with the US. But while manufacturing the most advanced computer chips remains for now out of reach, Chinese researchers are showing they can make specialized AI chips as well as anyone.

This shows than in the future we can expect advanced high-tech researched and developed totally in China, to make them totally independent to any future “black lists”!