GPS and online maps are a thing of the past, according to German scientists. The future, it seems, is a robot that will stop people and ask them for directions. Everything we know is wrong!
The seemingly strange invention, from the Technical University of Munich, has a purpose beyond contrariness; according to the University of Oxford's roboticist, Paul Newman, it's the next step in robot evolution:
It's absolutely the way to go... Robots use mathematics internally to navigate, but that's not the way you want them to relate to people cohabiting with a machine. If there's a building on fire you don't want to give a fireman a robot-drawn map or a mathematical model, you want to say: 'down the corridor, third door on right'.
Of course, if there's a building on fire, you might want the robot to move slightly faster than he already does. In a recent test, it took the Advanced City Explorer five hours and conversations with 38 people to find a destination 1.5 kilometers away from its starting point.
Lost robot crosses city by asking directions [New Scientist]