Aerospace & Defense


MEMS and Smart Dust: The Big Potential of a Tiny Future – Northrop Grumman

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The future is fantastically small. Driven by improvements in 3D printing and the rise of atom-level materials engineering, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are quickly going mainstream as researchers and enterprises alike find use for these devices across the Internet of Things (IoT). Called "smart dust" when applied at scale, legions of tiny MEMS now offer the potential to advance everything from manufacturing and communications to data collection and health care. What exactly is a MEMS? Tech Target described it as a "miniature machine that has both mechanical and electronic components."


Ordnance Survey launch a solar-powered drone that can fly for 90 days at a time

Daily Mail

Ordnance survey has unveiled a solar-powered drone that is capable of flying for 90 days at a time without needing to come back to Earth and will be used to provide higher quality images of Earth. It will circle at approximately 67,000 ft (20,400m) above the ground and snap images to sell to organisations and businesses. First tests of the Astigan unmanned aerial vehicle are scheduled to take place before the end of 2019. Ordnance Survey is the majority stakeholder in Astigan, a firm based in Bridgwater, Somerset. The company works in the same factory that was once home to Facebook's Aquila internet drone project.


Elon Musk Tweet Hints AI Could Be the First 'Resident' of Mars

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One of the largest Tech Billionaire and CEO of Tesla & SpaceX, Elon Musk wants to establish a base on the planet Mars, and he had indicated the first resident on the planet which could be with the help of Artificial Intelligence. On the social media channel Twitter, Elon Musk tweeted what his thoughts were on the first Martian being an intelligent machine which is just rather than the human: so for that, he replied "30%". How the Elon came up with this percentage remains a mystery still, moreover many of the people are wondering what exactly is this "Artificial Intelligence" resident could look like, according to the report which has been revealed. "It's possible that it could be a rover-like bot that explores the planet, or a stationary device that makes observations and conducts experiments without human assistance," the Geek report added. As of now, the manned Mars Mission is entirely hypothetical.


Eurodrone Seeks Collision-Avoidance Feature – UAS VISION

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The ministry's new missive to lawmakers came in response to a request made late last year by Andrej Hunko and fellow Linke members of parliament about the status of the Eurodrone. The questioners appear especially curious about IABG's role in helping to define key performance parameters for the aircraft, particularly related to airworthiness in civilian airspace. According to the ministry's letter, the contractor recommended outfitting the drone with a twin-turboprop propulsion system, a design feature that the developer nations ultimately adopted.


Move over mushers and planes, drones to deliver emergency supplies - Alaska Public Media

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A team of unmanned aerial vehicle experts led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks is working on delivering emergency medical supplies and, maybe later, cargo across Alaska with drones. UAF recently announced an upcoming test to fly a package across Turnagain Arm from Indian to Hope, and while that package -- a three-pound box of Q-tips, actually -- is only one step toward those goals, it could eventually lead to major changes for Alaska communities off the road system. Cathy Cahill, director of the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, spoke with Alaska Public Media's Casey Grove about the test and the center's work. Grove: Alaska has this kind of amazing history of delivering medical supplies in emergencies, you know, 1925, dog mushers running diphtheria serum to Nome, that kind of thing. So this idea seems kind of obvious, and not to be rude, but drones have been around for a while, why aren't we already doing this?


Nothing Artificial About How AI Is Transforming MRO

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The loudest industry buzz has been about using big data and artificial intelligence (AI) for predictive maintenance, or turning unscheduled events into scheduled ones by forecasting likely failures. But surprise events still occur, and AI can also help troubleshoot them faster and more effectively. Any tool that enables predictive maintenance also helps troubleshooting, as it often points to causes of likely failures. But to provide maximum diagnostic benefits, some AI techniques can also be used in different ways. For example, natural language processing can translate mechanics' plain-spoken inquiries into text that helps find answers.


Davos 2019: Why data sharing is key to AI in Industry 4.0

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to power the next stage of Industry 4.0, as manufacturers develop smart factories, digital twins of physical assets and deploy machine learning. Analyst Gartner has forecast that AI growth is accelerating. "Four years ago, AI implementation was rare – only 10% of survey respondents reported that their organisations had deployed AI or would do so shortly," said Chris Howard, distinguished research vice-president at Gartner. "For 2019, that number has leapt to 37% – a 270% increase in four years. "If you are a CIO and your organisation doesn't use AI, the chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern." Among the hot topics discussed during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos is the use of AI and, in particular, industrial AI, to drive reliability and empower new business models. In an article published at the start of the WEF, Roland Busch, CTO at Siemens, wrote: "The keys to success in the digital age are speed and scale.


Boeing's Flying Taxi Prototype Takes to the Air (Briefly)

WIRED

Take the body of a small plane with stubby wings. Replace the wheels with heavy-duty helicopter skids, add four buzzing drone-like electric fans to each one, and you'll have something like Boeing's prototype flying taxi. It's a slightly ungainly looking setup for a flying machine, which are usually sleek and streamlined, but it has just completed a short, first test flight, and it has the lofty goal of being the sort of machine you could hail to get a traffic-skipping ride across town in a few years time. Yesterday, engineers in Manassas, Virginia, wheeled the mishmash aircraft out of a hangar. The blue and white wave paint job contrasted nicely with the grey skies, as the engineers spun up the rotors and watched it lift vertically into the air, hover for less than a minute, and land, allowing techs to begin to test the on-board autonomous systems.


Boeing's self-flying taxi completes its first flight

Engadget

Multiple companies have outlined plans for flying taxis, but Boeing just took an important step toward making them a practical reality. The aircraft maker has completed the first test flight of its autonomous electric VTOL aircraft, verifying that the machine can take off, hover and land. It's a modest start, to put it mildly -- the taxi has yet to fly forward, let alone transition from vertical to forward flight modes. That still puts it ahead of competitors, though, and it's no mean feat when the aircraft existed as little more than a concept roughly one year ago. When finished, the vehicle will serve as an "urban air mobility" solution that shuttles passengers across town in situations where ground transportation would be slow or impractical, with a peak range of 50 miles.


Facebook reportedly working with Airbus to test solar-powered drones in Australia

Daily Mail

Facebook may not have abandoned its program for high-speed internet drones after all. The social media giant is now working with Airbus to test drones in Australia, according to NetzPolitik. Last year, Facebook grounded its so-called Aquila project following'significant internal turmoil' at the company, but said it would continue to pursue partnerships with firms like Airbus. Facebook grounded its so-called Aquila project following'significant' internal turmoil last year. But now it's reportedly working aerospace giant Airbus to test drones in Australia Now, a document obtained by NetzPolitik using a Freedom of Information Act request, has detailed Facebook's plans to continue testing drones.