The University of Albany in Upstate New York recently unveiled a two-story, 1,700-square-foot drone lab. The College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) hosted an open house last month to launch the lab, located in the basement of Page Hall at the university's downtown campus. The space, enclosed with netting and rubber flooring, offers a controlled indoor environment for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight training, along with land-based robotics research and educational opportunities. According to a press release from UAlbany, last summer, Brandon Behlendorf, an assistant professor at CEHC, was leaving his office in Richardson Hall when he stumbled upon an aging stairwell on the north corner of the second floor. Wondering where it led, he made his way down five stories to a locked door in the basement.
This is especially true of the tech sector, where some analysts liken the U.S. and China's heavy strategic investments in cybersecurity, quantum computing, 5G, and artificial intelligence to a digital arms race, one that, because of China's long-term positioning and access to vast amounts of data to train on, that country will win. But Anne-Marie Slaughter argues that when it comes to the world-shifting technology of artificial intelligence, the narrative isn't so simple. She explains why she is putting her money on the United States. Great power conflict isn't the only thing we at Future Tense have been fretting about this week. We've also been looking at digital privacy.
Earlier Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported that pilots made five complaints about the Boeing aircraft to federal authorities in the months leading up to Sunday's crash. The complaints, voluntarily made in the FAA's incident database, referenced problems with an autopilot system that occurred during the aircraft's ascent after takeoff, according to the Morning News. An FAA spokesman told the paper that such reports were filed directly to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the first pictures of a retro-looking rocket that may one day carry people to the moon and Mars. Musk posted pictures on Twitter late Thursday of the Starship Hopper prototype, which awaits its first flight test in Texas in the coming weeks. "Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering," he wrote. The prototype built in Boca Chica, along the Gulf Coast of Texas, is 9 yards (8 meters) in diameter but is shorter than the future rocket will be.
China has for the first time released video showing its latest stealth drone in flight, state media said Sunday. China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday ran video featuring the "saucer-like" Sky Hawk drone, and state-run Global Times claimed that the new drone's cutting-edge technology will allow it to fly faster, farther and escape detection. The Global Times, quoting the CCTV report, said the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.-developed drone, known as the Sky Hawk, had conducted the flight test at an undisclosed location in the country. Video showed the drone taking off and landing, marking the first time that the aircraft has been publicly seen in flight, according to the reports. The drone reportedly made its maiden flight last February, but no video had been published before Saturday's broadcast.