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NASA Mars helicopter makes history as first vehicle to fly on another planet

National Geographic

A small helicopter opened a new chapter of space exploration this morning when it lifted off the surface of Mars, marking humankind's first powered flight on another planet. The 19-inch-tall chopper called Ingenuity kicked up a little rusty red dust as it lifted about 10 feet off the ground, hovered in place, turned slightly, and slowly touched back down. The flight lasted only about 40 seconds, but it represents one of history's most audacious engineering feats. "A lot of people thought it was not possible to fly at Mars," says MiMi Aung, the project manager of Ingenuity at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). "There is so little air."


NASA's Mars helicopter completes first flight on another world

The Japan Times

A small robotic helicopter named Ingenuity made space exploration history on Monday when it lifted off the surface of Mars and hovered in the wispy air of the red planet. It was the first machine from Earth ever to fly like an airplane or a helicopter on another world. The achievement extends NASA's long, exceptional record of firsts on Mars. "We together flew at Mars," MiMi Aung, the project manager for Ingenuity, said to her team during the celebration. "And we together now have this Wright brothers moment."


NASA Lands Ingenuity, the First Ever Mars Helicopter

WIRED

Very early this morning, NASA flew a small drone helicopter that its latest rover had toted to Mars, marking humankind's first controlled and powered flight on another planet. Ingenuity stuck the landing--and space engineers are stoked. Ingenuity ascended about one meter per second, until it rose three meters--about 10 feet above Mars. The helicopter hung as evenly as its state-of-the-art electronics could allow, and then landed where it had been 40 seconds before. Then, Ingenuity pinged its Earth-bound engineers a message they've sought for almost a decade: Mission accomplished.


Attack of the drones: the mystery of disappearing swarms in the US midwest

The Guardian

At twilight on New Year's Eve, 2020, Placido Montoya, 35, a plumber from Fort Morgan, Colorado, was driving to work. Ahead of him he noticed blinking lights in the sky. He'd heard rumours of mysterious drones, whispers in his local community, but now he was seeing them with his own eyes. In the early morning gloom, it was hard to make out how big the lights were and how many were hovering above him. But one thing was clear to Montoya: he needed to give chase.


Xwing completes first autonomous gate-to-gate commercial cargo flight

Engadget

Several companies are building unmanned flying vehicles from scratch, but autonomous aviation startup Xwing is taking a different approach by focusing on software for existing aircraft. Now, the company says it's achieved a major milestone by completing the first fully autonomous gate-to-gate demonstration of a commercial cargo flight. The breakthrough saw a remotely-piloted Cessna Grand Caravan 208B utility plane (equipped with the startup's AutoFlight software stack) leave the gate, taxi, take-off, land and return to the gate by itself. Xwing says that all traffic control interactions were done remotely from the ground. The startup believes that by retrofitting existing aircraft with its autonomous system it can get to market sooner by overcoming the regulatory and technical hurdles others face.


First gate-to-gate autonomous airplane flight

ZDNet

A San Francisco-based company is claiming an aviation first with a gate-to-gate fully autonomous flight. You can see a video of the flight in the embed below. The company, Xwing, is setting out to introduce autonomous technology for regional air cargo, an overlooked space in the global race for autonomy but, with its sub-500 mile predictable routes and significant commercial importance, an intriguing entry point for autonomous air travel. Xwing is betting it can gain ground amid growing unmet logistics demand using its human-operated software stack that seamlessly integrates with existing aircraft to enable regional pilotless flight. "Over the past year, our team has made significant advancements in extending and refining our AutoFlight system to seamlessly integrate ground taxiing, take-offs, landings and flight operations, all supervised from our mission control center via redundant data links," says Marc Piette, CEO and founder of Xwing.


How Aviation Industry Uses Data Science? - Analytics Vidhya

#artificialintelligence

Aviation Industry does use AI or rather data science and machine learning to automate or speed up operations. So, in this article, we will see how Aviation Industry uses Data Science with the help of real-life use cases. Understanding traveler demand for specific city pairs and pricing flights are among the main problems airlines solve to survive. To do that carriers must consider thousands of factors when analyzing data. While analysts still can use traditional statistical approaches.


NASA's Mars helicopter gets ready to make history

National Geographic

NASA is nearly ready to attempt the first flight on another planet. The space agency's small helicopter, called Ingenuity, has been deposited in a flat area on Mars, and it is running through a series of final tests before it tries to lift into the thin Martian air. Ingenuity's first flight was originally slated for April 11, but the mission hit a snag during a pre-flight test. While trying to spin the helicopter's rotors at full speed without leaving the ground, Ingenuity's onboard computer ended the test early. NASA says the helicopter is safe and communicating with Earth.


How Machine Learning Is Changing Commercial Flight - Simple Flying

#artificialintelligence

Artificial Intelligence is rolling out across the aviation industry to a greater and greater extent. It could even hold the key to a speedier post-pandemic recovery. Let's take a look at how its branch of machine learning is already impacting everyday aspects of travel, including how tickets are priced, point-to-point routes, fuel consumption optimization, and biometric boarding. "AI is coming and it will have no mercy for any obstacles on its way. Companies can choose to resist and maintain status quo to extend their survival period, or embrace AI and be part of the ongoing revolution," – IATA, AI in Aviation White Paper, 2018.


The Morning After: Even NASA's Mars drone needs software updates

Engadget

Anyone who has ever brought a drone knows that after it comes out of the box, the first thing you do is install a ton of software updates. It turns out that things work similarly when you're NASA, and the drone is a helicopter preparing to take flight on Mars, 174 million miles away from you. Issues during a rotor test alerted the Ingenuity team to a problem with the command sequence, and to address it, they'll put together a patch and upload it to the craft over the next few days. That means more waiting before its eventual first test flight, but given the stakes, it makes sense to do everything necessary to avoid any type of crash. NVIDIA's GTC conference revealed the sexiest of all graphics announcements: data center CPUs.