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Airbus' Vahana Flying Car Uses Laser Sensors to Pick out Landing Spots

WIRED

Airbus calls its self-flying flying car Vahana, and is working on it at its Silicon Valley outpost A 3 (pronounced "a cubed"). If all goes according to plan, Vahana will use a Near Earth Autonomy technology called Peregrin. Singh has spent 25 years working on sensors for autonomous cars and aircraft, and spun off Near Earth Autonomy from Carnegie Melon University five years ago. That said, a lot of work remains to be done, and Neva Aerospace, a European consortium driving the development of key technologies for flying cars, believes fully autonomous flights remain a long ways off.


Teaching Drones How To Crash Safely

MIT Technology Review

The system stores a database of potential ditch sites for safe emergency landings, and is able to choose the ideal site based on range, size, type of terrain, reliability, and time or day constraints. It's a much more advanced system than what is currently used in most commercial UAVs, which require a designated "home" point, to which the vehicle will attempt to return in the case of a hardware malfunction or drained battery. Current models are unable to safely ditch if, for example, the remaining battery charge is unable to return the drone to its home point, or if that home point is out of date. Once these remaining technological challenges are solved, Roy believes that Safe2Ditch, or similar systems, could become an FAA-mandated safety standard in UAV manufacturing.


The Blackbird set for a hypersonic overhaul

Daily Mail

Lockheed Martin has revealed its secretive Skunk Works unit is beginning to build the first flight demonstrator of a radical hypersonic update of the long-retired Mach 3 SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. Lockheed Martin posted an artist's impression of the craft to its website, with the caption'The Skunk Works hypersonic design – an aircraft developed to execute Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and strike missions at speeds up to Mach 6.' The plane will also have a'warm structure' that will heat up during flight Lockheed Martin posted an artist's impression of the craft to its website, with the caption'The Skunk Works hypersonic design – an aircraft developed to execute Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and strike missions at speeds up to Mach 6.' NASA is backing plans to return to supersonic flight, with its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) low-boom flight demonstrator aims to produce a much lower'boom' than other supersonic aircraft, and NASA is hoping to see the first flight tests take place in 2021 The XS-1 program envisions a fully reusable unmanned vehicle, roughly the size of a business jet, which would take off vertically like a rocket and fly to hypersonic speeds.


AI Just "Landed" a Boeing 737 for the First Time By Itself

#artificialintelligence

It's going to take us a healthy dollop of faith in technology to accept autonomous vehicles at some point on our roadways. The U.S. military believe automated aircraft may improve mission safety and success rates, and their Defense Advanced Research Agency, or DARPA, has just announced the successful simulated flight and landing of a Boeing 737 by an AI-driven robot co-pilot named ALIAS. "ALIAS" is an acronym for "Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System." DARPA hopes ALIAS can eventually be trusted with the "execution of an entire mission from takeoff to landing, even in the face of contingency events such as aircraft system failures."


Self-Flying Taxis To Debut In Dubai Later This Year

International Business Times

Dubai, also called the Future City, will start testing aerial taxi transportation later this year. The agency revealed plans Monday to start trials of its Autonomous Aerial Taxis during this year's fourth quarter. When the project was first announced, the agency was working with drone company EHang for single-passenger autonomous flying vehicles. Transportation officials are working with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to develop laws, operational guidelines and to define specifications and standards applicable to operators before the "commercial and official operation of the autonomous air vehicles," Tayer said.


NASA's Safe2Ditch Lets Damaged Drones Land Safely

WIRED

That's why researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia have developed a system that can help with one slice of drone troubleshooting: enabling small UAVs to determine on their own when they're not working properly, and then find a safe place to land. Safe2Ditch, invented by Langley's Trish and Lou Glaab, is designed for fully autonomous aircraft without human pilots at the controls. It uses software algorithms to detect battery or motor problems, control-surface or structural failures, or even shifting cargo that can disrupt the aircraft's balance. America's Plan to Somehow Make Drones Not Ruin the Skies The system can, for instance, detect anomalies in performance through a vehicle health monitor the Glaabs developed that can infer the source of the problem--a structural failure might cause one side of the aircraft to start to dip in flight, for instance, or a battery problem might produce inconsistent power readings.


Engineers design drones that can stay aloft for five days

Robohub

Hansman and Hoburg are co-instructors for MIT's Beaver Works project, a student research collaboration between MIT and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Hansman and Hoburg worked with MIT students to design a long-duration UAV as part of a Beaver Works capstone project -- typically a two- or three-semester course that allows MIT students to design a vehicle that meets certain mission specifications, and to build and test their design. The researchers came to their conclusions after modeling the problem using GPkit, a software tool developed by Hoburg that allows engineers to determine the optimal design decisions or dimensions for a vehicle, given certain constraints or mission requirements. In the fall of 2016, the team built a prototype UAV, following the dimensions determined by students using Hoburg's software tool.


Engineers design drones that can stay aloft for five days

MIT News

Hansman and Hoburg are co-instructors for MIT's Beaver Works project, a student research collaboration between MIT and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Hansman and Hoburg worked with MIT students to design a long-duration UAV as part of a Beaver Works capstone project -- typically a two- or three-semester course that allows MIT students to design a vehicle that meets certain mission specifications, and to build and test their design. The researchers came to their conclusions after modeling the problem using GPkit, a software tool developed by Hoburg that allows engineers to determine the optimal design decisions or dimensions for a vehicle, given certain constraints or mission requirements. In the fall of 2016, the team built a prototype UAV, following the dimensions determined by students using Hoburg's software tool.


forget-flying-cars-and-get-ready-for-air-taxis

Engadget

Instead of flying cars, get ready for fleets of small "air taxis" zipping from hub to hub within a region, delivering passengers to their destinations. The company wants a world where you take an Uber to one of its flight hubs, hop into a eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) craft and be whisked to another hub on the other side of town. That model would be unsustainable if a city were to add multiple hubs and potentially hundreds of air taxis. "We think it's kind of funny when people call us a flying car -- if Vahana is a flying car then so is a helicopter!"


United Airlines cockpit access codes leaked online

The Independent

The passcodes securing cockpit doors on United Airlines aircraft may have been leaked to the public. Over the weekend, United Airlines owner United Continental Holdings informed staff that passcodes and safety information had been posted online by a flight attendant. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo. A Toyota Motors employee demonstrates a smartphone app with the company's pocket plug-in hybrid (PHV) service on the cockpit of the latest Prius hybrid vehicle during Toyota's "connected strategy" press briefing in Tokyo An employee shows a Samsung Electronics' Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea Visitors experience Samsung Electronics' Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer's Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer's GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire In its facilities, JAXA develop satellites and analyse their observation data, train astronauts for utilization in the Japanese Experiment Module'Kibo' of the International Space Station (ISS) and develop launch vehicles The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to the music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight.