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Versatile building blocks make structures with surprising mechanical properties

Robohub

Researchers at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms have created tiny building blocks that exhibit a variety of unique mechanical properties, such as the ability to produce a twisting motion when squeezed. These subunits could potentially be assembled by tiny robots into a nearly limitless variety of objects with built-in functionality, including vehicles, large industrial parts, or specialized robots that can be repeatedly reassembled in different forms. The researchers created four different types of these subunits, called voxels (a 3D variation on the pixels of a 2D image). Each voxel type exhibits special properties not found in typical natural materials, and in combination they can be used to make devices that respond to environmental stimuli in predictable ways. Examples might include airplane wings or turbine blades that respond to changes in air pressure or wind speed by changing their overall shape. The findings, which detail the creation of a family of discrete "mechanical metamaterials," are described in a paper published in the journal Science Advances, authored by recent MIT doctoral graduate Benjamin Jenett PhD '20, Professor Neil Gershenfeld, and four others.


Robots invade the construction site

#artificialintelligence

Theresa Arevalo was in high school when she first tried finishing drywall at her brother's construction company. "It's a fine art," she says of mudding--applying and smoothing drywall. "Like frosting a cake, you have to give the illusion that the wall is flat." Fast-forward a few decades: Arevalo now works at Canvas, a company that's built a robot using artificial intelligence that's capable of drywalling with almost as much artistry as a skilled human worker. The robot has been deployed, under Arevalo's supervision, at several construction sites in recent months, including the new Harvey Milk Terminal at San Francisco International Airport and an office building connected to the Chase Center arena in San Francisco.


Artificial Intelligence to increase air safety in the face of storms

#artificialintelligence

The European research project START, coordinated by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and with the participation of important actors in the aeronautical scene, combines Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to develop algorithms that allow air traffic networks to be optimised during storms. This would improve the safety and timeliness of flights and reduce economic losses associated with delays and cancellations. Sometimes, during flights, aircrafts have to change their route (their flight plan) because of unforeseen events, such as storms. These meteorological phenomena, which may be accompanied by hail and lightning, are difficult to predict; they are known to appear in a wide area, but it is difficult to accurately predict when and where the storm focus will happen. START's objective is the development of research algorithms for optimising air transport networks in terms of their resilience (the system's recovery capacity) when facing this kind of disruptive phenomena.


California man charged with crashing drone into LAPD helicopter

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. A Hollywood man who operated a drone that crashed into a police helicopter, forcing an emergency landing, is facing a federal charge. Andrew Rene Hernandez, 22, was arrested by FBI agents Thursday and charged with one count of unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft, the Justice Department said. The criminal case is believed to be the first in the nation stemming from a drone collision.


Artificial intelligence to increase air safety in the face of storms

#artificialintelligence

Sometimes, during flights, aircrafts have to change their route (their flight plan) because of unforeseen events, such as storms. These meteorological phenomena, which may be accompanied by hail and lightning, are difficult to predict; they are known to appear in a wide area, but it is difficult to accurately predict when and where the storm focus will happen. START's objective is the development of research algorithms for optimising air transport networks in terms of their resilience (the system's recovery capacity) when facing this kind of disruptive phenomena. "The storms we are analysing in this project are convective, typically cumulonimbus (a type of cloud), which are very energetic and dangerous for an aircraft in flight, so pilots tend to systematically avoid them", explains the project's coordinator, Manuel Soler, from the UC3M's Department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering. In addition to heavy rain, these storms often present hail, lightning, and thunder, and may eventually block airports or large airspace corridors.


Robots Invade the Construction Site

WIRED

Theresa Arevalo was in high school when she first tried finishing drywall at her brother's construction company. "It's a fine art," she says of mudding--applying and smoothing drywall. "Like frosting a cake, you have to give the illusion that the wall is flat." Fast-forward a few decades: Arevalo now works at Canvas, a company that's built a robot using artificial intelligence that's capable of drywalling with almost as much artistry as a skilled human worker. The robot has been deployed, under Arevalo's supervision, at several construction sites in recent months, including the new Harvey Milk Terminal at San Francisco International Airport and an office building connected to the Chase Center arena in San Francisco.


Amazon reduces the size of its delivery drone team

Engadget

Amazon has confirmed that it is laying off a number of people working on its internal drone delivery project. The Financial Times reported that the mega-retailer had opted to shrink its internal team in favor of using external contractors to complete the work. The report's anonymous sources said that executives were frustrated at the speed of progress, leading to the change in strategy. The first two companies to sign up are FACC Aerospace from Austria and Aernnova Aerospace from Spain, which are both component manufacturers. Reportedly, other businesses are expected to sign up in the near future, as Amazon tries to push Prime Air closer to reality.


Artificial intelligence to increase air safety in the face of storms

#artificialintelligence

Sometimes, during flights, aircrafts have to change their route (their flight plan) because of unforeseen events, such as storms. These meteorological phenomena, which may be accompanied by hail and lightning, are difficult to predict; they are known to appear in a wide area, but it is difficult to accurately predict when and where the storm focus will happen. START's objective is the development of research algorithms for optimising air transport networks in terms of their resilience (the system's recovery capacity) when facing this kind of disruptive phenomena. "The storms we are analysing in this project are convective, typically cumulonimbus (a type of cloud), which are very energetic and dangerous for an aircraft in flight, so pilots tend to systematically avoid them", explains the project's coordinator, Manuel Soler, from the UC3M's Department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering. In addition to heavy rain, these storms often present hail, lightning, and thunder, and may eventually block airports or large airspace corridors.


Feds charge Hollywood man after drone collides with LAPD helicopter

Los Angeles Times

FBI agents have arrested a Hollywood man, accusing him of recklessly operating a drone and crashing it into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter earlier this year. The collision damaged the chopper's fuselage and required the LAPD pilot to make an emergency landing following the September encounter. The drone, which authorities say was operated by Andrew Rene Hernandez, then tumbled from the sky and crashed into a vehicle. Hernandez, 22, was arrested Thursday and charged with unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft after an investigation by the FBI, the LAPD and the Federal Aviation Administration. The potentially deadly collision occurred Sept. 18 after Los Angeles police officers responding to a predawn burglary call at a Hollywood pharmacy requested air support.


Fly AI report – demystifying and accelerating AI in aviation

AIHub

The first Fly AI report provides an overview of the many ways that artificial intelligence is already applied in the industry and assesses its potential to transform the sector. The report aims to demystify AI, help its uptake in aviation and advance understanding of its potential for example in areas such as reducing human workload, driving the development of new air traffic management (ATM)/U-Space services, or increasing safety and cyber resilience. It includes a Fly Action Plan which sets out the practical actions that could be taken to accelerate the development of AI in European aviation and ATM. The report was developed by the European Aviation High Level Group on AI (EAAI HLG) – a high level group composed of key representatives from all aviation sectors (airlines, airports, Air Navigation Service Providers, manufacturers, EU bodies, military and staff associations). Experts from a range of organisations were involved: EUROCONTROL, the European Commission, ACI-Europe, Airbus, ASD, CANSO, Heathrow Airport, Honeywell, IATA, IFATCA, IFATSEA, the SESAR JU, Thales, as well as our military partners EDA and NATO.