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Archive for the ‘transportation’ category: Page 334

Aug 4, 2020

DARPA Awards Contracts for New X-Plane Program Based on Active Flow Control

Posted by in category: transportation

DARPA has selected three performers to work on the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program, which aims to demonstrate an aircraft design based on active flow control (AFC), an area not fully explored compared to traditional flight controls. The goal is to demonstrate significant efficiency benefits of AFC, as well as improvements in aircraft cost, weight, performance, and reliability.

“The performers are looking at using active flow control very early in the design scope. That’s the differentiating piece that hasn’t been done before,” said Alexander Walan, the program manager for CRANE in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “AFC has been explored at a component level, but not as an integral piece of aircraft design. By altering the design approach, CRANE seeks to maximize the chance of a successful X-plane development while also integrating AFC into the aircraft’s stability and control.”

The program is kicking off Phase 0, a long conceptual design phase to give performers time to evaluate flow control options before solidifying their demonstration approaches. The performers selected for Phase 0 are:

Aug 3, 2020

Researchers advance fuel cell technology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, chemistry, energy, nanotechnology, sustainability, transportation

Washington State University researchers have made a key advance in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) that could make the highly energy-efficient and low-polluting technology a more viable alternative to gasoline combustion engines for powering cars.

Led by Ph.D. graduate Qusay Bkour and Professor Su Ha in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, the researchers have developed a unique and inexpensive nanoparticle catalyst that allows the to convert logistic liquid fuels such as gasoline to electricity without stalling out during the electrochemical process. The research, featured in the journal, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, could result in highly efficient gasoline-powered cars that produce low carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

“People are very concerned about energy, the environment, and global warming,” said Bkour. “I’m very excited because we can have a solution to the energy problem that also reduces the emissions that cause global warming.”

Aug 3, 2020

Yamaha unveils ‘extremely compact’ electric motors for e-motorcycles, cars

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

When it comes to electric vehicles, Yamaha’s electric bicycle division has been charging into the future while its electric motorcycle division has been oddly quiet and unproductive — at least outwardly.

But now we’re getting a new look at a series of electric motors that Yamaha has been developing — motors that could rapidly progress Yamaha’s EV efforts.

Aug 3, 2020

Vacuum Toilet

Posted by in category: transportation

Vacuum toilets are flush toilets that use suction for the removal of faeces and urine resulting in a minimal requirement of water (0.5 to 1.5 litres). Vacuum toilets provide the same level of comfort as traditional flush toilets and they help saving costs due to the minimised amount of flush water. Due to the fact that the effluent has a high organic matter content, vacuum toilets are specifically adapted for the use in combination with separate greywater and blackwater treatment; or aerobic digestion treatment for biogas production. Vacuum toilet systems are applicable both in large and small buildings, trains, ships and airplanes.

Aug 3, 2020

DeepMind releases Acme, a distributed framework for reinforcement learning algorithm development

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, transportation

DeepMind this week released Acme, a framework intended to simplify the development of reinforcement learning algorithms by enabling AI-driven agents to run at various scales of execution. According to the engineers and researchers behind Acme, who coauthored a technical paper on the work, it can be used to create agents with greater parallelization than in previous approaches.

Reinforcement learning involves agents that interact with an environment to generate their own training data, and it’s led to breakthroughs in fields from video games and robotics to self-driving robo-taxis. Recent advances are partly attributable to increases in the amount of training data used, which has motivated the design of systems where agents interact with instances of an environment to quickly accumulate experience. This scaling from single-process prototypes of algorithms to distributed systems often requires a reimplementation of the agents in question, DeepMind asserts, which is where the Acme framework comes in.

Aug 2, 2020

Caltrans repaves highway with plastic bottles

Posted by in category: transportation

The plastic from old beverage bottles is melted down and used as a binder to hold asphalt together. Roughly 150,000 bottles are used in 1 mile of roadway.

Aug 2, 2020

Is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe EV Here Just to Keep You Away From the Ford Bronco?

Posted by in categories: energy, transportation

Jeep is known for its capable and impressive SUVs with the Wrangler being its most-popular off-roader, hands down. But today’s SUVs need to be more capable than ever as more and more brands move to fuel efficiency and electrified powertrains. With the highly-anticipated Ford Bronco set to steal customers away from the reigning Wrangler king, Jeep isn’t going to allow that to happen. Enter, the newly electrified Wrangler.

Jeep recently teased a new addition to the Wrangler lineup by way of an electrified powertrain. According to MotorTrend, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) shared at its 2020 annual shareholder meeting earlier in the year that Jeep was on track to launch a hybrid powertrain project for its off-roading SUVs, starting with the Wrangler.

Continue reading “Is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe EV Here Just to Keep You Away From the Ford Bronco?” »

Aug 1, 2020

Best Electric Dirt Bikes for 2020

Posted by in category: transportation

Let’s talk about electric dirt bikes. I bled and got bruised to test these interesting battery-powered motorcycles. I added my opinion as a dirt bike rider, but also I surveyed my colleagues, and we did additional research to get unbiased results.

An electric dirt bike is a motorcycle designed for use on rough terrain and runs by a battery-powered motor. Compared to a traditional dirt bike, an electric dirt bike is an Eco-friendly machine that requires less maintenance and almost has no sound.

Aug 1, 2020

Tesla Autopilot Accidents: 1 out of 4,530,000 Miles; US Average: 1 out of 479,000 Miles

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Tesla has released its quarterly “Tesla Vehicle Safety Report.” One of the top reasons — if not the #1 reason — I bought a Tesla Model 3 last was because of its record-setting safety rating, so I’m always interested in seeing new stats on this topic.

The second quarter of 2020 saw a slightly worse result for Tesla than the first quarter in terms of accidents per million miles driven with Tesla Autopilot engaged (see graph below), but keep in mind that the first quarter had a record result. Additionally, the difference was so small that it was probably not statistically significant. On the other hand, Tesla’s Q2 figure was far better than the US average — about 10 times better with Autopilot engaged.

Jul 31, 2020

Tesla’s Musk Is Weeks Away From Next Multibillion-Dollar Payout

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

Watch my hero.


Tesla Inc.’s surging stock price has already let Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk collect two tranches of his moonshot compensation award, valued at a collective $3.94 billion.