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Archive for the ‘transportation’ category

Jun 6, 2020

For The First Time Ever, Scientists Have Created Hexagonal Salt

Posted by in categories: chemistry, sustainability, transportation

While it probably won’t make it to your dining table, a new scientific achievement might be able to help in everything from radar equipment to electric cars: scientists have been able to form salt, aka sodium chloride (NaCl), in a hexagonal shape.

This is work done at the smallest of scales, with researchers able to get a thin film of hexagonal salt to form on top of a layer of diamond, due to the chemical interaction of both film and diamond substrate – something the team actually predicted would happen in advance through simulations.

It’s the latest in a series of discoveries where scientists have been able to synthesise 2D materials with unusual crystal structures, and it’s partly this self-imposed restriction to two dimensions that is enabling new and exotic structures to be formed.

Jun 5, 2020

Nikola is like Amazon and could be worth a $100 billion someday: founder

Posted by in category: transportation

Yahoo Finance speaks with Nikola founder Trevor Milton as the electric- and hydrogen-powered truck maker debuts on the Nasdaq.

Jun 3, 2020

Volkswagen T2 Camper Van Electric Conversion

Posted by in categories: business, transportation

A couple of months ago I introduced you to a UK company that converts classic cars to electric propulsion. The company, named eDub Services, was founded by a young man named Kit Lacey, and since my piece on his business, he and I have been in conversation about this fascinating field of entrepreneurship. I have an old Volvo 240 in my garage that one day will need an electric drivetrain for sure, so getting acquainted with someone like Kit is a good bet.

I talked to Kit about the concrete and chronological information on his rebuilds and how we could make it accessible for all of us curious about how such projects can be carried out. This series is the result, in Kit Lacey’s own words. So let’s begin at the beginning.

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Jun 3, 2020

Kitty Hawk ends Flyer program, shifts focus to once-secret autonomous aircraft

Posted by in categories: employment, health, robotics/AI, transportation

Kitty Hawk is shutting down its Flyer program, the aviation startup’s inaugural moonshot to develop an ultralight electric flying car designed for anyone to use.

The company, backed by Google co-founder Larry Page and led by Sebastian Thrun, said it’s now focused on scaling up Heaviside, a sleeker, more capable (once secret) electric aircraft that is quiet, fast and can fly and land anywhere autonomously.

Kitty Hawk is laying off most of Flyer’s 70-person team, TechCrunch learned. A few employees will be brought over to work on Heaviside, according to the company. Those who are laid off will receive at least 20 weeks of pay, plus tenure, depending on how long they were with the company. Former workers will also receive their annual bonus and have their health insurance covered through the end of the year. The company said it will set up placement services to help people find employment.

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Jun 3, 2020

Tesla owner ‘charges’ Model 3 with homemade solar panel trailer

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability, transportation

A Tesla owner has demonstrated a rather novel way to charge his Model 3. In a recent video, Sean Callaghan of the ItsYeBoi YouTube channel opted to use a series of off-the-shelf solar panel sheets onto a towable trailer to create a mobile charging unit for his all-electric sedan.

Callaghan planned to use only the sun and the solar sheets purchased from e-commerce platform Wish to charge his Model 3. The solar panel sheets would collect energy from the sun and transfer it to a control panel. The control panels were connected to batteries that would hold the energy—the batteries connected to an inverter, which would then charge the Tesla Model 3.

The entire assembly would provide the Model 3 with about 800 watts of energy on a completely sunny day. However, Callaghan shot the video when weather was overcast, so the entire solar panel trailer build only managed to provide around 300 watts throughout the YouTube host’s test.

May 31, 2020

Swindon Powertrain Introduces EV ‘Crate’ For Conversions

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

The British company Swindon Powertrain announced market launch of its new, compact and ready to install ‘Crate’ EV powertrain for various EV projects — conversions or new builds.

Swindon encourages that it’s an ideal option for sports, recreation and light commercial applications as well as classic car conversions.

“Suitable for OEMs, niche vehicle manufacturers, electric car conversion companies as well as the enthusiast home mechanic.”

May 30, 2020

European R&D review finds lagging high-tech performance despite major science investment

Posted by in categories: business, energy, science, transportation

To encourage businesses to invest in new technologies, the European Union funds industrial research partnerships worth billions of euros in fields such as clean aviation and hydrogen fuel cells. It also offers direct grants to tech startups, and when Horizon Europe launches next year, it plans to offer them equity investments, too.


Report says scientific output is not translating into innovation.

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May 30, 2020

TSA says an airport full-body scanner must add a filter to protect travelers’ privacy

Posted by in categories: security, transportation

Circa 2019


A full-body scanner that the Transportation Security Administration hopes can speed up airport security checkpoints must go back to the drawing board for software to protect the privacy of travelers being scanned.

The scanner, built by British firm Thruvision, was promoted as being able to simultaneously screen multiple airport passengers from a distance of up to 25 feet away. The TSA began trying out the device last year at an Arlington, Va., testing facility before planning to use it on a trial basis at U.S. airports.

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May 30, 2020

The story of cheaper batteries, from smartphones to Teslas

Posted by in categories: economics, mobile phones, sustainability, transportation

In 2010, a lithium-ion battery pack with 1 kWh of capacity—enough to power an electric car for three or four miles—cost more than $1,000. By 2019, the figure had fallen to $156, according to data compiled by BloombergNEF. That’s a massive drop, and experts expect continued—though perhaps not as rapid—progress in the coming decade. Several forecasters project the average cost of a kilowatt-hour of lithium-ion battery capacity to fall below $100 by the mid-2020s.

That’s the result of a virtuous circle where better, cheaper batteries expand the market, which in turn drives investments that produce further improvements in cost and performance. The trend is hugely significant because cheap batteries will be essential to shifting the world economy away from carbon-intensive energy sources like coal and gasoline.

Batteries and electric motors have emerged as the most promising technology for replacing cars powered by internal combustion engines. The high cost of batteries has historically made electric cars much more expensive than conventional cars. But once battery packs get cheap enough—again, experts estimate around $100 per kWh for non-luxury vehicles—electric cars should actually become cheaper than equivalent gas-powered cars. The cost advantage will be even bigger once you factor in the low cost of charging an electric car, so we can expect falling battery costs to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.

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May 30, 2020

Early Bird uses 10 times less energy to train deep neural networks

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Rice University’s Early Bird could care less about the worm; it’s looking for megatons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Early Bird is an energy-efficient method for training deep neural networks (DNNs), the form of artificial intelligence (AI) behind self-driving cars, intelligent assistants, facial recognition and dozens more high-tech applications.

Researchers from Rice and Texas A&M University unveiled Early Bird April 29 in a spotlight paper at ICLR 2020, the International Conference on Learning Representations. A study by lead authors Haoran You and Chaojian Li of Rice’s Efficient and Intelligent Computing (EIC) Lab showed Early Bird could use 10.7 times less energy to train a DNN to the same level of accuracy or better than typical training. EIC Lab director Yingyan Lin led the research along with Rice’s Richard Baraniuk and Texas A&M’s Zhangyang Wang.

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