Boeing just took a major step towards autonomous electric flights

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Our skies will never be the same.

Aeronautics giant Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences, a company focused on the development of autonomous electric aircraft. The move confirms Boeing’s commitment to bringing their first self-flying commercial passenger vehicle to reality.

Aurora won a significant amount of acclaim in 2016 when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded them a contract to help build the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) X-Plane. Uber also enlisted Aurora Flight Sciences’ help on their Uber Elevate flying taxi project.

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Dubai Police start training on flying motorbikes

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(CNN) — The flying motorbike is back in Dubai — and you could see the police riding one in the not-too-distant future.

A year after California-based startup Hoversurf showcased its hoverbike at tech expo GITEX in the white and green livery of the Dubai Police, the company has returned with a new model and evidence its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle might be, well, taking off.

Making good on a deal signed in 2017, Hoversurf has now gifted Dubai Police its first serial production unit of the S3 2019 Hoverbike and has begun training officers to fly it.

Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, general director of Dubai Police’s artificial intelligence department, described the eVTOL vehicle as a first responder unit used to access hard to reach areas. He said he aims to have hoverbikes in action by 2020.

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Reaction Pre-cooled Engines could deliver reusable hypersonic planes by 2025

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Reaction Engines of the UK could be part of a winning group of bidders for open-ended hypersonic weapons development.

They have proven an innovative pre-cooling system which does not require the development of new materials to handle the heat of hypersonic flight speeds.

The US Air Force Research Labs are already working with them. They would need to partner with US companies like Lockheed or Boeing to get the big military contract.

The pre-coolers are made from thousands of thin-walled tubes to provide high surface area to low weight. Each tube is joined to an inlet and outlet manifold, which allows coolant to be injected and removed for the cooling process. We’re the only people in the world with the heat exchanger manufacturing experience to bond thousands of joints in a single operation, and achieve zero leakage. The joints in our pre-cooler modules are hermetically sealed, meaning that the gas which escapes can be measured by the molecule.

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A billion aircraft: the future of drones

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If US futurist Thomas Frey is right, in only 12 years drones will be as ubiquitous as cars. Frey says there will be 1 billion drones in use around the world by 2030. What exotic new roles will these combinations of computing, robotics and aerodynamics play in society? Here are a few exciting new ways drones are currently redefining aviation and its purpose.

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GE unveils new supersonic commercial jet engine

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GE Aviation engineers have unveiled Affinity, a new family of supersonic jet engines for civilian aircraft.

GE Aviation has given impetus to the revival of civilian supersonic flight by revealing a new family of engines designed to fly faster than the speed of sound. Called the Affinity, the new engine will be incorporated into the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet, which is being developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation and Honeywell, and could cut the time of a transatlantic flight by three hours.

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18 hours in the air: The world’s longest commercial flight is brand new, and it’s just about to land in New York. Here’s what flying it is like

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Nearly 20 hours in the air. What’s that like, and why would you even do it?

In a few hours, Singapore Airlines Flight 22 is scheduled to touch down at Newark Liberty International Airport, after a nearly 18 hour trip from Singapore.

It’s the longest scheduled commercial flight in history, on a route that the airline already tried once before–and yet failed to turn into a stable, profitable route.

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Eye-tracking tech lets you control a drone by looking where you want it to move

There are all manner of weird and wonderful control systems being invented to help drone pilots guide their unmanned aerial vehicles through the skies. One that sounds pretty intuitive, though, is laid out in a new piece of research from engineers at New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. They have invented a method to allow drone pilots to fly using a pair of eye-tracking glasses. What could be simpler?

“This solution provides the opportunity to create new, non-invasive forms of interactions between a human and robots allowing the human to send new 3D-navigation waypoints to the robot in an uninstrumented environment,” Dr. Giuseppe Loianno, assistant professor at New York University and Director of the Agile Robotics and Perception Lab, told Digital Trends. “The user can control the drone just pointing at a spatial location using his gaze, which is distinct from the head orientation in our case.”

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Flying taxi to travel from Boston to New York in 36 minutes

A private transportation company seeks to offer a new form of travel connecting Boston and New York in under an hour.

Boston-based Transcend Air Corporation is developing the Vy 400, a six-seat, vertical take-off and landing aircraft. “It takes off and lands straight up and down,” the company said of the aircraft’s design. “This means we don’t need runways and airports. We’re able to depart and arrive right in major city centers.”

The company says the prototype can travel more than 400 miles per hour – three times faster than traditional helicopters – cost less to operate and offers a quieter ride than a helicopter. Continue reading… “Flying taxi to travel from Boston to New York in 36 minutes”

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How Uber is getting flying cars off the ground

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It wants to fly you around cities as in the Jetsons, but there are still roadblocks to overcome before UberAir can take flight.

It’s 6 p.m. in Tokyo and my flying car is late. Three years late.

Back to the Future promised me flying cars (and hoverboards) by 2015. Yet here I am in 2018, standing in one of the world’s most high-tech cities and I have to walk. I don’t even get to do it in self-lacing shoes.

I’m in Tokyo for Uber Elevate, Uber’s third conference outlining its plans to get flying cars off the silver screen and into our skies in as little as two years. It’s a lofty ambition, but Uber has partnered with some big names in aviation and picked up its share of NASA alumni to help it get there.

The goal? UberAir. A future transport network in which air travel is as easy and on-demand as Uber rides are now. As simple as “push a button, get a flight.”

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You can bring your weed to the LA airport now

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LAX is totally cool with passengers packing it in their carry-ons—but if it’s illegal where you land, that’s on you.

It looks like travelers in Los Angeles won’t have to cram their weed inside balled-up socks or stash it in their ibuprofen bottles next time they fly—because LAX is totally chill about bringing pot into the airport now, ABC 13 reports.

This week, Los Angeles International Airport posted a new marijuana policy on its website, announcing that LAX and the LAPD will now let people stroll onto their flights carrying cannabis, as long as it’s under the legal limit.

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Record-breaking Perlan 2 glider soars ever closer to the edge of space

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The Perlan 2 glider in action during a record-breaking flight last week.

Airbus’ Perlan 2 glider is continuing to push the limits of engineless flight, hitting a succession of record altitudes throughout the last week, culminating in a unprecedented 76,000-ft (23,000-m) climb on Sunday.

The overarching objective of the Perlan project is to harness what are known as stratospheric mountain waves to soar upwards to the edge of space without using an engine. These powerful airstreams are created when winds collide with tall mountain ranges and are diverted upwards.

The Perlan 2 engineless glider is built to leverage these waves with an ultralight construction that tips the scales at just 1,100 lb (500 kg) when empty, and a generous wingspan of 84 ft (27 m). Following its maiden flight in Oregon in 2015, when it reached an altitude of 5,000 ft (1,524 m) after being released from its towplane, the team promptly set its sights on far, far greater heights.

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4 futuristic transport methods that will change how we travel around the world

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Since the invention of air travel, the world has felt like a smaller place – it’s now possible for pretty much anyone to fly around the globe, learning about different countries and cultures. It’s pretty amazing.

But some companies aren’t satisfied with this – they want to make the world seem even smaller, with faster, more efficient and more comfortable methods of transport.

Ever dreamed of exploring the Australian Outback but been put off by the long flight? A Virgin Galactic flight from London to Sydney might take two hours within the next decade.

Here are four methods of futuristic transportation that are going to change how we travel around the world.

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