Your Flying Car is on Its Way – How Soon?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Uber is projecting real-world approaches to personal transport in urban environments.  Their work with Airbus affiliate A3 could help unlock gridlock for all of us.  Gridlock wastes millions of hours of otherwise productive time, a key measure of “the good life.”  With eVolo having demonstrated that 16 rotors can carry the weight of two people, and eHang showing a drone-like device that can carry one passenger on a 20-minute hop, urban mobility may soon become less depressing and more uplifting.  Other vehicles wait in the wings, so to speak, with the main impediment being regulatory gridlock. Uber Elevates the Discussion Uber Elevate, a project on which Uber and Airbus are collaborating, published a 98-page white paper last November, Fast-Forwarding to …

From DARPA Ugly to Svelte and Streamlined

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Seeing Google cars navigating our streets and highways, with their arrays of spinning sensors and antennas bristling from their roofs gives us the impression that the technology involved is complex and expensive.  Until recently, they were, with Wired reporting that early Google cars had multiple $80,000 LIDAR systems, and entrants in DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) challenges often sported over a quarter-million in esoteric devices that could, on occasion, spot the Holy Spirit in the vicinity.  (Your editor made that last part up.) Mike Ramsey, writing for the Wall Street Journal suggests those prices may be going down – way down.  “A Silicon Valley startup says it has solved several of the issues that might plague the introduction of …

EAS VIII: Sebastian Thrun Updates Us

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Sebastian Thrun is best known for his leadership in the “Google Cars” program, fielding self-driving Priuses in the San Francisco Bay area and having the cars demonstrate a spotless accident record (except for those caused by other drivers running into them.)  He shared the current status of that project with attendees at the eighth annual CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium in late April. He’s also been responsible for Google Glass, those controversial mega-spectacles that have furnished stand-up comics with new realms of material, although the last laugh may be on scoffers as these ingenious devices point the way toward wearable computers.  Thrun’s also created a new type of open university – one that takes advantage of the online experience. “Udacity …

EAS VIII – A Day and a Half You’ll Never Forget

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Who would pass up a chance to stay at a nice resort, attend lectures that challenge and inspire, and meet at poolside with speakers who bring some of the sharpest minds in the world to bear on some of the biggest problems we all face?  Let’s face it.  Global warming probably won’t be going away anytime soon, and aviation seems destined to play a bigger part in polluting our otherwise near-perfect atmosphere. Unless…we learn how to make our favorite activity (in the top five for most of us, anyway), into a more responsible way to travel and recreate.  Since solving the problems which go with that responsibility will involve the best in aerodynamics, power systems and new, efficient technology, the …

Unique, From A (for Aerodynamics) to Zee

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Ilan Kroo, according to his biography page, is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, an advanced cross-country hang glider pilot, and designer of the Swift flying wing hang glider, unmanned aerial vehicles, a flying Pterosaur replica, America’s Cup sailboats, and high-speed research aircraft.  Currently on a leave of absence from Stanford, he has started Zee Aero, “a bay area start-up company focusing on bringing new technologies to civil aircraft.” Zee Aero, on its first of five sparse web pages, proclaims, “We’re creating an entirely new aircraft,” a heady claim considering the lack of supporting descriptions or illustrations.  But other sources have been made available, including Zee’s patent applications, which show a slim tricycle-gear fuselage surmounted by variously …

Matters of Note for the Green Flight Expo

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One humanitarian business organization that will display at the Green Flight Expo following the completion of that seven-day event uses the type of technology the CAFE Foundation espouses for carrying medicines and supplies to remote parts of the third world that otherwise do not easily permit transport of any kind. Matternet’s slogan, “Lifting the Rising Billion” refers to those living primarily in Africa and is explained in their statement of belief.  “By increasing the access to reliable transportation for people living in poverty, we will enable them to find a sustainable path out of poverty. “We will connect people from geographically isolated communities to local and global markets through the Matternet.”  This credo applies to poor communities throughout the world, …