HIGH 5! Here is the news update of the latest trends from the global technology and startup scene. HIGH 5 is published by Lab1886. This week’s topics are:
Ion engines +++ Volocopter presents new generation +++ Ride-hailing service foregoes commissions +++ Self-charging solar technology +++ U.S. Air Force tests robot pilots
Researchers at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland have developed an engine the size of a single calcium ion – around ten billion times smaller than a conventional vehicle engine. One day, an atomic engine like this could power nanotechnologies. A similar machine, powered by a single atom, was developed in Germany five years ago.
The German startup has redesigned its electric air taxi to meet European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification standards. The beams supporting the autonomous drone taxi’s 18 rotors are now more aerodynamic; it also has a new flight stabilizer and greater lifting capacity. As a result, its range has grown from 18 to 21 miles and its top speed has increased from 62 mph to 68 mph.
Source: New Atlas
Uber and Lyft have competition! Nomad Rides, an American startup, is now offering a ride-hailing service that does not charge drivers commission – instead, they are paid the full fare. Instead of the high 25 to 50 percent commission charged by other providers, Nomad Rides only asks drivers for a flat monthly subscription of USD 25. This has also allowed the service to reduce passenger fares.
Charging // Autonomous
U.S. startup Optivolt Labs is developing a scalable solar charging technology that will enable electrically powered drones, scooters, robots, IoT sensors and vehicles to charge themselves. The company has already developed efficient energy transfer systems that would enable fleets of autonomous machines to self-charge in ambient light. Optivolt Labs hopes to trial the technologies with various enterprise fleets.
Autonomous // Robotics
Working in partnership, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and UAV startup DZYNE Technologies have fitted an aircraft with robot pilots. Instead of human pilots, multiple robot arms operate the aircraft autonomously; one test flight has already been completed. The Air Force suggests that in the future, more aircraft could be controlled by robots.
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