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11th May, 2016

DARPA is building acoustic GPS for submarines and UUVs


It will utilize undersea sounds instead of satellite feeds.

For all the benefits that the Global Positioning System provides to landlubbers and surface ships, GPS signals can’t penetrate seawater and therefore can’t be used by oceangoing vehicles like submarines or UUVs. That’s why DARPA is creating an acoustic navigation system, dubbed POSYDON (Positioning System for Deep Ocean Navigation), and has awarded the Draper group with its development contract.

The space-based GPS system relies on a constellation of satellites that remain in a fixed position relative to the surface of the Earth. The GPS receiver in your phone or car’s navigation [...]

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9th May, 2016

Personal electric plane won’t need an airport

By Steve Dent

Backed by the ESA, the “Lilium” will take off vertically and fly at 250 mph.

Now that hoverboards are an honest-to-god thing, we have to say we’re pretty disappointed with how flying cars have worked out. Another company has jumped into the fray with a vertical take-off plane called the Lilium that can soar at 400 km/h (250 mph). We’d normally say they’re dreaming with the specs: A 10,000 foot ceiling, 500 km (310 mile) range and helicopter-like takeoffs, all on battery power. However, it’s hosted by a European Space Agency (ESA) incubator and the team from the Technical University of Munich plans manned tests next [...]

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3rd May, 2016

Make your bike electric with this swap-in tire

By David Lumb

The fully-funded Kickstarter project trades an ordinary tire for a battery-powered one.

Electric bikes have been around for decades but haven’t broken out of their niche audience. Instead of building a bicycle around electric power,GeoOrbital is a universal wheel you can swap into your existing bike to power your ride.

GeoOrbital’s creators had previously worked at SpaceX and Ford, companies that know a thing or two about renovating traditional transportation. The device replaces the front wheel in bikes with 26-inch or 700c (28-inch/29-inch) size tires; either way, its proprietary foam wheel won’t get a flat when punctured. Additionally, [...]

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3rd May, 2016

BMW has the first smart emergency system for motorcycles

By Jon Fingas

It’s effectively OnStar for two-wheelers.

While cars and trucks have long had smart emergency systems to send help in the event of a crash (think services like OnStar), motorcycles have had to go without — a scary thought if you’ve ever worried about wiping out miles away from help. That’s where BMW might just save the day, though. It’s introducing the first smart emergency tech for motorbikes, Intelligent Emergency Call, to give the two-wheel crowd a proper safety net. You can trigger it yourself, such as when you need to help a fellow motorist, but the real magic comes with its automatic responses.

IEC’s acceleration [...]

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