Photokina 2014 highlights

David Szondy

The virtual cockpit display widens the pilot's field of vision

Imagine showing up at the airport to catch your flight, looking at your plane, and noticing that instead of windows, the cockpit is now a smooth cone of aluminum. It may seem like the worst case of quality control in history, but Airbus argues that this could be the airliner of the future. In a new US patent application, the EU aircraft consortium outlines a new cockpit design that replaces the traditional cockpit with one that uses 3D view screens instead of conventional windows.  Read More

The Daimler autonomous truck may enter service by 2025

Self-driving cars are the next big thing, but with all the talk of sipping latte and reading the morning paper while our cars drive us to work, it's easy to forget about the huge impact this technology will have on other road transport segments such as freight distribution. As part of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 program, Daimler Trucks has taken the most advanced of its autonomous trucks for a spin in "completely realistic driving situations" on a section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany.  Read More

The happiness blanket monitors brain activity and displays it on the fiber optic blanket British Airways recently flew a group of volunteers on flight BA 189 Dreamliner from Heathrow to New York as part of an experiment to study how people react to the night-time flight across time zones. What made this particular flight unusual were the high-tech "happiness blankets" used to measure how relaxed passengers were as part of a study of how to combat jet lag.  Read More

A convoy of driverless US Army trucks (Photo: Department of Defense)

Over the next quarter of a century, the US Pentagon sees robots becoming more and more a part of military life with robot warplanes, submersibles, and infantry vehicles taking their place on the battlefields of the future. It may conjure up a very flashy vision of Transformer-like killing machines, but the US Army sees the first robots as autonomous vehicles used in the more prosaic task of delivering groceries and other supplies.  Read More

Grenoble will be the first city outside of Japan in which Toyota has installed the Ha:mo s...

Solving the problem of urban transportation has vexed town planners since the days of Julius Caesar. It isn't just a matter of coming up with a better bus or shared cars. Unless you want people to end up slogging the last mile of their journey in the rain, a city’s transportation system needs to be comprehensive and integrated. The French city of Grenoble is taking a stab at the problem by introducing Toyota's Ha:mo (Harmonious Mobility) system into its broader transport management scheme.  Read More

IntelliCabin is designed to make cabin operation more efficient and flights more pleasant ...

Modern air travel isn't always a pleasant experience – especially for those flying in the back. It’s partly a matter of economics, partly engineering. The eternal question is, how to make economy travel more pleasant while keeping the airline's overall operating costs down? BAE System’s IntelliCabin system aims to address such concerns by making cabin operation more efficient for the crew and improving the comfort of passengers.  Read More

The first production HondaJet made its first flight at the company's world headquarters in...

Honda Aircraft Company has announced that its first production HondaJet has taken to the skies. The flight, which took place at HondaJet’s headquarters at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, moves the executive jet aircraft closer to certification ahead of a planned entry into service next year.  Read More

Crowdsourcing could help robots more quickly learn the best way to accomplish complicated ...

If robots are going to work alongside humans, the machines are going to need to swallow their pride and learn to ask for help. At least, that’s the thinking of computer scientists at the University of Washington (UW), who are working on ways for robots to crowdsource their problems when learning new tasks. If successful, this approach points the way toward future robots that are capable of asking for assistance to speed up their learning when it comes to figuring out how to carry out household tasks.  Read More

The USC organic redux flow battery (not pictured) replaces metals with water-soluble organ...

Lithium-ion batteries have made portable, rechargeable electronics commonplace. Unfortunately, they do have some glaring drawbacks, including heat issues, being made with rare, toxic elements, and the fact the technology doesn't scale up very well, which limits applications. A team of scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) is working on an alternative in the form of a water-based organic battery that is not only cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but also holds the potential for scaling up for use in wind and solar power plants as a means to store large amounts of energy.  Read More

The Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Virtual reality became reality reality at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week as Nissan unveiled the physical version of its Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo “virtual supercar.” The futuristic concept will be available next month as an avatar in PlayStation Gran Turismo 6 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the driving game.  Read More

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