Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

David Szondy

The Arcturus Jump system is designed to give UAVs VTOL capability without the weight penal...

Fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have a lot of advantages over manned aircraft, but much of that is lost when they get too big to be launched by hand and start needing runways and catapults to get aloft. Vertical Takeoff and Landing systems seem like an obvious alternative, but the extra weight of these systems can limit the advantages they offer. Arcturus UAV in Northern California unveiled its solution this week with its Jump VTOL system. Using self-contained electric lift motors, this add-on system is designed to provide tactical UAVs with VTOL capabilities without the usual penalties of payload and range.  Read More

The peacock mantis shrimp has a punch like a .22 bullet (Photo: Carlos Puma)

A new lightweight, super strong material has been discovered thanks to one of nature’s most violent sociopaths. The peacock mantis shrimp may look like a colorful, reasonably mild-mannered aquarium dweller, but its claws have the punch of a .22 bullet. A team of researchers led by University of California, Riverside, has developed a carbon composite that imitates the claw’s structure. The result is a promising new material that may one day be used to build cars and airplanes.  Read More

The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator program aims at developing aircraft ...

While autonomous aircraft are now a well established part of military operations, there are some areas where “pilot optional” is still very much synonymous with “cutting edge.” Case in point is Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. In cooperation with the US Army, Sikorsky demonstrated the helicopter's capabilities for the first time in an autonomous cargo delivery exercise on March 11 at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center.  Read More

The Denza made its première at Auto China 2014

The auto market in China looks set to continue expanding dramatically and this hasn't failed to catch the eyes of the big players in the car industry. At Auto China 2014 in Beijing, Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd presented the world premiere of the production model of its Denza; the first all-electric vehicle for the Chinese market produced by the first Sino-German electric car joint venture.  Read More

Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed elevators will be installed in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Ce...

Hitachi has announced that it’s installing the world's fastest ultra-high-speed elevators in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre skyscraper in Guangzhou, China. Making up two out of a total of 95 elevators in the building, the new lifts use a range of technologies to produce record-breaking speeds of 1,200 m/min (that's 44.7 mph, or 72 km/h) while still meeting the necessary standards of safety and comfort according to Hitachi.  Read More

The formation flight lasted almost two hours

Dassault Aviation announced that last month it came a step closer to making science fiction reality when it conducted a formation flight of the nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) with a Rafale fighter and a Falcon 7X business jet. The flight off the coast of the south of France took place on March 20, and for almost two hours the nEUROn kept station with the other planes as they flew over the several hundred kilometers out over the Mediterranean. According to Dassault, this was the first time an unmanned combat aircraft achieved formation flight.  Read More

YXT ONE is designed to act as a tender for yachts in the 30 m and 70 m (100 to 230 ft) cla...

The phrase “yacht tender” usually conjures up images of a small, somewhat unassuming launch boat. What generally isn’t expected is something 24 m (78 ft) long that looks like an upmarket tug boat and has never swung from a davit in its life. Designed by Diana Yacht Design and built by LYNX Yachts in Zaandam, the Netherlands, Yacht-X-Tender (YXT ONE) is the first in a new line of bespoke pocket support yachts designed for situations where the main craft isn’t quite big enough to hold all the toys.  Read More

The technology could allow antennas to fit seamlessly into the skins of aircraft and other...

Anyone who’s ever needed a pair of thick eyeglasses has a firm idea that lenses are the one thing where form follows function. However, BAE Systems and Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science in London have put paid to that idea with a flat lens that works like a conventional curved lens, yet without any reduction in bandwidth performance. Using a combination of composite metamaterials and transformational optics for the first time, they have created a lens that's able to bend electromagnetic waves, yet isn't bound by its shape for its function.  Read More

Artist's concept of a ship equipped with a railgun turret (Image: US Navy)

Watching old war movies, we expect firing a navy gun to be accompanied by a deafening bang and a dramatic cloud of burnt powder. This being the 21st century, the US Navy has other ideas as it prepares to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun on a Spearhead-class joint high speed vessel in 2016 as part of a program to develop the naval artillery of the future.  Read More

Artist's depiction of LADEE approaching lunar orbit (Image: NASA Ames/Dana Berry)

In space, no one can hear you hit the Moon at near-hypersonic speed. Today, NASA's Ames Research Center announced that the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) made a controlled impact on the far side of the Moon some time between 9:30 and 10:30 pm PDT on Thursday, bringing to an end its mission to study the lunar atmosphere.  Read More

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