Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Airports

Designed by UK-based company ULTra PRT, the system consists of 22 podcars, operating on 2....

Commissioned by BAA (Heathrow Airport's operator), the ULTra PRT transportation system, which utilizes autonomous electric podcars, has been launched at Heathrow Airport. The point-to-point vehicles connect Heathrow's Terminal 5 with two business parking lots, carrying approximately 800 passengers each weekday.  Read More

The Cockpit Suite, where guests can sleep where pilots once traversed the skies (Photo: Li...

A Boeing 747 jumbo jet has been designed to offer travelers a good night's sleep without the turbulence. After being grounded at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport back in November 2002, it has been transformed into the world's first Jumbo Hostel. In doing so, the retired airliner has become a significant landmark and tourist attraction at the Swedish Airport.  Read More

Scientists have created a new sensor system, designed to spot potentially hazardous debris...

When the Air France Concorde Flight 4590 was taking off from Charles de Gaulle International Airport in July of 2000, it ran over a piece of debris that had been left on the runway by another plane. That incident caused the tire to rupture, sending pieces of itself flying into the underside of the Concorde. This in turn caused a fuel tank to rupture, the escaping fuel to catch fire, and ultimately led to the crashing of the airliner ... If there’s one thing that this event proved, it’s that debris on the runway can be dangerous. While human crews do already manually check for such debris, German scientists have created an automated system that they claim should do a better job.  Read More

The CAFE Foundation proposes the development of small, neighborhood airports, at which aut...

A little over a year ago, we told you about NASA’s Green Flight Challenge. The Space Agency is seeking designs for low-cost, quiet, short take-off personal aircraft, that require little if any fossil fuel. The winning design, to be decided next July, will win US$1.6 million in production funds. The competition is being run by NASA’s light-aircraft partner CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency), which envisions the resulting Suburban Air Vehicles (SAVs) taking off and landing at small neighborhood “pocket airports.” At last week’s Future of Electric Vehicles conference, CAFE president Dr. Brien Seeley outlined just how those airports would work.  Read More

The handheld TATP detector prototype (Photo: Kenneth Suslick)

Much as we might hate having to take our shoes off when going through airport security, it’s become necessary ever since a terrorist managed to get a shoe bomb aboard an American Airlines flight in December of 2001. Unfortunately, the X-raying of shoes is not enough to detect triacetone triperoxide (TATP). This easily-made explosive has been used in several bombing attempts, and is very difficult to detect in an airport environment. It doesn't fluoresce, absorb ultraviolet light or readily ionize, and can only be detected with large, expensive equipment and extensive sample preparation. Now, chemists from the University of Illinois have announced a simple new way of detecting even minute concentrations of TATP, using a piece of plastic and a digital camera.  Read More

FLYsmart App for airport travelers

Spending time at an airport waiting for connecting flights or just trying to negotiate your way to your hotel can be frustrating, especially if you're on a tight schedule or budget. Like lots of problems we encounter these days ... there's an app for that. This one – FLYsmart – maps and displays all the immediate information air travelers may need, so backpackers can easily navigate their way to the cheapest form of transport leaving the airport or the business traveler can make layovers as hassle-free as possible.  Read More

MIT researchers have developed a new way to tune the frequency of lasers that operate in t...

New research out of MIT could lead to smarter airport scanners able to detect the presence of drugs and explosives. At the heart of the development is a new approach to laser tuning designed to harness terahertz rays so that they can be used to determine an object's chemical composition.  Read More

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has recently installed 10 wind-powered el...

Airports are windy places and it seems logical to harness this power to reduce operating costs and boost green credentials. In line with this, the environmentally minded Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has recently installed 10 wind-powered electricity generators and purchased an electric-powered utility vehicle for use at the airport.  Read More

New screening technology could get you through the gate and into the air sooner

If terrorists aimed to frustrate millions of air travelers with time consuming pre-flight baggage searches they definitely seem to have made progress, but new technologies used to analyze human behavior could provide an alternative to the time consuming process of analyzing the content of passengers’ carry-on luggage. These systems would detect signs of emotional strain that could indicate that a passenger may intend to commit an act of terror. It might sound like science fiction, but such technology is much further advanced than most might think, and it’s not surprising that Israel, a country that faces constant security threats, has become a leader in developing such technologies.  Read More

Targus zip-thru laptop case allows a quick trip through airport security checks.

Targus upcoming Zip-Thru laptop case allows travelers to get through security checks without having to remove their laptop from its case by virtue of a The zip-thru case splits down the middle which exposes the laptop and allows security staff to get a clear x-ray image of it without risking damage or theft. It has plenty of room for accessories, files and other devices, is made of durable nylon and features a padded ergonomic shoulder strap.  Read More

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