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Japan Goes for Leadership in Flying-Cars

Japan tries to gain more ground in the new and profitable field of flying-cars with a promise to draw-up a comprehensive roadmap for its development by the end of this year.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Japan tries to gain more ground in the new and profitable field of flying-cars with a promise to draw-up a comprehensive roadmap for its development by the end of this year.

The partnership to get Japan’s future flying cars on a glide path to success involves the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) plus with 21 corporations and institutions. Japan’s goal will be to make flying cars a flying reality by 2028.

ANA (Japan’s largest airline), Japan Airlines, Toyota Motor Corporation and NEC Corporation are among the dozen Japanese corporate behemoths leading the flying car effort. Partnering them are aviation heavyweight The Boeing Company and Airbus Industries, and ride hailing firm Uber, which is also developing its own flying cars.

“This is such a totally new sector Japan has a good chance for not falling behind,” said Fumiaki Ebihara, who is in charge of the project. Ebihara is a Consulting Fellow and Director, Aerospace and Defense Industry Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau of METI.

“You may think of ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘Gundam,’ or ‘Doraemon,'” said Ebihara, referring to flying carss in Hollywood movies and Japanese anime. “Up to now, it was just a dream, but with innovations in motors and batteries, it’s time for it to become real.”

Toyota recently invested $375,000 in Japanese start-up, Cartivator, which is working on a flying car. Toyota and Cartivator plans to have one of their flying cars light the torch at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Cartivator won Toyota’s backing in mid-2017 with its Cartivator Skydrive concept. Ryutaro Mori, the business director at Cartivator, said Skydrive is being designed from the start to be as compact as possible. He boasted Skydrive “is the world’s smallest flying car, and the small size enables people to take off and land anywhere.”

He pointed out that flying-cars will be completely autonomous, just like autonomous cars. And even if government regulations require pilots fly these flying-cars at first, these pilots will constantly be augmented by semi-autonomous flight systems for additional safety.

Mori said the fun of driving and flying won’t go away. There will be flying cars for leisure that you can manually drive and fly safely.

Japan has shown much enthusiasm for Uber’s work on EVtol machines while denying the ride hailing company a license to operate in the country. Uber is considering Tokyo as its first launch city for affordable flights via its UberAir service.

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New GPS Block IIIA Satellites Provide 3X Better Location Accuracy

The first GPS Block IIIA satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force will provide much better accuracy and will be compatible with global positioning systems used by other countries.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The first GPS Block IIIA satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force will provide much better accuracy and will be compatible with global positioning systems used by other countries.

Costing some $577 million, this satellite was launched two weeks ago. The 10 new Block IIIA satellites will provide three times better accuracy compared to current GPS satellites, said Lockheed Martin, the satellite’s developer.

The tenth and final GPS Block IIIA satellite launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023, if all goes well

“Launch is always a monumental event, and especially so since this is the first GPS satellite of its generation launched on SpaceX’s first national security space mission,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space.

He said that as more GPS III satellites join the constellation, it will bring better service at a lower cost to a technology now fully woven into the fabric of any modern civilization.

Gen. Thompson said GPS Block IIIA satellites keep GPS the gold standard for positioning, navigation and timing information. He said the launch of the first GPS Block IIIA satellite was a capstone, but it doesn’t mean the Air Force is done. He said the Air Force is going to run a series of procedures for checkout and test “to ensure everything on Vespucci functions as it was designed.”

GPS III’s L1C civil signal will make it the first GPS satellite broadcasting a signal compatible with other international global navigation satellite systems such as Europe’s Galileo, thereby improving connectivity for civilian users.

For the U.S. military, the new birds have up to eight times better anti-jamming capabilities, making them more resistant to electronic warfare (EW) attacks by either the Russians or Chinese.

The anti-jamming capabilities of the GPS IIIA satellites spring from its use of the new “M-code” (or Military code) first used on the operational Block IIF series launched from 2012 to 2016. The new M-Code signal is also designed for more secure access to military GPS signals. M-code is transmitted on the L1 and L2 frequencies already used by the previous military code, which is the P(Y) code.

GPS satellites use the NAVSTAR radionavigation system owned by the U.S. government and operated by the Air Force.

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Time Existed Before the Big Bang, says New Study

A new study has again resurrected the theory that time did indeed exist before the Universe itself but in another Universe that gave birth to our own.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

London, United Kingdom (4E) – A new study has again resurrected the theory that time did indeed exist before the Universe itself but in another Universe that gave birth to our own.

The study by University of Oxford physicists David Sloan, Tim A. Koslowski and Flavio Mercati suggests a completely new model of the Universe. Their published study re-interprets how time might have existed before the Big Bang itself by circumventing the limits imposed by the existence of the “Initial Singularity,” or that infinitesimally small blip that exploded to give birth to the Universe.

The model proposed by the three scientists starts with a new interpretation of the Initial Singularity.

The conventional wisdom is that physics as we know broke down inside the initial singularity. This breakdown arose from a contradiction in properties at a particular point in time as defined by the Theory of General Relativity.

Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati disagree with the assumption of an inevitable break down in physical laws inside the singularity. Instead, they adhere to the assumption that physics at the Big Bang remained intact but the stage it acted upon “reorientated.”

And instead of a singularity, the team said there is this thing called a “Janus Point.” In this Janus Point, the relative positions and scales of the stuff that comprise the Universe flatten into a two-dimensional (2D) pancake as we rewind time.

Passing through the Janus Point, that pancake turned 3D again, only back-to-front, so that time now moved forward. Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati believe their Janus Point could have profound implications on symmetry in particle physics, and might even produce a Universe based primarily on antimatter.

While the idea of a flipped Universe is nothing new, the model proposed by Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati of working around the singularity problem is novel.

“All the terms that are problematic turn out to be irrelevant when working out the behavior of quantities that determine how the Universe appears from the inside,” said Sloan.

“We introduce no new principles, and make no modifications to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity — only of the interpretation that is put upon objects.”

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Luddite Arizonans are Sabotaging Waymo Self-Driving Cars

It seems Luddites have found a home in Arizona, and are manifesting their hatred of technology by sabotaging Google’s self-driving cars.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Phoenix, AZ, United States (4E) – It seems Luddites have found a home in Arizona, and are manifesting their hatred of technology by sabotaging Google’s self-driving cars.

The autonomous vehicles are operated by Waymo LLC, the subsidiary of Alphabet Inc responsible for self-driving technology development. On Dec. 5, 2018, Waymo launched its first commercial self-driving car service called “Waymo One” in Phoenix. Waymo One allowed users in the Phoenix metropolitan area to use an app to request the use of a self-driving car.

Media reports reveal at least 21 attacks since 2017 on Google self-driving cars in Arizona. These attacks range in severity from pure mischief to more serious acts such as trying to force an autonomous car off course.

The most brazen incident took place in August when a man armed with a handgun tried to scare the safety driver of an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica. This man claimed he was taking vengeance for the Uber incident that killed a pedestrian in Phoenix earlier this year.

Another safety driver was threatened by a man wielding a PVC pipe. Other incidents involved people throwing rocks, blocking routes or slashing the tires of Waymo vehicles. There was also an also attempt to derail a self-driving car driving itself. One particularly troubling incident saw a man trying to run a Chrysler Pacifica off the road six times.

Waymo hasn’t pressed charges in any of these incidents, however. Instead, it’s directed its drivers to first contact an internal dispatch system when these incidents occur.

Oddly, Waymo has been unwilling to provide footage of the attacks on its robot cars. This refusal defeats the benefit of self-driving vehicles always maintaining video of everything happening around the car.

Waymo claim these Luddite incidents only represent a small fraction of its self-driving cars.

“Over the past two years, we’ve found Arizonans to be welcoming and excited by the potential of this technology to make our roads safer,” said Waymo.

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