Boeing and subsidiary Liquid Robotics team up to explore deeper possibilities for autonomous systems
BY Dan Raley – Created by Boeing subsidiary Liquid Robotics, this maritime innovation known as the Wave Glider was originally intended to record the songs of migrating whales. When integrated with Boeing’s advanced sensors for defense applications, the Wave Glider can locate undersea vehicles at substantial distances, hunt for mines, monitor land radar, and gather and relay data to other systems, all while operating on solar and wave power for months at a time.
“It’s a hidden treasure,” said Jim Bray, Boeing autonomous systems technology integrator in St. Louis. “There’s a lot going on under the sea.”
Covered with fiberglass panels and small antennas topside and tethered to a wing-like propulsion system beneath it called a sub, the Wave Glider communicates by low-Earth-orbit satellite through a command-and-control unit and surface radio modem, similarly to someone sending a text message by smartphone.
“It’s revolutionary stuff,” said Scott Willcox, Liquid Robotics technology lead. “It’s like reinventing the sail — fundamentally, it’s a new way to get around the ocean. What you can do with it is almost limitless.”
In Ventura, Calif., in July, seven months after Boeing acquired Liquid Robotics, the companies teamed to test new Wave Glider capabilities in the ocean that would be presented to a customer for the first time. The testing demonstrated how transponders placed on the ocean floor by the Wave Glider conceivably could provide an oceanic GPS. An unmanned undersea vehicle in need of updating its location could use these underwater acoustics to determine where it is and never have to surface. more>
Posted in Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Nature, Net, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Boeing, Business improvement, Net evolution, Ocean, Sensors, Technology
By Akshat Rathi – The optimism surrounding renewable energy masks some harsh realities. Despite decades of progress, about 80% of the world’s energy still comes from fossil fuels—the same as in the 1970s. Since then, we’ve kept adding renewable capacity, but it hasn’t outpaced the growth of the world’s population and its demand for energy.
Today, about 30% of total world energy (and 40% of the world’s electricity) is supplied by coal, which emits more carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than nearly any other fuel source.
The hugely valuable oil and gas industries, accounting for 33% and 24% of total world energy use, respectively, are also entrenched. “Based on what we know now, we would need major technological breakthroughs or weak world growth, including for large emerging and developing economies, for oil demand to peak in the next 20 years,” says Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti of the International Monetary Fund. Despite the growth in electric vehicles, most oil companies agree that peak oil is “not in sight.”
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: there are a handful of industries essential to the modern way of life that generate large amounts of carbon dioxide as a side product of the chemistry of their manufacturing process. These carbon-intensive industries—including cement, steel, and ethanol—produce about 20% of all global emissions.
If we want to keep using these products and reach zero emissions, the only option is to have these industries deploy carbon capture. more>
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Energy & emissions, History, Leadership, Media, Net, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Carbon capture and storage, Climate change, Earth, Financial crisis, Super regions, Technology
By Caroline Hayes – In today’s vehicles, drivers access information for a variety of uses. This can be the distance and directions to points of interest or practical vehicle information, such as remaining fuel.
The analog displays of dial and needles are being replaced with a mix of analog and digital instrument clusters.
The digital display is being used in a similar way to how consumers use notebooks, tablets, and smartphones.
In the Automotive Display Market Tracker, Principal Analyst, IHS Markit, Stacy Wu, identifies a shift from center stack and rear seat entertainment, to safety system displays in instrument clusters as well as heads-up displays, where data is displayed in front of the driver. Sales of safety-critical display panels are expected to experience double digit growth through 2022.
This could be a boon for display manufacturers who are seeing sluggish sales in mobile devices. more>
By Yari M. Bovalino – A few years ago, scientists working in GE labs in upstate New York came up with a cool idea for fixing broken parts. Literally. Calling the approach “cold spray,” they shot tiny metal grains from a supersonic nozzle at aircraft engine blades to add new material to them without changing their properties.
Anteneh Kebbede, manager of the Coatings and Surface Lab at the GE Global Research Center, who helped developed cold spray, said the technology can build whole new parts with walls as thick as 1 inch or more. “For manufacturers, the potential benefits are enormous,” Kebbede says. “Imagine being able to restore an aging part to its original condition with a tool that looks like a spray gun.” It is “like a fountain of youth for machine parts.”
GE engineers have already taken a dip. Earlier this year, engineers at the GE Aviation subsidiary Avio Aero started testing the technology in Bari, Italy. Last month they used it to repair the first part: a gearbox from the world’s most powerful jet engine, the GE90. more>
Posted in Economic development, Economy, How to, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, Business improvement, Cold spray, GE, Jet engine
Boeing’s robotic and human workers join up to start production of 777X jets
By Alan Boyle – The 777X is bigger than the 787 Dreamliner, but it picks up on a lot of the technologies pioneered by the smaller plane, ranging from wider windows to a common layout for the flight deck and the cargo handling system.
Boeing says it has improved the production process as well.
The 777X production process builds upon lessons learned from the 787 Dreamliner program, which has shifted Boeing toward greater automation and wider use of lightweight carbon fiber for components.
Boeing’s two 777X variants, the 777-8 and 777-9, are designed to carry between 350 and 425 passengers. That stretches well beyond the 396-seat capacity of Boeing’s biggest current-generation 777. The new jets are expected to be 20 percent more fuel-efficient as well.
The 777X’s 235-foot wingspan is so wide that each wingtip has an 11-foot-long section that’s built to fold upward, just in case extra clearance is needed at small airports.
The showcase for the upgraded production system is Boeing’s 1.3 million-square-foot Composite Wing Center, the billion-dollar facility where the carbon-fiber wing components for the 777X are being fabricated. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, History, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged 777X, Boeing, Business improvement, Industrial economy, Manufacturing, Productivity, Technology
By Steve Olenski – It’s important to put context around the purpose and benefit of building a smart city. The bigger picture is the creation of the digital economy in which smart cities will operate and contribute. A digital economy essentially needs smart cities to truly thrive and fulfill its potential.
The Smart Cities Council says that a smart city “uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability” by “collecting, communicating, and crunching” data from all sources. Because the digital economy operates on data, it could benefit from having city functions move to that platform. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Construction, Economic development, Economy, Education, Energy, Healthcare, How to, Leadership, Media, Net, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Government, Internet, Jobs, Leadership, Smart City, Super regions
By Banning Garrett – New technologies are moving us toward “production-at-the-point-of-consumption” of energy, food, and products with reduced reliance on a global supply chain.
The trade of physical stuff has been central to globalization as we’ve known it. So, this declining movement of stuff may signal we are approaching “peak globalization.”
To be clear, even as the movement of stuff may slow, if not decline, the movement of people, information, data, and ideas around the world is growing exponentially and is likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
Peak globalization may provide a pathway to preserving the best of globalization and global interconnectedness, enhancing economic and environmental sustainability, and empowering individuals and communities to strengthen democracy. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economy, How to, Net, Transportation
Tagged Broadband, Globalization, Industrial economy, Jobs, Manufacturing, Super regions, Technology
This Big-Data Firm Wants To Stop Flight Delays And Other Maddening Airline Problems
By Maggie Sieger – More than 60 percent of frequent flyers cite delays among the things about air travel that they find most dismaying.
Most of those costs and all of the annoyance for the passengers on that flight from LaGuardia could have been avoided if the airline had been able to predict that the part was going to fail and prevent it from happening, says Karen Thomas of Teradata, a data and analytics company.
Commercial aviation today accumulates vast lakes of data each year, around 15 billion terabytes — a billion times the size of the Library of Congress. (One terabyte of data can hold 200,000 songs or 500 hours of movies.) Being able to fish out that data will open up untold avenues for problem solving. more>
Posted in Business, Economy, Energy & emissions, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, GE, Industrial economy, Predictive maintenance, Productivity, Technology
The Aviator: How A Young Pilot Became A Top-Flight 3D-Printing Engineer
By Maggie Sieger – At 15, Josh Mook got a job refueling planes and handling bags at a small airport near his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He’d work eight hours a day after school, then blow his earnings every Saturday taking flying lessons. “I couldn’t even drive myself there,” Mook recalls. “But I was flying solo.”
Mook has been jetting into the unknown ever since. Originally considering a career in industrial design, Mook moved to aerospace engineering because it combined his love of flying with his love of math and science.
After graduating from Purdue University in 2005, he joined GE Aviation as an engineer at the GE unit’s headquarters in Cincinnati. His first big success came when he found a clever way to fix a blade durability problem in a jet engine high-pressure compressor.
Additive manufacturing methods like 3D printing build parts from the ground up, layer by layer, by fusing together metal powder or plastics. The technology is suitable for prototyping and custom production, but GE is also using it to make production parts that would be difficult to manufacture using traditional methods. more> https://goo.gl/psf2a9
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, GE, Jet engine, Manufacturing