€1.8b Quantum Plan Puts France on the Map for AI
In 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron presented the country’s artificial intelligence (AI) roadmap: his vision and strategy to make France a leader in AI technology. Now, Macron has presented a new national strategy for quantum technologies, a five-year €1.8 billion plan that will finance research in quantum computing, communications, and sensing.
Autonomous Boeing Aircraft Makes Its Maiden Flight
In what may be a major leap forward for the future of autonomous aircraft, ‘Loyal Wingman’, Boeing’s autonomous uncrewed fighter-style, jet-powered drone, has taken to the skies for the very first time in a historic test flight, carried out by Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The NASA Perseverance Rover: Recapping the Events and the Engineering That Proved Perseverance Pays Off
On February 18th 2021, the most advanced robot ever sent to Mars landed safely, following the spacecraft’s ‘seven minutes of terror’ touchdown on an especially dangerous Martian terrain. We recap the events and discuss the engineering that helped NASA prove that perseverance really does pay off.
Three UK Green Aviation Projects Receive a Total of £84 Million in Funding
The UK’s minister for London, Paul Scully, has recently announced that £84 million of government funding has been invested in the aerospace industry to help achieve the country’s ambition of realising zero-emissions flights. The money will be used to aid three major UK aviation projects.
UK to Host World’s First ‘Urban Air Port’ for Electric Aircraft
Coventry, a city in the UK, has been chosen as the location for the first airport for electric aircraft (such as drones and air taxis). Referred to as an ‘Urban Air Port’, the upcoming site will be carbon-neutral and is planned for late 2021.
BMW’s Production Capabilities Are Set to Be Optimised by Its Planned Quantum Computing Project
The leading automaker BMW has announced that it is planning to use Honeywell’s quantum computing technology to streamline its manufacturing operations. The car manufacturer is also working with Singapore-based startup Entropica Labs whose experience in quantum software will further inform the project.
Elon Musk is Offering a $100 Million Prize for the Best Carbon Capture Technology
Elon Musk is offering a prize worth $100 million to any participant who can suggest the best solution to achieving carbon capture technology. The tech billionaire and Tesla founder tweeted the announcement with further details promised to follow.
KAUST Researchers Utilise Herbicide to Boost Organic Solar Cell Efficiency
Despite the proven potential of solar energy, experts still must search for more efficient ways to develop solar-friendly technologies. This has led many scientists to move away from inorganic materials for solar energy harnessing, and accordingly, researchers from KAUST have recently developed a cost-effective organic solar cell solution.
UK Launches First Coordinated System for Renewable Energy
The United Kingdom’s first-of-its-kind energy transmission system, which went live in mid-December 2020, has been introduced by National Grid ESO and other major UK energy organisations. This will enable more renewable energy to connect to the electricity system with enhanced efficiency.
Cargo-Laden Drone Flight Completes Trip to Mainland UK
A drone flight has successfully carried cargo to and from the Scilly Isles from mainland England. The achievement may have laid the groundwork for future commercial services involving the unmanned aerial vehicle-based distribution of vital medical supplies.
UT Austin and Skoltech Have Developed A ‘Smart’ Wearable Sensor for Tracking Healing
Having formed a joint U.S.-Russia research team, scientists at UT Austin (the University of Texas at Austin) and Skoltech (the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology) have developed a proof-of-concept ‘smart’ wearable sensor that has the potential to enable the real-time, non-invasive monitoring of patients’ wounds.
Britain’s First EV Battery Gigaplant Planned for Northumberland, UK
Lithium-ion battery technology company Britishvolt has recently announced that it has settled on a site for the UK’s first EV (electric vehicle) battery gigaplant. The news follows the manufacturer’s acquisition of its full and exclusive rights to an almost 235-acre site in the UK’s unitary authority: Northumberland.
Scotland Plans for a ‘World First’ 1.8 MWh Flow Battery Energy Storage System
Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney has announced its plans to produce continuous green hydrogen from tidal power as part of a new flow battery installation. The project will involve vanadium flow batteries to ensure the energy storage system has high efficiency and endurance.
Fingertip Pressure Sensor for Dextrous Machines
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed a fingertip pressure sensor that doesn’t affect the touch sensitivity of real skin. They believe that the intricate technology, which was fabricated by electrospinning, may be able to train machines to carry out tasks with more fidelity.
Affordable VR-Controlled ‘Bartender’ Robotic Arm Can Be Operated From Anywhere
UK-based Extend Robotics has announced a successful trial of a VR (virtual reality)-based remote-controlled robot. Living up to its name, R:O:B: (for ‘robotically-optimised bartender’) has accurately poured pints of beer when being controlled by a remote human operator.
Opteran Awarded £2.1M for its Insect Vision-Inspired Approach to ‘Solve Autonomy’ in Robotics
Opteran, a UK-based natural intelligence company, has raised £2.1 million in seed funding to develop lightweight, ultra-low-power solutions to help machines see, sense, and navigate more efficiently. The technology is inspired by a natural phenomenon known as ‘optic flow’, which is observed in insects’ vision.
Honeywell’s Model H1, a ‘Breakthrough’ in Quantum Computing Hardware
Last year, U.S. company Honeywell announced its plans to release the world’s most powerful quantum computing hardware, the System Model H1, with a ‘quantum volume’ of at least 64 (more than twice the volume offered by IBM Q). We discuss the significance of the H1’s high quantum volume as well as the system’s overall potential.
Glasgow Engineers Create Solar-Powered Electronic Skin
Researchers at the University of Glasgow have developed a new type of solar-powered e-skin that uses light to mimic the human sense of touch. The scientists claim that the ‘skin’ could hold the potential to truly revolutionise the field of affordable prosthetics by using its light-capturing cells to mimic touch.