Uber deploys 50 Tesla electric vehicles to Dubai

October 9, 2017 by  
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Under the UberONE service, which utilizes only electric vehicles, Uber will add 50 new Tesla electric cars to its ride-sharing fleet in Dubai. “We are tremendously excited to be the exclusive ride-hailing partner for this fleet of premium electric vehicles in Dubai, in partnership with Dubai Taxi Corporation, and for the clean vehicle technology to deliver our driver-partners and riders with more efficient, less-polluting mobility,” said Chris Free, General Manager for Uber UAE. “We will continue to work hand in hand with Dubai Taxi Corporation to bring innovative infrastructural solutions to Dubai and grow the city’s smart mobility ecosystem.” This expansion announcement by Uber builds upon Tesla’s entrance into the United Arab Emirates market earlier this year, in which it signed a deal to provide 200 Model S/X self-driving vehicles to the Dubai Taxi Corporation. Uber’s electric moves in Dubai are only its latest in a global campaign to encourage greater use of electric vehicles by its drivers. In London , Uber, which is currently not authorized to work in the city, announced a program to shift its 40,000 London-based drivers to using electric cars. In Oregon, a similar program empowers Uber EV drivers as electric ambassadors who educate their passengers about electric vehicles. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona In addition to its reinforcement of ride-hailing fleets, Tesla has recently begun customer deliveries of its Model X and Model S vehicles in Dubai. The wealthy emirate features prominently in Tesla’s regional strategy and for that reason, the company has invested in charging infrastructure in Dubai as well. Dubai itself has taken several important moves towards a more sustainable society, including a massive solar power park which will contain the world’s tallest solar tower , and a plan to build 500km of bike lakes . As for its taxi services, Uber will have competition; the first flying taxis have officially started testing in Dubai. Via Electrek Images via Tesla, Elliott Brown/Flickr ,  Brandon/Flickr , and Michiel2005/Flickr

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Uber deploys 50 Tesla electric vehicles to Dubai

Getaway is launching new tiny house rentals in Washington DC and Boston

October 9, 2017 by  
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Getaway tiny houses  are expanding, and we couldn’t be more excited. Until now, you could only rent one of the off-grid houses outside parts of Boston and New York, but now you can also spend the night away from the hustle of  Washington DC . Getaway is also expanding in Boston, so you will have even more options for a weekend escape outside of Beantown. At $99 a night, users of Harvard Innovation Lab startup’s Getaway houses get a hotel-level experience in the middle of a forest. The cabins have no Wi-Fi or TV, which helps you completely disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. All other aspects of the structure were designed for ultimate comfort. Related: Harvard student startup unveils third tiny house that can be rented for $99 a night The majority of the structure are located within two hours from the city, with a special series of three cabins located on New York harbor beaches accessible by public transport and a half-hour drive from Prospect Park. The company recently closed a round of funding to the tune of $15 million, and is set to expand in Boston by 20 houses this fall. + Getaway House Lead photo by Roderick Aichinger

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Getaway is launching new tiny house rentals in Washington DC and Boston

Dubai has officially started testing flying taxis

September 26, 2017 by  
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Dubai is now one step closer to launching the world’s first flying taxi service. On Monday, Volocopter successfully tested its two-seater Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT), which hovered for about five minutes approximately 200 meters off the ground. The vehicle resembles a small helicopter topped with 18 propellers, and it’s powered entirely by electricity. Volocopter ‘s AAT prototype is remarkably quiet, and it has a cruise speed of 50 km/h and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h. In total, the drone taxi measures two meters in height and it has a diameter (including propellers) of just over seven meters. When it’s officially launched, the AAT will be able to fly without remote control guidance and take trips up to 30 minutes at a time. In case of trouble, there are a number of fail-safes – including backup batteries, rotors, and even built-in parachutes. “Implementation would see you using your smartphone , having an app, and ordering a Volocopter to the next voloport near you. The volocopter would come and autonomously pick you up and take you to your destination,” said CEO of Volocopter, Florian Reuter. “It already is capable of flying based on GPS tracks today, and we will implement full sense capability, also dealing with unknown obstacles on the way.” Related: Lilium’s all-electric flying taxi could travel from Manhattan to JFK in 5 minutes Venture Beat reports that the test flight occurred during a ceremony arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. “Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contributes not only to the country‘s development but also builds bridges into the future,” said Sheikh Hamdan said in a statement. “This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.” Volocopter plans to launch a flying taxi service in Dubai within five years. Time is ticking, as more than a dozen, well-funded firms in the U.S. and Europe are developing their own high-tech flying vehicles. + Volocopter Via Venture Beat, The National Images via Dubai Media Office

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Dubai has officially started testing flying taxis

Dubai to expand massive solar park to include world’s tallest solar tower

September 19, 2017 by  
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There are 2.3 million photovoltaic panels at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park near Dubai . And now the massive solar farm is about to get a 700 megawatt (MW) extension, which will include the addition of an 853-foot solar tower , the world’s tallest. The first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park became operational in 2013 with 13 MW. It now has a capacity of 200 MW, after the second phase was launched in March this year. But the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has big plans for the solar park : by 2020, they plan to increase capacity to 1,000 MW, with the aim to increase that number to 5,000 MW by 2030. The solar park is the world’s biggest single-site concentrated solar power (CSP) project. Related: Phase 3 of world’s largest solar park slated to begin this month DEWA recently awarded the 14.2 billion AED fourth phase of the solar park to a consortium including ACWA Power in Saudi Arabia and Shanghai Electric in China. They won the contract with a bid of 7.3 US cents per kilowatt-hour. DEWA CEO HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said in a statement, “Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world.” CSP has been more expensive than traditional solar power in the past, which is one of its downsides. But CSP projects also have the ability to store some of the power as heat for later use. In 2030, the solar park could cover 83 square miles, and slash carbon emissions by 6.5 million metric tons a year. Via New Atlas and Business Wire Images via AETOS Wire and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA Facebook

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Dubai to expand massive solar park to include world’s tallest solar tower

Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

August 3, 2017 by  
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For eighteen months, scientists and concerned citizens waited for a giant iceberg to break off the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. On July 12, the highly-anticipated event finally occurred . Because the iceberg, named A68, was predominantly submerged in the water before it detached, the event did not dramatically raise sea levels — phenomena which would propel natural disasters. While this is fortunate, it turns out the iceberg saga isn’t over: cracks are spreading towards a location that is paramount to the stability of the remaining ice shelf . For months, satellites have been capturing footage of the region to track the effects of climate change . After A68 broke off the shelf, satellites continued to track its movements. According to new data published by the University of Leeds, the structure has drifted approximately 3.1 miles (5km) away from its initial location. When the event finally took place, Larsen C lost about 10 perfect of its area; at least 11 smaller icebergs — some up to 8 miles (12 km) long — were also formed. NewAtlas reports that as the network of cracks continues to sweep across Larsen C, the number of icebergs will keep increasing. Related: Dubai firm wants to tow icebergs from Antarctica for fresh water Said Anna Hogg, a researcher at the University of Leeds: “The satellite images reveal a lot of continuing action on Larsen C Ice Shelf. We can see that the remaining cracks continue to grow towards a feature called Bawden Ice Rise, which provides important structural support for the remaining ice shelf. If an ice shelf loses contact with the ice rise, either through sustained thinning or a large iceberg calving event, it can prompt a significant acceleration in ice speed, and possibly further destabilization. It looks like the Larsen C story might not be over yet.” As Inhabitat previously reported, A68 is not a direct result of climate change . In fact, the process happens quite naturally during the life cycle of ice shelves. However, it is possible that it is breaking away progressed faster than normal due to changing environmental conditions . “Although floating ice shelves have only a modest impact on of sea-level rise, ice from Antarctica’s interior can discharge into the ocean when they collapse,” said Hilmar Gudmundsson, a researcher from the British Antarctic Survey. “Consequently we will see increase in the ice-sheet contribution to global sea-level rise. With this large calving event, and the availability of satellite technology, we have a fantastic opportunity to watch this natural experiment unfolding before our eyes. We can expect to learn a lot about how ice shelves break up and how the loss of a section of an ice shelf affects the flow of the remaining parts.” The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change . + University of Leeds Via NewAtlas Images via Pixabay

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Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

August 3, 2017 by  
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A top senior official at the EPA resigned this week with a scathing letter  aimed at Trump and his anti-environmental agenda. Elizabeth Southerland has been with the EPA for over 30 years, and in that time she has battled cancer-causing water contaminants, toxic pollution and a host of other threats to our natural resources. But working under climate deniers Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt is a bridge too far. “Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth. The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities,” she said in her letter. Southerland isn’t the first scientist to quit to protest the administration’s policies, which has also seen key scientists demoted in an attempt to drive them out of their roles. Southerland is particularly critical of Trump’s oversimplified policy of cutting two regulations for every new one. “Should EPA repeal two existing rules protecting infants from neurotoxins in order to promulgate a new rule protecting adults from a newly discovered liver toxin?” Related: Trump’s EPA moves to kill Obama’s Clean Water Rule Southerland was the director in the Office of Science and Technology. Already eligible for retirement, she cites the need to focus on family as a key decision to quit, in addition to her outrage at the hostile policies pushed by Trump. “[T]he President’s FY18 budget proposes cuts to state and tribal funding as draconian as the cuts to EPA , while at the same time reassigning a number of EPA responsibilities to the states and tribes,” she says in her letter. She also comments on a speech given by the Administrator in which he admonished the EPA for running roughshod over state’s rights. “In fact, EPA has always followed a cooperative federalism approach since most environmental programs are delegated to states and tribes who carry out the majority of monitoring, permitting, inspections, and enforcement actions.” Via Huffington Post Images via Flickr  and Wikimedia

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Is this massive folded skyscraper trolling New York City’s obsession with size?

March 29, 2017 by  
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New York City’s obsession with building ultra-tall, skinny skyscrapers should come as a surprise to no one. For decades, architects and developers have worked to “out-phallic” each other to seize prestige and obscene amounts of cash. New York-based Oiio Studio has had enough of the taller-is-better trend – and they’re now aiming to create the “longest skyscraper in the world” – aptly dubbed “The Big Bend” – to draw attention to the city’s absurd real estate situation. The proposed Big Bend aims to be the longest skyscraper on the globe – topping out even Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – by folding the tower in half in an inverted U-shape. Big Bend is a 4,000-foot-tall paperclip-shaped skyscraper that would loom over the towers along New York City’s Billionaire’s Row . The plans evoke an ultra-modern atmosphere with images of top-hatted rich men taking center stage in the renderings. According to the architects, the “bendy” design responds to the city’s uber-tall skyscrapers , which have been criticized for “bending” building codes and using their height to command exorbitant prices. Related: World’s tallest timber skyscraper proposed for London The building proposal for the Big Bend reads, “We usually learn about the latest tallest building and we are always impressed by its price per square foot. It seems that a property’s height operates as a license for it to be expensive. New York City’s zoning laws have created a peculiar set of tricks trough which developers try to maximize their property’s height in order to infuse it with the prestige of a high rise structure. But what if we substituted height with length? What if our buildings were long instead of tall? If we manage to bend our structure instead of bending the zoning rules of New York we would be able to create one of the most prestigious buildings in Manhattan.” In an interview with Quartz , Oiio’s Ioannis Oikonomou explains that the project aims “to raise awareness on the extreme law-bending that the emergence of such structures requires by proposing an even more extreme, yet achievable, scenario.” The fact that the design is feasible is what makes the Big Bend design even more intriguing. With current high-tech engineering and elevators that can move horizontally as well as vertically, the U-shaped tower could potentially be built – and it even complies with current NYC zoning laws. “There is nothing particularly demanding that has not been already tested within existing high-rise structures,” Oikonomou says. If fact, if the skyscraper design came to fruition, its size would overtake Dubai’s Burj Khalifa , which at 2,722 feet, is the world’s tallest (and longest) building. + Oiio Studio Via CNN Imags via Oiio Studio

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Is this massive folded skyscraper trolling New York City’s obsession with size?

Dubai’s crazy rotating wind-powered skyscraper is actually being built

February 21, 2017 by  
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The modern world is full of unique, eye-catching buildings – but an upcoming Dubai skyscraper is about to put a new spin on the field of architecture. We’ve reported before on Israeli-Italian architect David Fisher ‘s crazy rotating Dynamic Tower – and now it looks like the 1,375-foot-tall high-rise is finally becoming a reality. Solar panels will be installed on the roof, and 48 individual wind turbines will be hidden in between the floors to provide power. According to the architect, the building will generate up to 10 times more energy than it will use. Proposed by Fisher almost a full decade ago, the project was supposed to break ground in 2010, but was put on hold due to planning obstructions and design changes. Now, seven year later, it looks like the project has finally been given the green light. https://youtu.be/jEYZ-ylelbg The Dynamic Tower will have 80 floors that are capable of rotating a full 360 degrees, letting tenants and hotel guests select their own personal views via voice command. However, even more impressive than the unique twisting feature is the project’s sustainability profile – the entire building will be powered by sun and wind energy. The apartments will offer the ultimate in luxury living – at a staggering price tag of 30 million dollars. The “beyond star rating” building will offer swimming pools, garden space, a fitness center, and even a car lift that transports cars outside individual residences. + David Fisher Via Mirror Images via David Fisher/Dynamic Architecture

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Dubai’s crazy rotating wind-powered skyscraper is actually being built

Phase 3 of world’s largest solar park slated to begin this month

January 20, 2017 by  
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Work on the world’s largest solar park is set to move forward this month. Phase 3 of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai will add 800 megawatts (MW) of clean energy to the enormous solar park. The project could be a big win for the environment, expected as it is to displace 6.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year when it is completed. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and energy company Masdar are ready to commence Phase 3 of the groundbreaking solar park now that the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract has been awarded. Phase 3 will be 16 square kilometers, or a little over six square miles, when its three stages – adding 200 MW, 300 MW and 300 MW at a time – are complete, maybe in 2020 in time for the 2020 Dubai World Expo , according to New Civil Engineer. Related: Record-breaking solar prices in Dubai prove cheaper than coal Domingo Vegas Fernández, President of Spanish firm Gransolar , which received the EPC along with Spanish infrastructure company Acciona and Italian construction firm Ghella , said in a statement, “Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project marks a new global milestone in the development of renewable energy in the Middle East and the world.” When the solar park is totally finished – probably sometime in 2030 – it will generate up to 1,000 MW. Phase 3 follows a publicized bidding war in mid 2016, where one record-breaking bid for Phase 3 was a cheap 2.99 cents per kilowatt-hour , allowing solar power in Dubai to be even cheaper than coal. Dubai ruler and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, for whom the solar park is named, recently presented the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which calls for 50 percent of energy sourced from renewables. Dubai aims to boost their share of renewables by “seven percent by 2020, 25 percent by 2030, and 75 percent by 2050,” according to Masdar . Via New Civil Engineer and Masdar Images via Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA Facebook and (????)?*:??? on Flickr

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Phase 3 of world’s largest solar park slated to begin this month

Global subway map shows the potential of a hyperloop-connected world

January 19, 2017 by  
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Imagine being transported across the country in a tube, at speeds of over 700 miles per hour, and you have stepped into the minds of Hyperloop One ’s Global Challenge finalists. The LA-based company has selected 35 teams to present plans for local hyperloop train systems, which could one day become connected to a massive, global transportation system . Over the next five years, three regional routes will be planned for construction as the first steps. In 2003, Mark Ovenden designed the World Metro Map, which showed what the globe might look like if major cities were connected through underground railways. Hyperloop One ’s vision could end up looking a lot like this design, except people and cargo would be transported through the high-speed, vacuum-sealed hyperloop system. The company made waves last fall when its partner Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) announced its plans to connect Abu Dhabi with Dubai via capsule transport. Related: BIG releases video sneak peek of Hyperloop designed to connect Abu Dhabi & Dubai “It’s more than just a train, or a pod in a tube,” Josh Giegel, the president of engineering at Hyperloop One, told Inverse . “We’re taking it to a level of connectivity and really being the high-speed backbone of the future transportation network.” The vision of a worldwide hyperloop network is closer to becoming reality, thanks to the company’s Global Challenge . Successful regional systems will pave the way for future projects and possibly, one day, an interconnected network that could completely revolutionize travel and cargo transport. + Hyperloop One Via  Inverse Images via  Flickr , Wikimedia

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Global subway map shows the potential of a hyperloop-connected world

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