Would you ride in these bizarre standing airplane seats?

April 17, 2018 by  
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If your last plane flight left you feeling like a sardine in a can, this news is going to make your day. Italian seat manufacturer Aviointeriors has designed a seat that gives you plenty of room to stretch your legs out, even if you are taller than average. There’s just one little catch – you have to fly basically standing up. The SkyRider 2.0 solves two problems for airlines: it lets them pack in more passengers and it gives those passengers more leg room. The seats are connected to the ceiling and floor by a bar and they have a vaguely saddle-like seat that holds the rider in an upright position. The previous SkyRider had a very saddle-like seat, which Aviointeriors claimed was comfortable because cowboys could ride in the saddle for hours without discomfort (a notion that any novice horse rider would find laughable) but the FAA didn’t approve the design. The new and improved version has more padding and a more comfortable seat design. Related: Airbus is putting spacious sleeping pods in airplane cargo holds The seats are being billed as an option for short-haul flights to allow airlines to reach an “ultra-high density” (ugh) of passengers on each flight. No word yet on what actual human beings think about being strapped into one of the SkyRider 2.0 seats for several hours – or if any airline will buy them. + Aviointeriors Via CNN

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Would you ride in these bizarre standing airplane seats?

Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library

April 17, 2018 by  
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Dutch firm Molenaar & Bol & van Dillen Architects breathed new life into a 19th-century church by turning the space into a vibrant library and community center. The renovation focused on retaining the original layout of the church, which dates back to 1884. The result is a beautiful, wide-open interior converted into a breathtaking library with sliding bookshelves. The multi-functional space also includes exhibition halls, meeting spaces, and a restaurant. The architects kept the church’s original structural layout intact and lined the massive interior with thousands of books. The church’s original windows work in tandem with the added lighting to create a bright, well-lit space. Bookworms can easily access the library’s inventory, which is kept on sliding bookshelves . The shelves, installed on a rail system, can be moved when more space is needed for large event or to create private areas for smaller conferences or meetings. Related: Gorgeous 15th-Century Church Renovated as a Modern Bookstore in The Netherlands To add more functional space to the interior, the architects created an impressive 5,380 square-foot mezzanine level lined with several study areas and meeting rooms. This curvaceous feature continues through to church ‘s exterior, where it forms the roof of four pavilions connected to the facade. A restaurant was also installed in the garden pavilion on the south side of the building. + Molenaar & Bol & Van Dillen Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Stijn Poelstra

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Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library

HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France

April 16, 2018 by  
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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies just began construction on the world’s third Hyperloop test track. According to its latest announcement, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies ‘ full-scale tubes just reached a research and development facility in Toulouse, France , and a test track is under construction. The two other Hyperloop test tracks are Virgin Hyperloop One in the desert near Las Vegas and Elon Musk’s near the SpaceX headquarters in California. The race toward a functioning, real-world Hyperloop system continues as more test tracks pop up , governments sign deals , and billionaires get in on the action. Construction of Hyperloop TT’s test track will happen in two phases. The first phase is the building of a closed system around 1,050 feet long, which the company says will be operational in 2018. In 2019, the company plans to finish a 0.6-mile system elevated by pylons at around 20 feet for the second phase. HyperloopTT’s passenger and freight tubes have an interior diameter of about 13 feet. A full-scale passenger capsule is scheduled to arrive in France this summer “for assembly and integration” — it’s almost finished being built at a facility in Spain. Related: Hyperloop One exhibits exciting first images of full-scale test track In the company’s statement, HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta said, “We’ve pioneered the technology , proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE. We have agreements in place in nine countries where we’re working on feasibility and regulations. We have a research center for freight and logistics in Brazil and a facility in Toulouse where we’ll deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule. Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.” Stay tuned — HyperloopTT said they’ll soon reveal details for a public unveiling of their France facility this year. + Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Via The Verge Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

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HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France

Tesla Model Y production will power up in November 2019

April 12, 2018 by  
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With all the news about the Tesla Model 3 and the cargo hauling Tesla Semi , we might have forgotten that Tesla is already hard at work on its next model, the Tesla Model Y . We have yet to see the Tesla Model Y crossover, but according to the latest reports, Tesla has a goal of starting production in November 2019. Sources recently revealed to Reuters this week that Tesla is currently accepting bids for supplier contracts for the compact crossover. Tesla is keeping most of the details under wraps, but it has reportedly told suppliers as part of an RFI (request for information) that it will begin production of the Model Y at its Fremont, California plant by the end of next year. Related: The Tesla Semi just made its first cargo trip transporting battery packs News about Tesla getting ready for the Model Y production may raise comments from critics, since Tesla still hasn’t fully ramped up production of the Model 3 . Tesla is still hoping that it will be able to produce 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week at some point this quarter. It may seem aggressive that Tesla plans to start production so quickly, but the fact that the compact crossover shares its platform with the Model 3 will help. Tesla aims to eventually produce 1 million Model Y crossovers a year, helped by a new production facility in China that is expected to power up by 2021. Now that we have a production start date for the Model Y, we can get ready for the reveal of the car in the near future, though Tesla hasn’t confirmed just when this will happen. For now, we just have this single teaser of the Model Y. + Tesla Via  Reuters Images by Tesla

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World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden

April 12, 2018 by  
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The first electrified road capable of charging EVs as they drive across it is now open outside of Stockholm , Sweden. While the road — which links Stockholm Arlanda airport to a nearby logistics site — is only two kilometers long, it is a significant step forward in Sweden’s strategic plan for energy and climate change . The country aims to become independent of fossil fuels by 2030 – a task that will require a 70 percent reduction in emissions from the transportation sector. Once expanded, the electric roadways and highways in Sweden will make it convenient to charge electric vehicles and ease the country’s transition from traditional combustion engine vehicles. The system works by transferring electricity from the installed underground rail to the vehicle above through a flexible arm that attaches to the charging vehicle . “There is no electricity on the surface,” Hans Säll, chief executive of  eRoadArlanda , explained to the Guardian . “There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall. Five or six centimeters down is where the electricity is. But if you flood the road with salt water , then we have found that the electricity level at the surface is just one volt. You could walk on it barefoot.” Related: Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US It currently costs 1 million euros to construct one kilometer of electrified road, but this is still 50 times less than the cost of installing an equivalent distance of an overhead tram line. At the moment, Sweden maintains about half a million kilometers of roadways, of which 20,000 are highways. “If we electrify 20,000 kilometers of highways that will definitely be enough,” Säll said. “The distance between two highways is never more than 45 kilometers, and electric cars can already travel that distance without needing to be recharged. Some believe it would be enough to electrify 5,000 kilometers.” Sweden and Germany are in discussion to eventually construct a network of electrified roads to encourage a Europe-wide adoption of electric vehicles. Via The Guardian Images via  Erik Mårtensson/eRoadArlanda

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World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden

The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

April 12, 2018 by  
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The Gulf Stream current, which serves as an important regulator of weather and climate along the Atlantic Ocean, is now the weakest it has been in at least 1,600 years. This dramatic slowing of the current, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc), could usher in extreme shifts in weather patterns, such as more brutal European winters, rapid sea level rise on the American East Coast , and the disruption of essential tropical rainstorms. Suddenly, the 2004 climate-change disaster film The Day After Tomorrow, which depicted the dramatized consequences of a Gulf Stream slowdown, seems less science fiction, more predictive of a future plagued by catastrophic climate change. Although scientists have been aware of Amoc’s slowdown since 2004, two recent studies paint a more complete picture of just how dramatic this weakening has been. “The [current] climate models don’t predict [an Amoc shutdown] is going to happen in the future,” Dr. David Thornalley, leader of one of these recent studies published in the journal Nature , told the Guardian . “The problem is how certain are we it is not going to happen? It is one of these tipping points that is relatively low probability, but high impact.” Thornalley’s team gathered and analyzed sediments from North Carolina ‘s Cape Hatteras, as well as shells of marine animals at various Atlantic sites, to determine the full impact of the current slowdown. The study concludes that climate change has played at least a significant role in the weakened Amoc. Related: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate Also published in Nature , the second study used thermometer data from the past 120 years to reach a similar conclusion: Amoc is about 15 percent weaker than it was in 400 AD. While the second study places much of the blame on climate change , the first study also cites natural climate variability as a contributing factor to Amoc’s slowdown. Regardless of its causes, the weakening is recognized in both studies as a potentially destabilizing phenomenon. “If we do not rapidly stop global warming, we must expect a further long-term slowdown of the Atlantic overturning,” second study co-author Alexander Robinson told the Guardian . “We are only beginning to understand the consequences of this unprecedented process – but they might be disruptive.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2)

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The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

Scientists reveal new technique to make biofuel from mushroom waste

April 10, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the National University of Singapore have discovered a revolutionary way to transform mushroom waste into biofuel. Despite claims to the contrary, biofuel — typically derived from food crops — is often more environmentally-destructive than it is helpful. This new technique could change that by harvesting energy from waste produced in the process of mushroom cultivation. In a study published in Science Advances , researchers explain how Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum (TG57), a common bacterial byproduct of mushroom cultivation, can be isolated and used to convert plant-based cellulose into biobutanol. Biobutanol is a biofuel that can be used by vehicles designed to run on gasoline. First identified in 2015, the TG57 bacterium strain has been cultivated in various forms to analyze its ability to produce biofuel in a more sustainable manner. “The production of biofuels using non-food feedstocks can improve sustainability and reduce costs greatly,” researcher He Jianzhong told Silicon Republic . “In our study, we demonstrated a novel method of directly converting cellulose to biobutanol using the novel TG57 strain. This is a major breakthrough in metabolic engineering and exhibits a foundational milestone in sustainable and cost-effective production of renewable biofuels and chemicals.” Related: Paris has a new underground – a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies Creating biofuel from waste products is a potential boon for the industry and the environment. Biobutanol holds the most promise because of its energy density, and it can be used directly, without modification, in vehicles designed to run on gasoline. Prior to the study, the high environmental and financial costs of producing biobutanol blocked it from mainstream use. However, the researchers have revealed a widely applicable, straightforward technique that does not require any significant genetic alterations of the bacterium. Someday soon, you may munch on mushrooms with the satisfaction of contributing to greener transportation and a healthier planet. Via Silicon Republic Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Waymo adds 20,000 Jaguar electric SUVs to its self-driving car service

March 27, 2018 by  
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Waymo, an autonomous vehicle company owned by Google ‘s parent company Alphabet, will add 20,000 all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUVs to its self-driving car fleet over the next two years. The stylish I-PACE SUV will be one of several vehicles available for use in the company’s self-driving car service set to open in 2018. “This year in 2018, starting in Phoenix, Arizona — members of the public will be able to take these fully self-driving cars anywhere within our service area,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said . “To work, to school, to the grocery store. Anywhere they’d go with a typical car.” Waymo’s Arizona debut comes amid the recent news that an Arizona woman was struck and killed by a self-driving car operated by Waymo’s rival Uber. Waymo recently reached a $245 million settlement with Uber over allegations that Uber had stolen trade secrets regarding Waymo’s LIDAR system. The Arizona Department of Transportation has suspended Uber from testing its autonomous vehicles in the state, while Waymo remains on the road. Uber has also shut-down similar autonomous vehicle programs in Toronto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh while investigations into the crash continue. Related: Poor urban design could be at fault for Uber driverless car crash The 20,000 Waymo I-PACE SUVs would be capable of servicing up to one million rides per day. In expanding its operations, Waymo emphasizes its safety record. “We’ve created 20,000 individual test scenarios for our cars to test on,” said Krafcik. The announcement of a substantial vehicle fleet for the Phoenix roll-out demonstrates that Waymo has taken a significant step forward in the race to pioneer the world of self-driving cars . The upcoming trials should demonstrate the challenges and opportunities of autonomous vehicles in greater detail. Via Mashable Images via Waymo

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AeroMobil reveals flying taxi that transforms from car to electric airplane

March 26, 2018 by  
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Designed for both the skies and the streets, the AeroMobil 5.0 is the latest futuristic creation from the Slovakia-based flying car company. Rather than taking off as a traditional airplane does, the AeroMobil 5.0 is able to gain altitude through vertical thrust from powerful rotors embedded in retractable wings that deploy when you are ready to hit the skies. A rear propeller provides the vehicle with midair thrust. Billed as the “first and only electric VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing vehicle) to also drive on the road,” the AeroMobil 5.0 could potentially someday be your taxi, offering convenient flights right at your doorstep. The AeroMobil 5.0 is designed to complement previous models of flying car from the company, including the AeroMobil 4.0. “The multi-product strategy means we can provide urban travel with the AeroMobil 5.0 VTOL and intra-city travel with the AeroMobil 4.0 STOL,” said Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil, in a statement . “Our strategy solves the limitations of alternative VTOL concepts which are tied to dedicated landing pods rather than also using the existing road infrastructure .” Related: Uber and NASA team up to launch flying taxis by 2020 The AeroMobil 5.0 is designed to seat four passengers, with each rider having access to a personalized experience thanks to a sophisticated advanced data, communications and media system onboard. The cumulative experience at AeroMobil and developed technologies upon which the new flying car is based has made the company quite confident in its ability to finally deliver on that long-held dream of owning, or at least riding in, a flying car. “AeroMobil 4.0 STOL uses several patented technologies, a highly innovative combustion engine and has the benefit of using existing aerospace and automotive technology, combined in a unique way, thus achieving far greater energy efficiency , speed and range than any electric VTOL,” said AeroMobil Chairman Patrick Hessel in a statement . “It is also designed within existing regulation , hence enabling much sooner go-to-market in 2020 than the electric VTOL category, which in general is being mooted as ready for shipment in 2025”. Via Carscoops Images via AeroMobil

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New electric bike offers so much storage, you won’t miss your car

March 20, 2018 by  
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The swanky new CERO One electric cargo bike is designed to ease the adoption of more environmentally-friendly transportation. Electric bikes, or e-bikes , are 10 to 20 times more efficient than a car , but many lack the convenience of cargo space. Not CERO One. Kitted with a novel modular cargo rack system, this bike can be reconfigured to suit the needs of any particular person or task. The CERO One was invented by environmentalist Kiyoshi Iwai, who hopes to make his hometown of Los Angeles a better place to live in part through practical e-bikes. An avid surfer , Iwai was inspired to create a storage system that makes it easy to haul significant cargo, like a surfboard. The modular system has 12 distinct configurations that include three aluminum baskets on the front and rear of the bike and space for a child’s seat in the back. Thanks to its abundant storage space and resilient design, the CERO One can carry up to 300 pounds in cargo. Related: EvoWheel converts almost any bicycle into an electric bike in just 30 seconds CERO has equipped their latest e-bike with a new-generation Shimano 504Wh battery that has a range of 93 miles on a single charge and a top speed of around 20 MPH. Even with the heaviest of loads, the CERO One is capable of traveling 44 miles before requiring a recharge. The CERO One requires five hours for a full recharge, or two and a half hours for approximately 80 percent. The e-bike is available to purchase for $3,399. Via Curbed Images via CERO

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