Author Archives: Nidhi Goyal

  1. New Lithium Battery Will Suck up CO2 to Power Itself

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    World is facing a serious carbon dioxide problem today.  CO2, is most harmful among the gases that trap heat and act like a blanket to warm the planet. Over the years, scientists have made efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help tackle global warming.

    A new system might offer a powerful advantage over these efforts

    Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a lithium-based battery able to deal with our surplus CO2.

    A team of scientists at MIT has come up with a lithium-based battery system that soaks up carbon dioxide directly from inside power plants and continuously convert carbon dioxide into a solid mineral carbonate as it discharges.

    Lithium-carbon-dioxide batteries typically require metal catalysts to function, but this battery system achieved electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion without the metallic catalyst, using only carbon electrode.

    Though scientists were able to turn CO2 into something like a battery component, but it will be years before this battery technology can be used to power things to become tomorrow’s battery technology.

  2. New Lexus ES Model Dumps Side Mirrors for Video Cameras

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    The Japanese automaker Lexus is introducing the world’s first digital side-view monitors. The automaker announced that these advanced, futuristic camera-based devices will debut on new Lexus ES models.

    The new digital side-view monitors will replace the traditional side-view mirrors on the new ES when it launches in Japan next month.

    • Digital side-view monitors offer drivers improved views of the left, right, and rear of the car.
    • The system consists of a pair of side cameras known as Digital Outer Mirrors, which are mounted on stanchions where the car’s side mirrors would normally reside.
    • What the cameras see is shown on a pair of small screens, which are angled toward the driver.
    • Lexus boasts of the camera housings, which have been specially designed to curb rain and snow accumulation that could obstruct camera vision.
    • It comes with features like blind spot warning, object identification, and also a green light that tells the driver when it is OK to merge into traffic.
    • Once the turn signals are activated, or the transmission is put into reverse, the system automatically enhances the corresponding area: left, right, or behind. One can even manually enhance the view of areas around the car to obtain complete peripheral awareness of the area around the vehicle.

    These new monitors are no doubt digital marvels. If you are interested in this tech, and you are outside of Japan, then you’ll have to wait for a while to get them. The digital side-view monitors will only be made available in Japan for now.

  3. BMW Unveils Its Riderless Motorcycle

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    BMW Motorrad

    First, there were self-driving cars. Next up, self-driving motorcycles. BMW Motorrad, the motorcycle division of the German automobile company, presented its first self-driving, riderless motorcycle at the BMW Motorrad Techday 2018 at Miramas, France. The autonomous BMW R1200GS showed its magic by taking its first rounds.

    Developed by graduate engineer Stefan Hans and his team, the vehicle independently drives off, leans into turns, and even deploys the kickstand as it comes to a stop.

    Through this test platform, the team wants to identify motorcycle riding dynamics to find better ways of adding safety measures on future bikes

    BMW Motorrad has been working on this technology for more than two years. However, the team says it has no interest in creating a self-driving bike for the sake of it. Instead, they want to work some of the technology into its conventional bikes to offer “more stability in critical riding situations.”

    Hans said, “The prototype helps us to expand our knowledge about the vehicle’s dynamics, so that we can classify the rider’s behavior, and determine if a future situation will become dangerous or not. If so, we can inform, warn, or intervene directly.”

    “In this project, it was not our goal to develop a fully automated motorcycle. We want to improve motorcycle safety. It’s the proof that the underlying dynamic model is detailed enough to cope with the whole riding dynamics, so we can use that knowledge to develop further comfort and safety systems.”

  4. Dutch City to Launch World’s First Floating Dairy Farm

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    The world’s first-ever floating dairy farm is set to open in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam at the end of 2018. This dairy farm is being launched by the Dutch property company Beladon.

    The idea behind this floating farm is to utilize unused space in the water as an alternative to the increasingly scarce land and shortening the distance between grocery stores and farms.

    Robots will lend a helping hand

    The farm-on-water will have about 40 cows. Milked by robots, these cows will yield 800 liters of milk per day. Robots will also be responsible for managing manure, which will be used as fertilizer on the farm and throughout Rotterdam. The milk and yogurt produced on the farm will be sold in the local area.

    Set in the middle of the port, the farm will have three levels.

    The top floor will house greenhouses for clover, grass, and other crops to feed the cows. The middle level will be a floating home for cows. Populated with artificial trees, it will resemble a natural garden. The cows will be free to graze on solid ground in an adjacent field they can access via a ramp. Finally, the bottom floor will have a processing plant to turn fresh milk into consumer products.

    The floating dairy farm will be anchored to the ocean floor. It will sway only a few millimeters, even in bad weather — not enough to cause any stress to the cows.

  5. Tempest: Britain’s Next-Gen Stealth Fighter

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    BAE Systems conceptual illustration

    The U.K. is investing $2.65 billion to become the first nation in the world to have a fleet of hi-tech unmanned fighter jets. A full-size model of the U.K.’s proposed next-generation jet fighter, called “Tempest,” was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow, held at the Farnborough Airport in Hampshire, U.K., last month. If all goes well, the aircraft will be operational by 2035.

    The fighter jet is built by a consortium led by the British defense firm BAE Systems, engine-maker Rolls Royce Holdings, the Italian aerospace company Leonardo, and the pan-European missile manufacturer MBDA.

    Tempest aims to dominate the skies in the future

    Tempest supports hypersonic weapons, which can go beyond the speeds of MACH 5. It will be armed with lasers, use swarming technology with artificial intelligence, and employ machine learning to hit its targets.

    A bold move by Britain after Brexit

    Recently, the U.K. has been excluded from a Franco-German fighter jet project to build an advanced “European” fighter to replace Dassault Aviation’s Rafales and Germany’s Eurofighter Typhoons. Britain hopes that the airplane will help maintain its status as a “tier one” military power after Brexit and overcome its reliance on the U.S. for the military capabilities.

  6. The Airbus Perlan 2 Glider Sets New Altitude Record

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    Perlan Project

    The Airbus Perlan 2 aircraft set a new gliding altitude world record recently. The pressurized glider flew to the edge of space to an altitude of an astonishing 76,000 ft. — well over 14 miles.

    The Perlan 2 glider is made of carbon fiber composite material. It is designed to soar up to 90,000 ft., has an unladen weight of 1,540 lbs., and a wingspan of 84 ft. — about twice that of a fighter jet.

    The glider passed the Armstrong Line — above this limit humans absolutely cannot survive in an unpressurized environment. The atmospheric pressure is so low at this altitude that an unprotected human’s blood will boil.

    Carrying two pilots, Perlan 2 was towed to the base of the stratosphere by a Grob Egrett G520 turboprop, a high-altitude reconnaissance plane.

    Once the airplane towed the glider to 40,000 ft., the glider soared into the highest areas of Earth’s atmosphere thanks to the world’s most powerful stratospheric mountain waves in El Calafate, Argentina.

  7. Japan to Conduct Test of Space Elevator

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    Space Elevator. This painting by Alexei Sokolov is one of the earliest known images of a space elevator. It appears on page 25 in the book The Stars are Awaiting Us by Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and Andrei Sokolov and was published (in Russian and English) in Moscow in 1967 by Mol. Gvardiia. [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

    It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a Japanese team appears determined to bring a far-out-sounding concept to reality – they have developed a “space elevator.”

    Researchers at Shizuoka University, working in conjunction with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, are going to conduct the first trial on a miniature version of a space elevator.

    A university spokesperson said, “It’s going to be the world’s first experiment to test elevator movement in space.”

    The space elevator consists of a box only 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) long and 3 centimeters (1.18 inches) wide and 3 centimeters high. This box will move along a 10-meter (32-foot) cable suspended in space between two miniature satellites

    The test equipment, carrying two satellites, one of which will contain the elevator stand-in, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket. Movement of the motorized motion of the box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.

    If the researchers succeed in this experiment, the achievement would take the team closer to its dream of building its own space elevator to put tourists in space by 2050.

  8. Scientists Confirm Presence of Water Ice on the Moon

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    Scientists have long believed that water exits on the moon. But now, this belief has finally been confirmed by a team of scientists, led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University, and including Richard Elphic from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Definitive evidence of water ice on the moon has been directly observed in the cold, dark places near the north and south poles.

    India’s Chandrayaan-1 orbiter has found “frozen water deposits in polar regions of the moon”

    M3, an imaging spectrometer onboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, has confirmed the presence of solid ice on the moon. It collected data that showed the reflective properties expected from ice, as well as the unique way its molecules absorb infrared light.

    The Indian Space Research Organization is planning to launch Chandrayaan-2 in the first week of January 2019. ISRO chairman K. Sivan said further exploration will help us to find out if humans can inhabit the moon in the future.

    Sivan said, “The three key components of Chandrayaan-2 — orbiter, lander and rover—will carry 13 payloads for mapping terrain and look for minerals, water or ice formations.”

    According to NASA officials, “With enough ice sitting at the surface — within the top few millimeters — water would possibly be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on the moon, and potentially easier to access than the water detected beneath the moon’s surface.”

  9. Secret U.S. Military Technique Helps You Sleep in Two Minutes

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    Due to our hectic schedules, stress, and a myriad of life responsibilities, most of us suffer from nights without sleep. However, a military secret to help insomniacs fall asleep in just 120 seconds has been revealed.

    A book titled “Relax and Win: Championship Performance” features this secret method that is said to have a 96 percent success rate after six weeks of practice.

    The book shows the way to relax and fall asleep within two minutes

    The book reads, “The U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School developed a scientific method to fall asleep day or night, in any conditions, in under two minutes. After six weeks of practice, 96 percent of pilots were able to sleep in two minutes or less even after drinking coffee, with machine gunfire being played in the background.”

    Following are the steps to fall asleep in just two minutes:

    • Relax the muscles in your face, including tongue, jaw, and the muscles around the eyes
    • Drop your shoulders and relax both sides of the upper and lower arms
    • Breathe out and relax your chest
    • Relax your legs, starting from the thighs and working down

    After this, you should try to clear your mind by visualizing one of the three following images:

    • Imagine yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake with nothing but a clear, blue sky above you
    • Imagine yourself lying in a black velvet hammock in a dark room
    • Repeat the words “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” to yourself over and over for about 10 seconds
  10. Ultra-Sleek TMC Dumont Motorcycle Has Rolls-Royce Aircraft Engine!

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    The idea of strapping an aircraft engine to a motorcycle isn’t quite new; we have seen plenty of concept bikes experimenting with this idea in the past. But the TMC Dumont with “the largest wheels ever made for a motorcycle” is like nothing we have seen ever before.

    The TMC Dumont is the work of Brazilian ex-Formula One driver Tarso Marques. After his retirement, the former Minardi driver took to building custom motorcycles under the moniker TMC.

    The latest of his creations is the TMC Dumont. The bike is powered by a massive 300-hp six-cylinder Rolls-Royce engine lifted from a 60s-era aircraft.

    TMC Dumont has gigantic hubless 36-inch wheels, which are the largest ever fitted to a motorcycle. Due to the wheels being fixed in a lower section of the motorcycle, it appears to be “floating.”

    The concept bike is an intricate amalgamation of the future and the past, but what about the practicality?

    The gargantuan hubless 36-inch wheels are high enough to block the rider’s view. Not only that, the rider sits dangerously close to the rear wheel and no one is sure how exactly the motorcycle takes the turns.

    Here’s a video of this bizarre contraption with the power of 300 horses on the road:

  11. StormBreaker: The Newest U.S. Air Force Deadly Weapon

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    Adverse weather conditions greatly limit the capability of pilots to strike moving targets. This has led to the requirement of an all-weather solution that enhances military capabilities without being affected by conditions on the ground or in the air.

    Missile maker Raytheon’s StormBreaker bomb will soon provide U.S. Air Force pilots with the capability to strike maneuvering targets when visibility is limited.

    The new bomb, formerly known as the Small Diameter Bomb II or SDB II bomb, can glide for more than 45 miles while carrying a warhead to strike moving targets. This means that aircrews will spend less time flying dangerous missions.

    The StormBreaker tri-mode seeker uses imaging infrared, millimeter wave, and semi-active laser. When fired from fighter jets thousands of feet up, the new weapon can penetrate bad weather to attack moving and stationary targets on the ground.

    Small, but deadly!

    The StormBreaker bomb weighs just over 200 pounds. It is 70 inches long and only seven inches in diameter. Its small size allows fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as larger weapons that require a greater number of aircraft.

    Raytheon completed development and integration of the StormBreaker on the F-15E Strike Eagle in April 2018. It is planned to be integrated onto the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by 2022.

  12. Liquid Metal Flow Battery for Affordable Storage of Green Energy

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    For years, researchers have pursued the technology for a better flow battery for the power grid that could lead to affordable storage of renewable power.

    In a flow battery, two liquids, one with a positive electrical charge and another having a negative electrical charge, are separated by a membrane. The membrane allows electrons to pass between both fluids while keeping them physically separate.

    Until now, flow batteries had several limitations. They had a low energy density, used fluids that required extremely high temperatures, or used very toxic or expensive chemicals, making them commercially unviable.

    But now, researchers from Stanford University believe they are close to a breakthrough in developing a rechargeable battery that stores more energy, costs less, and is environmentally safe.

    Stanford researchers developed a new combination of materials

    Stanford researchers tried sodium and potassium (Na-K) as the fluid for the electron donor — or negative — side of the battery. Both the fluids are nontoxic, abundant, and inexpensive. When mixed, these elements form a liquid metal at room temperature. This liquid has at least 10 times the available energy per gram as other candidates for the negative-side fluid of a flow battery.

    A battery developed with the new technology would be able to store large amounts of renewable power created through wind or solar sources. With further development, the new battery could deliver energy to the electric grids more efficiently, quickly, and inexpensively.

  13. Robot Cockroaches Will Repair Plane Engines to Keep You Safe

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    Rolls-Royce, best known for its luxury cars and aero engine manufacturing, is now developing tiny “robot cockroaches” to fix plane engines.

    The company teamed up with robotics experts at Harvard University and the University of Nottingham to develop these tiny insect-like robots. These tiny bots will crawl into the tight spots in the engines to find and fix the problems.

    This could dramatically speed up the entire inspection and repair process while eliminating the need to remove the engine from the aircraft to make repairs

    Rolls-Royce says that the cockroach-inspired robotic bugs have been in development for the last eight years. But the prototypes aren’t quite ready to perform repairs since they are larger than desired. Engineers are working to scale them down to a 15-millimeter size and equip them with tiny cameras.

    Not just one, but many of these tiny bugs could work as a team in different parts of the engine

    Once the size issues are worked out, engineers could use the bots as a sort of reconnaissance tool to spot problem areas and perform minor maintenance.

    After the job is finished, these tiny bugs could be programmed to leave the engine or could simply be “flushed out” by the engine itself.

  14. Bicycle Drivetrain Wins 2018 Eurobike Innovation Award

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    Bike parts manufacturer CeramicSpeed partnered with the University of Colorado’s department of mechanical engineering to introduce a chainless bicycle drivetrain concept. The revolutionary drivetrain, known as DrivEn, won the 2018 Eurobike Innovation Award at the Eurobike show, a major tradeshow in Germany.

    According to Jason Smith, CeramicSpeed’s chief technology officer, “Advancements in drivetrain technology have been evolutionary since the 1920s. DrivEn is truly revolutionary given its unique rolling element power transfer and unmatched efficiency. The DrivEn concept has the ability to change the way the cycling industry views drivetrain design and drivetrain efficiency.”


    Here are some of the features of the DrivEn prototype:

    • Derailleurs and chains are replaced with a pinion-style driveshaft system.
    • The system utilizes low-friction 21 CeramicSpeed bearings that transfer torque effortlessly from the front ring through the drivetrain and onto the 13-speed rear cog.
    • The bike creates 49 percent less friction than the high-end Shimano Dura-Ace chain-and-derailleur setup.
    • The bike has less drag, less weight, and takes up less space than traditional bicycles.

    Smith said, “CeramicSpeed has proudly accomplished what many have said couldn’t be done. We achieved a 99 percent-efficient multispeed drivetrain while eliminating the chain and complex rear derailleur.”

  15. Forget Flying Cars … Here Comes the Flying Train!

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    AKKA Technologies

    Transportation is about to get a technology-driven reboot. Recently, Akka Technologies, an innovative engineering and consulting company based in France, unveiled its mind-blowing Link & Fly aircraft design.

    The new vehicle is both a flying train that can take to the air and a plane with a passenger pod and detachable wings that can travel on the ground via tracks. Akka’s Link & Fly concept craft will be 33.8 meters long and 8.2 meters high, with a 48.8-meter wingspan.

    Akka’s chief executive officer, Maurice Ricci, said, “After cars go electric and autonomous, the next big disruption will be in airplanes.”

    With Akka’s futuristic concept, when you need to fly, you will take a tube-shaped passenger train that will bring you straight to the airport. At the airport, the passenger pod will then roll onto the runway, where the pod will attach to the wings, which sit waiting with the engines on top.

    Upon landing, the plane detaches from its wings and turns back into a train, which rolls on tracks to local train stations.

    The craft is planned to have a maximum cruise altitude of 39,800 feet, a range of 2,200 kilometers, and a cruise speed of Mach 0.78 (around 600 miles per hour).

  16. NASA’s Titanium Spring Tires Are Nearly Indestructible

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    NASA research engineers have unveiled super-elastic titanium spring tires that will help rovers designed for extraterrestrial surfaces to carry heavier payloads and explore larger areas for longer periods of time. Researchers foresee that these new tires could also be used on manned exploration vehicles that would move at much higher speeds.

    The design of NASA’s new tire is also a result of an issue that occurred with a tire used for the 1971 lunar rover, which was brought to the moon by Apollo 15. The lunar rover’s wheels were made of hollow metal springs. They could absorb shocks like a rubber air-filled tire, but they didn’t roll efficiently since those metal springs became deformed over time to the point at which they couldn’t return to their original shape.

    To solve this issue, researchers came up with a new type of metal spring tire made from a nickel-titanium alloy. This latest innovation is the result of years of efforts by the engineers and scientists. This airless tire features 800 load-bearing springs. It will be able to bend, adapt, absorb shocks, and then regain its shape — even after crisscrossing the most difficult terrains. In fact, this tire is based on the award-winning airless “Spring Tire” that NASA developed with Goodyear back in the mid-2000s.

  17. The City of London Will Be Powered by 100 Percent Green Energy by October

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    Considering the need to take a strict action against climate change and with the intention to place London as one of the world’s leading environmentally friendly cities, London’s historic “Square Mile” district has announced plans to source 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by October 2018.

    To achieve this goal, the city’s governing body is installing solar panels on local buildings, investing in larger solar and wind projects, and purchasing clean energy from the grid.

    City Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee chair Catherine McGuinness said, “Sourcing 100 percent renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance and running some of our buildings on zero-carbon electricity.

    “By generating our own electricity and investing in renewable, we are doing our bit to help meet international and national energy targets. This is a big step for the City Corporation and it demonstrates our commitment to making us a more socially and environmentally responsible business.”

  18. Experimental Fusion Reactor Reaches Temperature of the Sun

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    Image by Tokamak Energy – A Faster Way to Fusion on Youtube

    Researchers from Tokomak Energy in the U.K. are claiming a new milestone in thermonuclear fusion. They were able to achieve plasma temperatures in a fusion reactor, known as the ST40 device, hotter than the sun’s core for the first time — reaching 15 million degrees Celsius (59 million degrees Fahrenheit).

    It’s a big achievement and is a key step toward the generation of limitless clean energy

    Tokamak Energy researchers at a facility in Oxfordshire are attempting to build an affordable fusion reactor to supply the U.K. grid with fusion power by 2030. Tokamak Energy is a privately funded company.

    Nuclear fusion is a process that involves the collision of atomic nuclei, which fuse together to form helium atoms. The whole process results in the release of fantastic amounts of energy. This is the same process that powers stars. If we can recreate this process on Earth, we would be able to generate huge amounts of clean energy with no harmful byproducts, such as carbon dioxide emissions or the radioactive waste generated by nuclear fission reactions.

    Just one tablespoon of liquid hydrogen fuel can generate as much energy as 28 tons of coal

    Scientists consider this achievement to be a big step. Their ultimate goal, however, is to heat the high-energy gas to 100 million degrees Celsius (212 million degrees Fahrenheit).

    “We are taking significant steps towards achieving fusion energy, doing so with the agility of a private venture, driven by the goal of achieving something that will have huge benefits worldwide,” said CEO Jonathan Carling.

    “Reaching 15 million degrees is yet another indicator of the progress at Tokamak Energy and a further validation of our approach. Our aim is to make fusion energy a commercial reality by 2030. We view the journey as a series of engineering challenges, raising additional investment on reaching each new milestone.”

  19. Smart Traffic Lights Could Cut Harmful Car Emissions

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    Tired of wasting precious time at traffic junctions? Things are going to change soon. A new breed of smart traffic lights is being developed that may bring an end to stop-and-go driving.

    This innovative technology could slash the amount of time you spend waiting for a green light. The signals will advise motorists about the speed they should drive in order to arrive at the next set of lights as they turn green.

    More efficient driving will help in reducing vehicle emissions and cut congestion

    U.S.-based engineering firm AECOM is developing this concept. It will be tested in the U.K., using a simulation model of the A59 road in York.

    This concept is one of five shortlisted entries in a competition launched by the National Infrastructure Commission, Highways England, and Innovate UK for creating roads for driverless cars.

    AECOM principal consultant Heather Hawkins said, “We are excited and are eager to get started so we can better understand the potential impact of vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies on our local road network in York.”

    “We are fortunate to be living and working in a city which has chosen to be an early innovator, deploying and testing these technologies on-street through existing research programs. It’s truly inspiring and we are grateful to be a part of it.”

  20. Uber Unveils Prototype to Create Flying Taxi by 2023

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    Recently, Uber unveiled a new design for its futuristic “aerial taxi,” which looks more like a giant drone than a helicopter.

    Uber shared the designs for its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) “flying car” concept at the company’s second annual Elevate summit in Los Angeles.

    Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, “We think cities are going to go vertical in terms of transportation and we want to make that a reality.”

    Uber created the prototype with NASA last year. The prototype is equipped with a series of drone-like stacked and co-rotating propellers.

    Uber explained, “Uber’s [concept models] are designed for safe transition between vertical and forward flight, which is achieved through stacked co-rotating propellers.”

    “Stacked co-rotating rotors or propellers have two rotor systems placed on top of each other rotating in the same direction. Initial experimentation of this concept has revealed the potential for significantly quieter performance than traditional paired rotors and improved overall performance.”

    Here are some of the new vehicle’s salient features:

    • Uber says that the flying taxis will jump from building top to building top, and travel at an altitude of between 1,000 and 2,000 ft.
    • The company boasts that its flying taxi will zip through the air at up to 200 miles per hour.
    • This all-electric aircraft taxi service will offer a faster and eco-friendly way to travel in densely populated urban areas.
    • While in the air, amenities will include Wi-Fi, artificial intelligence, video calling, and wireless charging.
    • Uber plans to launch these flying cars by 2023.
    • The expected range of the flying taxi is about 60 miles per charge. But Uber expects it will require just five minutes topping up the batteries between flights.