For the technological world’s forward-thinkers, “fast and furious” is a mantra to live by. Take it from China’s brand new railway, hightailing at 350 km per hour, and America’s first bullet train. While both have graced earthly grounds with their impeccable speed, Boeing is taking it to the skies. Valkyrie II is a groundbreaking hypersonic aircraft that can circle the globe in just 1 – 3 hours, aimed for launch in 10 – 20 years.
“This particular concept is for a military application that would be targeted for an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, and strike capabilities.” … said Kevin Bowcutt, Senior Technical Fellow of hypersonics.
The strike jet uses shockwaves to increase lift and run quicker than pretty much any moving object on the planet. To put things into perspective, Valkyrie II is 2.5 times the speed of an actual bullet.
“It’s more than twice as fast as the Concorde. So basically you can get anywhere in the world in one hour across the Atlantic, two hours across the Pacific – pretty much anywhere between two points in one-to-three hours.”
Sure, the airliner won’t launch commercially, but there’s no harm in hoping it will. I wouldn’t mind jetting off to Guam for a weekend.
When it comes to vehicles of the future, it seems the possibilities are limitless. Planes, in particular, have broken boundaries — running on electric or on no motor at all. Many advancements are still under wraps, or completely theoretical, save for Qantas’ latest shocking achievement. The airliner successfully piloted a trans-Pacific flight on 10% eco-fuel derived from mustard seeds.
The biofuel is reportedly capable of reducing carbon emissions by over 80 percent as compared to regular jet fuel. This means that the blended fuel used in… [the] flight should have resulted in a 7 percent reduction, which works out to 18,000 kg (39,683 lb) in reduced carbon emissions.
The Carinata mustard plant makes a perfect contender as the world’s leading aviation biofuel. Able to thrive under unsuitable conditions, the little-seed-that-could also improves soil quality and prevents erosion.
“Our work with Agrisoma will enable Australian farmers to start growing today for the country’s biofuel needs of the future,” says Qantas International CEO, Alison Webster.
Qantas’ ultimate goal is to maintain a near million acres of Carinata and produce 200 million liters of biofuel annually. If you’ve ever doubted the impact of agriculture, you may now consider switching gears.
At the rate technology is advancing, we can teach machines to do almost anything. From programming drones to plant trees to manufacturing a robot that can detect water pollution, gadgets have become more capable than ever. But can we train a device to rely entirely on nature? Microsoft is teaching this motor-less plane to fly just like a bird.
The researchers have found that through a complex set of AI algorithms, they can get their 16 1/2-foot, 12 1/2-pound aircraft to soar much like a hawk would, by identifying things like air temperature and wind direction to locate thermals — invisible columns of air that rise due to heat.
The plane is one of the only AI systems to act based on predictions it makes. In a nutshell, it is is akin to a simple thinking being.
“Birds do this seamlessly, and all they’re doing is harnessing nature. And they do it with a peanut-sized brain,”
If successful, the planes could be implemented in farming and providing internet connections to remote areas. If cars can drive themselves, planes can follow in their tread marks.
Some people take crazy risks for the greater good. Hikers rescued a dog and her human after four days in the mountains. A pregnant doctor delivered another woman’s baby in the middle of her own birthing. This Boeing pilot did not only conduct a safety endurance test for the 787 aircraft — he did so in the shape of the plane itself.
Boeing’s aircraft took off from Seattle on Wednesday afternoon, flying around 2,000 miles to northern Michigan to begin its aerial artwork, starting at the plane’s wing tip.
Seems like the team responsible were skilled not only in engineering the flight, but artistically as well.
“The nose of the Dreamliner is pointing at the Puget Sound region, home to Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The wings stretch from northern Michigan near the Canadian border to southern Texas. The tail touches Huntsville, Alabama.”
Though not all netizens were impressed by the 18-hour-long stunt, it’s good to know that Boeing is serious about engine safety.