As clean as electric aircraft can be, there’s still one kind of pollution they still produce: noise. Even that might go away before long, though. MIT researchers have successfully flown an ionic wind-powered aircraft that doesn’t use any moving parts. The 16-foot wide machine stays aloft by charging wires with a high enough voltage (40,000V) that they strip negatively-charged electrons from air molecules, which are promptly attracted to negative electrodes at the back of the aircraft. The collisions from that newly-formed ionic wind create the thrust needed to keep the vehicle airborne.
The FAA is still trying to figure out the best way to regulate drones to ensure safety. Last week, a committee tasked with tackling the issue met for the first time, including representatives from Amazon, Ford and NYPD. One of the items discussed was a better way to identify registered drones from the ground since any ID numbers are pretty much invisible while the UAV is airborne.
Yesterday, a massive 6.1 magnitude earthquake rocked central Italy. It was followed by nearly 200 aftershocks, devastating whole towns and burying residents under rubble. Over 4,000 rescuers have been dispatched and the death toll has jumped to 247, the BBC reports.
Don’t be surprised if you see a very large, very unusual drone flying through Nevada’s skies. The state’s Institute for Autonomous Systems has given China’s EHang permission to test fly its passenger-toting 184 dronelater this year. In addition to providing basic clearance, the move will also have the Institute create criteria that shows the airworthiness of the autonomous single-seater to the Federal Aviation Administration. It’s not certain just where the 184 will fly, although it’ll sometimes need restricted airspace. EHang won’t just be flying in the empty desert, then.
It looks like a giant fire scaled dragon snaking its body across the scorched Earth. Or like the fire brick road that leads you into Mordor. Any way my imagination tries to spin it, the reality is that it looks awesome. And the reality is that it’s drone footage from Iceland of flowing lava from a volcano that exploded.
The BBC flew a drone over the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp today to show off what it looks like and it’s absolutely haunting. Over a million people died in this concentration camp from 1940 to 1945. It’s been 70 years since the Soviets liberated the camp and it’s still so tragic to see.