You’ve probably heard about the various versions of autonomous cars being tested, but you may not have known aircraft are also riding the autonomous wave. With so much of aviation already controlled by a computer, this move comes as less of a surprise than driverless cars.
The latest test involves a Jetstream aircraft known as “the Flying Testbed” fitted with onboard sensors and autonomous systems taking to the skies over the UK. ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation and Assessment), the group behind the test, has received £62 million in funding from a combination of private investors and the UK government. Continue reading
Rolls-Royce has signed up to provide its EJ200 jet engine for the Bloodhound supersonic car project, which hopes to drive a car past the 1,000 mph mark.
The jet engine will help get the vehicle to 350mph, then ignite a rocket motor that will move the car at supersonic speeds. The current land speed record is 763mph, and members of the team that set that record are involved in Bloodhound. (That vehicle, the Thrust SSC, used a Rolls Spey 202 engine.) Continue reading
Northrup Grumman has evaluated Golden Spike Company’s plans of a lunar landing pod, and determined the design is “viable.”
Golden Spike, founded by former NASA employees, plans to offer commercial moon flights to governments for $750 million a pop, using the “Pumpkin” pod, along with other technologies. Continue reading
Alien presented a future in which the exploration of space was handed over to commercial, rather than governmental, oversight. Nothing good comes of this for the crew of the Nostromo, but hopefully this isn’t another case of science fiction prophesizing for future science fact.
The U.S. has already turned over a fair amount of the responsibility for space exploration to commercial enterprises, such as SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic has entered the race with the successful launch of its test ship, the Spaceship Two (SS2). Continue reading