Lucas123 writes: The German firearms manufacturer whose.22 caliber iP1 smart pistol caused a backlash from gun advocacy groups who protested stores that planned to sell it, will introduce a 9mm semi-automatic smart pistol. Armatix LLC's new iP9 smart gun will go on sale in the U.S. in mid-2017 and differs from its predecessor in that it will not use an RFID-equipped watch to unlock the gun but instead will have a fingerprint reader that can store multiple scans like a smartphone. The iP9 is expected to retail for about the same suggested retail price as the iP1 — $1,365, which is more than twice the price of many conventional 9mm semi-automatic pistols. Several large U.S. retail stores have already met with Armatix and "not one of them" expressed any concern about the weapon's price, according to Wolfgang Tweraser, CEO of Amratix, who compared the smart guns to Tesla cars. "Always the latest technology comes with a higher price tag. As you make hundreds and thousands of units, then the price will change also," he said. The company also plans to re-introduce its iP1, but this time it will target sales to gun ranges.
Lucas123 writes: Smart gun development was once hampered by old processing technology as start-ups struggled to find funding, but innovators have found renewed life for projects through the use of today's cheap microprocessor technology and some money through at least one private entity — Smart Tech Challenges Foundation. For example, 19-year-old MIT freshman Kai Kloepfer recently won a $50K grant from the foundation to further develop a semi-automatic pistol with a fingerprint reader. Even stalwart gun manufacturers, such as O.F. Mossberg & Sons firearms, who've had efforts to create a smart guns in the past have found renewed life. Jonathan Mossberg, the great grandson of Oscar Mossberg, who founded the namesake firearms company in North Haven, Conn. in 1919, has created an offshoot company that built a smart shotgun and now plans to make a smart handguns using RFID-style chip technology. But the picture's still not completely rosy. Like other inventors who've developed smart gun technology, Mossberg found seed money difficult to come by for his iGun Technology Corp. and its iGun. Still, between his family's arms business and a machining business he later opened, Mossberg managed to invest about $5 million into developing the weapon. Now, he's tapped out and again looking for investors. But, Silicon Valley may be sheepish to get involved and continued efforts by some lawmakers to force citizens to buy smart guns once they're on shelves have backfired and lead gun owners and lobbying groups to fight any uptake of the technology in the market. Smart gun developers such as Mossberg and Kloepfer are none to happy about mandates and say it's time to get rid of any threat to create them and allow the free market to determine if the technology sinks or swims.
Lucas123 writes: A class-action lawsuit against Ford and its MyFord Touch in-vehicle infotainment system — originally based on a Microsoft platform — has brought to light corporate documents that show engineers at the Dearborn carmaker referred to the problematic technology as a "polished turd" that they feared would be "unsaleable." The documents even reveal Henry Ford's great grandson experienced significant problems with MyFord Touch. In one incident, Edsel Ford was forced to wait on a roadside for the system to reset and could not continue to drive because he was unable to use the IVI's navigation system. The lawsuit describes an IVI screen that would freeze or go blank; generate error messages that wouldn't go away; voice recognition and navigation systems that failed to work, problems wirelessly pairing with smartphones, and a generally slow system. Ford's CEO Mark Fields even described his own travails with the SYNC IVI, referring to it as having crashed on several occasions, and that he was so frustrated with the system he may have damaged his car's screen out of aggravation. The civil suit is expected to go to trial in 2017.
Lucas123 writes: Health insurer Aetna said it plans to give employees 50,000 free Apple Watches and subsidize the cost of the mobile device for a select number of its largest customers in an effort to bolster its analytics-based mobile wellness and healthcare management programs. Aetna is working with Apple on several iOS-exclusive health initiatives, starting with integrated health apps for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch devices that will help users to better "manage their health and increase healthy outcomes."
Lucas123 writes: By 2021, telematics and in-vehicle-infotainment systems will create up to 98% of all data traffic on mobile-to-mobile networks, according to a new study. The study, by U.K.-based Juniper Research, claims that data-intensive applications such as Internet radio, music streaming apps and information services will generate approximately 6,000 petabytes of data annually by 2021 — the equivalent of more than 300 billion hours of music streaming. Along with entertainment services, in-vehicle 4G Wireless SIM Cards will provide "over-the-air" (OTA) vehicle software updates, as well as subscription updates for drivers and passengers. And, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology, which will assist autonomous cars in navigating through traffic, will also add to the data deluge over mobile networks.
Lucas123 writes: Start-up Nikola Motor Co. announced it has received 7,000 orders representing $2.3B in potential sales for a hybrid semi-truck that will sport 2,000hp, a gross weight of 80,000 pounds and will have more than a 1,200-mile range. The tractor-trailer dubbed the Nikola One will be revealed on Dec. 2 at the company's headquarters in Salt Lake City. The semi-trailer will have a 320 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack, along with a 150-gallon fuel-agnostic turbine, which can be configured to run on various kinds of fuel, including diesel or petroleum. The standard model will have a natural gas tank. The Nikola One will also have regenerative braking technology, an energy recovery mechanism that will slow the vehicle by converting kinetic energy into a form that can be stored until needed. Nikola claims the semi-trailer will cost half as much to operate as traditional diesel trucks. Link to Original Source
Lucas123 writes: Renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydroelectric, will overtake natural gas as an energy source by 2027; Ten years later, those same renewables will surpassed the largest electricity-generating fossil fuel: coal, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar and wind will account for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested in energy over the next 25 years, according to Bloomberg's New Energy Outlook 2016 report. One conclusion that may surprise, Bloomberg noted, is that the forecast shows no golden age for natural gas, except in North America. As a global generation source, gas will be overtaken by renewables in 2027. The electric vehicle boom will increase electricity demand by 2,701TWh (terawatt hours), or 8% of global electricity demand in 2040. The rise of EVs will drive down the cost of lithium-ion batteries, making them increasingly attractive to be deployed alongside residential and commercial solar systems.
Lucas123 writes: Coming out of stealth mode this week, the Nikola Motor Co. announced it will begin offering a hybrid semitrailer with 2,000hp, capable of pulling a gross weight of 80,000 pounds and that will have more than a 1,200-mile range between stops. The semi will run on natural gas and a 320kWh lithium-ion battery pack that will recharge via the truck's turbine. The company also announced an all-electric utility vehicle (UTV), the Nikola Zero, with 520hp that will have a 125-mile range. The UTV will retail for $42K and the semi will cost $375K, almost twice that of a typical long-haul rig. Nikola Motor claims, however, the semitrailer will cost half as much to operate as traditional diesel trucks. The company is also offering 100,000 gallons of free natural gas with the truck, enough for a million work miles. "This offsets the entire cost of the truck allowing for a return on the investment in first month," a company spokesperson said.
Lucas123 writes: The cost rooftop solar systems has dropped by more than half over the past decade, from price of a luxury car to an economy compact. While leases and power purchase agreements spurred early adoption of distributed rooftop solar, as the overall cost of ownership has plummeted, they may no longer be the best option. Consumers are taking notice and are beginning to shift away from third party ownership of their solar systems. Last year, 72% of residential solar systems in the U.S. were owned by a third party, such as SolarCity, Vivant Solar and Sunrun, but by 2020 direct ownership of rooftop solar systems will surpass third-party ownership in the U.S. residential solar market.
Lucas123 writes: A report commissioned by the White House and involving the Defense, Justice and Homeland Security Departments has begun a process to define, for the first time, the requirements that manufacturers would need to meet for federal, state, and municipal law enforcement agencies to consider purchasing firearms with "smart" safety technology. They've committed to completing that process by October, and will also identify agencies interested in taking part in a pilot program to develop the smart gun technology. The DOD will help manufacturers test smart guns under "real-world conditions" at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. Manufacturers would be eligible to win cash prizes through that program as well. In addition to spurring the adoption of smart gun technology, the report stated that the Social Security Administration has published a proposed rule that would require individuals prohibited from buying a gun due to mental health issues to be included in a background check system.
Lucas123 writes: A new study by international certification body DNV GL has found that the resiliency of photovoltaic modules can vary widely among manufacturers with some panels dropping below acceptable standards of efficiency when subjected to environmental tests. The number of photovoltaic module manufacturers taking part in the research varied from 17 to 22, depending on which of five tests administered to the panels that participated in. The study found that solar module efficiency could drop by up to 58.8% depending on the manufacturer and the test. However, "many PV modules performed well across all tests," according to the report. For example, eight manufacturers' products degraded less than 3% in solar conversion efficiency after undergoing a thermal cycling test four times. Somewhat surprisingly, where the panels were manufactured had little to do with their quality. From 55% to 60% of the top performing modules were manufactured in China, according to the study. "This demonstrates that manufacturing location is not a good proxy for reliability," the study stated.
Lucas123 writes: A federal study has revealed that if solar panels were installed on all suitable rooftops throughout the U.S., it could generate 39% of the country's energy needs. Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) spent three years studying 128 cities and found 83% of small buildings have a suitable location for PV installation, but only 26% of the total rooftop area on those buildings is suitable for development. The researchers then extrapolated the findings to the entire continental U.S. Even using just 26% of the total rooftop area, the potential for power generation is enormous. The total national potential of rooftop solar power is 1,118 gigawatts (billion watts or GW) of installed capacity and 1,432 terawatt-hours (trillion watt hours or TWh) of annual energy generation.
Lucas123 writes: The DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a wireless charging system for vehicles that can provide a 60% charge to a Chevy Volt with a 10kWh battery in 18 minutes and a Nissan Leaf with a 20kWh battery in 36 minutes. The research is the first step in creating a 50KW, that would more than cut stationary charging time in half, and then a 100KW wireless charging system that could allow roadways to power vehicles while they are being driven. With ORNL's current 20kW charging system, about 37.5% of each one mile road segment (assuming 50 mph constant speed) would have to emit wireless power in order to drive your electric vehicle in a charge-sustaining mode. With a 100kW charging system, however, only 7.5% of a one mile road segment would need to emit power in order to sustain an EV's battery charge, the researchers said.
Lucas123 writes: Power engineering researchers at MIT have discovered that by arranging photovoltaic arrays in a zig-zag pattern on towers or into cubical designs can increase energy collection from two to 20 times. MIT's research, the findings for which are based on both computer modeling and outdoor testing of real modules, were published in the journal" Energy and Environmental Science. While the cost of the so called "3D solar towers" or cubes exceeds that of ordinary flats solar panels, the expense is partially balanced by a much higher energy output for a given footprint, as well as much more uniform power output over the course of a day and over the seasons when panels face less light and more cloud cover, the researchers stated.
Lucas123 writes: An MIT study based on mathematical modeling demonstrated a likely scenario in which high-tech vehicles using sensors to remain at a safe distance from each other as they move through a four-way intersection can eliminate the need for traffic lights in the future. By removing the waits caused by traffic lights, these so-called Slot-based Intersections speed up traffic flow.The study claims this kind of traffic-light-free transportation design, if it ever arrives, could allow twice as much traffic to use existing roads.