Why Gasoline Is The Best Drone Fuel

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Drone technology is rapidly evolving to service various scenarios on land, in the air and underwater (even underground.)

Number one commercial issue remains power sources and ability to sustain activities for longer periods of time without requiring a recharge.

MIT engineers recently attempted to extend the duration of an airborne drone using an expected method…gasoline. They created the Jungle Hawk Owl, a 24 foot wide drone that can be launched from the roof of a car and can stay airborne for 5 days on a single tank of gas.

Original ask by the Airforce was a solar powered device, but it appears solar lost quickly due to need to size of surface area, weight of batteries and challenges as you moved to latitudes far from the equator.

Hybrid Air Travel By The End Of The Decade.

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Regional air travel has long been the foundation driver for the airlines, however the costs of fuel and ever increasing tax structures have led many companies to rethink the future.

Enter Zunum, a startup company (backed by Boeing Horizon X and Jetblue’s tech venture arm) which has announced an aggressive plan to develop and fly hybrid electric aircraft on regional routes by 2020. Aircrafts will be limited in terms of distance initially, targeting 700 miles, but the potential for 1,000 is real and expected to follow within the decade. Sounds like they will build multiple versions from 10 seats to 50 seats depending on route and need.

Zunum Aero Planes are designed to provide lower cost, more efficient regional based air travel that could become a viable option for commuters…understanding that rail and highways systems are only going to worsen over next 50 years.

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In terms of efficiency, electric drive systems (hybrids) hard targets including 40% minimum reduction in costs, 40 percent decrease in the overall travel time between spots on busy commuter corridors, 80% decreased emissions vs. purely gas powered regional jets and most importantly 75% drop in noise.

The Future Of Farming Is Here?

vertical-farmImagine a farm scenario that increases productivity by 130%, uses 95% less water, involves no pesticides and can be harvested 24 times per year, rain, snow or shine.

Aerofarm, a new jersey based vertical farm company has become a pioneer in this type of farming. What’s driving the explosive growth in this areas…the globe climate changes which are driving significant draught scenarios in many places where farming flourished. Aerofarm isn’t the cheapest game in town. Not yet at least. They will need to invest significantly in the latest robotics and automation capabilities to drive costs down significantly. They are facing high energy costs of running the plants, facility costs of building out the factories with optimized fixtures…all leading to a premium, yet higher quality, sales price initially.

Carnegie Mellon’s University of Computer Science is aggressively working to address the paradigm shift in how we grow food….using government grants to invest heavily in the development of sensing technology, robotics and AI technologies to improve overall crop management using data driven decision making. This is a big market opportunity with growth of agricultural robots set to increase from 32,000 units in 2016 to almost 600,000 units by 2024…creating a ~$75B market.

Implications will change how large scale suppliers invest for the future…quickly retiring old farming techniques susceptible to further climate impacts with faster, better and more scalable solutions. Orange groves, apple orchards and generally vegetables of any type will be produced at scale in a fraction of the time as traditional impacts.

Solar Skin Creates Opportunities For Autonomy.

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Here’s a pretty advanced one. Smart skin…designed for amputees to help return certain senses relative to feeling pressure, temperature and dampness. University of Glasgow has developed exactly that and is using solar power to fuel the system, providing greater independence and portability  by removing the need for a connected power source.  “Graphene” is the secret…a flexible material that can now cover covered with a flexible with durability greater than that of steel, and is electrically conductive and transparent.

The material draws and converts power from the sun’s rays sufficient enough to power to support movement of prosthetic hands. While the power is used in real time, they will eventually determine a way to store it efficiently when sunlight is available.

Thinking bigger picture here….you could create autonomous everything….from prosthetic limbs to life like pets to robotic workers in the fields based on advancements in bendable electronics and sensing technologies.

 

 

Tesla Powers Paradise

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Telsa powers paradise…has a nice ring to it, but in reality it’s a truth. Tesla has unveiled its latest solar farm in Kauai of all places, capable of generating 13MW of power collection and storing it in a 53MW with a Tesla Powerpack station. What this really means is they have built really big batteries capable of powering the island at night. For islands like Kauai and frankly for many corners of the globe, self sufficient energy sources are becoming more and more important to supporting the advancement and growth.

This is one of many renewal energy technologies under development for the island (others are wind and bio) and gives Tesla another powerful test bed for deploying its solutions in real world scenario’s

The Ultimate In Wind & Solar Sustainability Projects

It is set to be one of the world’s most ambitious sustainable building projects and its called the Dynamic Tower. Designed by David Fisher and originally set to break ground in 2010, the Dynamic Tower seeks to become the first completely sustainable residential building in Dubai. 

It will stand 1,375 feet tall with 80 individual residences and another 48 floors dedicated for wind turbines. Each residence will be able to rotate 360 degrees and will cost an estimated 30Million per unit. But just think of all you will save on your electric bills every month. The building is said generate 10x’s more power than it will need through wind and solar capture.

It’s a crazy design feat for sure and frankly we shouldn’t be surprised it’s being built in Dubai, given the insatiable appetite for pushing boundaries of architecture and design. If success, however,  the Dynamic Tower concept could unlock significant opportunities for residential design around the globe.