Flying and ground technological innovations

(ORDO NEWS) — Popular Mechanics constantly monitors the latest developments in robotics and transport.

Today we invite you to get acquainted with proven startups: smart motorcycles, durable rockets and drones that are hard to distinguish from birds. Maybe you will like something, and in a couple of years you will be driving to work in a flying capsule car.

Smart electric bike – coming soon

Since its founding in 2018, the British startup Arc has managed to get funding and quarrel with investors, but has not completed work on the Vector – “the most advanced electric bike in the world.”

And it’s not even about its driving performance: these characteristics promise at a fairly moderate level (speed up to 200 km / h, acceleration up to 100 km / h in 3.2 s). The most interesting thing is the equipment: a smart helmet with a rear-view camera, information output to the glass and voice control, and a protective jacket with built-in tactile communication.

The system is still being developed, but in order to keep the public interested, the bike itself was recently shown at Arc. It can be seen that most of the body is occupied by a carbon fiber monocoque with a battery, which is why the engine was shifted back.

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Drone with bird “paws”

Birds perch on branches with such dexterity that it doesn’t seem like the hardest thing to do. However, all branches have different thickness and shape, differently oriented relative to the ground and the approaching bird.

A secure fit requires a versatile, simple and quick grip that can be held securely in place. In order not to reinvent what has already been created by nature, engineers from the University of Groningen designed a mechanism that imitates the paws of a peregrine falcon: 3D-printed plastic parts instead of bones, motors and cables instead of muscles and ligaments.

The SNAG system closes the grip in just 20ms, and as soon as the accelerometer on the “leg” registers a stop, the “knees” are locked, transferring control to the balancing algorithms. The device has already been tested: the new drone has learned not only to land on supports of different sizes and materials.

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Legs-wheels of a universal robot

Walking and wheeled at the same time, Anymal can take advantage of both modes of movement. Rustling with tires, it can quickly rush along a flat road, gaining speed up to 22 km / h. And on rough terrain or to overcome obstacles, the rims are fixed in place, turning into fixed footholds.

The robot is even able to rise on two “legs” to get over a high barrier, or fall on all four, crawling under it. at the same time, they will be faster and more economical than four-legged robotic dogs.

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Strongest Rocket

The head of the space startup Rocket Lab, Peter Beck, spoke about plans to develop a reusable Neutron medium-weight carrier. “This is what a rocket should look like in 2050, ” Beck said. “ But we are building it today.”

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Apparently, “so” is with a durable carbon fiber body. Its downwardly flared profile creates additional drag on atmospheric reentry, reducing braking fuel consumption. At the first stage of the launch vehicle, Rocket Lab is going to install seven Archimedes methane-oxygen engines of its own design.

It is expected that the stage can be used up to 10 times. But the second one will be disposable and as light as possible: only one Archimedes engine and fuel tanks, on top of which it is planned to mount the payload.

At the right height, the first stage will open its “petals”, releasing the second one into flight to bring the spacecraft to the target orbits, and then return to Earth itself. The time required to prepare Neutron for the next flight should not exceed 24 hours. Therefore, landing will be made at the same site.

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Polar explorer on wheels

The central regions of Antarctica are so severe that even simple meteorological observations here cannot always be carried out outside permanent stations or carefully prepared sites.

With neither one nor the other, the leaders of the Netherlands Polar Program turned to developers from the Technical University of Eindhoven for help, and a team of university students set about creating a robotic platform capable of working on an icy continent.

The first Antarctic Rover prototype is expected to appear as early as 2022 and will be tested on a planned expedition to the South Pole. In the meantime, the creators of the robot have to solve serious problems associated with its operation in extreme cold – primarily the issue of powering the machine.

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The lightest bike

Brompton’s super-popular folding bike lineup has been expanded with the latest T Line. It uses a titanium frame, and some parts are made of carbon fiber, so the bike weighs only 7.45 kg.

Working with titanium took Brompton more than three years and required the involvement of the experts of CW Fletcher, together with which the production of innovative frames was launched in Sheffield, UK. The folding mechanism has also been updated, so that when stored, the T Line takes up very little space – only 645 x 585 x 270 mm.

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Hydrogen buggy

Japan is moving more actively than many countries to abandon fossil fuels and switch to hydrogen. So the new off-road concept from Lexus is future-oriented, using a hydrogen engine – the first developed by this company.

This is not the usual electric motor with fuel cells for such systems, but a real internal combustion engine, into the chamber of which gas is injected mixed with air. The hydrogen fuel itself is stored in a pressure tank located under the passenger seats.

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Capsule transport

The Italian Pierpaolo Lazzarini can be called a living classic of industrial design. His projects of cars, floating and flying vehicles are very original, and the new Stratosfera is no exception.

The universal durable capsule is designed to carry two passengers, and the mode of movement is determined by the systems that are installed on it according to a modular principle. By mounting the propellers, you can get an air taxi, adding wheels – a car, and a jet engine with a hydrofoil will give a speed boat.

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