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Larry Page’s pilotless flying car unveiled

Larry Page's pilotless flying car unveiled 90

Google founder Larry Page has unveiled incredible footage of his flying taxi, Cora.

Cora will take take to the skies in 2021 and act as an ‘Uber for the skies’, according to Kitty Hawk, the company behind the electric vertical take off and landing vehicle.

Built with funding from Page, the craft is designed to use self-flying software, which controls its 12 fans to provide lift-off and forward thrust – without the need for a runway.

Once airborne, a single rear propeller pushes Cora through the air at speeds of up to 110 mph (180 kph) at altitudes between 500 and 3,000 feet (150 and 910 metres).

New Zealand’s government is officially announcing an agreement to test the vehicles, revealed for the first time in stunning footage, in the country.

Larry Page's pilotless flying car unveiled 91
Flying taxis built will take to the skies in 2021, according to the company behind the Cora all-electric vertical take off and landing vehicle

Cora was created by Kitty Hawk, run by former Google X head Sebastian Thrun and named after the town in North Carolina where the Wright brothers completed their first controlled flight.

The firm hopes to use New Zealand as its base of operations for testing out the next generation of vehicles to push the envelope of aviation technology.

In a statement accompanying the launch video, the company appeared to take a swipe at regulations in the US, which have prevented the vehicle being tested there.

‘A path to certifying an air taxi for everyday use just didn’t exist. We had our aircraft. We had our moment. But there was no place in the world where Cora could take the next step. We had no Kitty Hawk of our own,’ the statement read.

‘America in the early 20th century of the Wright Brothers was a hotbed of invention and discovery. We needed a place that was just as bold and dynamic in order to bring Cora to the commercial market.’

Kitty Hawk shipped its first air taxi to New Zealand in October 2017, where initial tests began shortly after. Talks have reportedly been ongoing with the government for the past 18 months.

The project is being run by Zephyr Airworks, formerly known as Zee.Aero, one of two firms funded by Page to develop flying cars.

Users will one day be able to use an app being designed by the company to let hail a Cora, in a similar manner to an Uber.

Larry Page's pilotless flying car unveiled 92
Built with funding from Google’s co-founder Larry Page, the craft is designed to use self-flying software, which controls its 12 fans to provide lift-off and forward thrust – without the need for a runway

Cora has a range of around 62 miles (100 km) and is designed to accommodate two passengers. It has a wing span of 36 feet (11 m).

Cora has three flight computers that operate independently, meaning it can continue to navigate if one of them fails. The vehicle also has a parachute for emergency landing if disaster strikes.

Speaking about approaching the New Zealand government Zephyr CEO, Fred Reid, said: ‘We had no idea what to expect. They could have laughed us out of the room.

‘We were pitching something that sounded like science fiction.’

Dr Peter Crabtree, of New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), added: ‘In New Zealand, we know we can’t keep using the same old approaches to meet our future challenges.

‘We saw Cora’s potential as a sustainable, efficient and transformative technology that can enrich people’s lives, not only in New Zealand, but ultimately the whole world.’

News of Page’s ambitions for building a flying car first emerged in 2016, after reports he had personally provided £70 million ($100 million) to two startups developing the technology.

He had been funding Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk, formerly rival companies based in California’s Silicon Valley.

Zee.Aero was set up in 2010, working on a small, all-electric plane that could take off and land vertically – essentially a flying car.

While there was much speculation that the company was affiliated to Google, as their headquarters were next door, Zee.Aero fiercely denied the claims.

However, it has since been revealed that Zee.Aero does not belong to Google or its holding company, Alphabet. Instead, it belongs to directly to Page.

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The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear?

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 95

Various sources often talk about civilizations that lived long before us. They all developed, prospered for a while, and then disappeared in an incomprehensible way. 

What is the reason for their decline, we probably will not know. All we can do is admire the remains of stone buildings, over which time has almost no power.

While looking for an answer, we somehow accidentally stumbled upon an interesting saying about the life of Japanese samurai: “A samurai has no goal, but a path.” In the end, the “path of the samurai” ended in what is known – death. The path of any civilization ended in the same way.

If you look at the issue through the prism of a samurai saying, then there is no point in looking for why and how civilization ended its existence. Probably, the process itself and its result are important here. But to whom is it important and what result does it expect?

Mysterious director

Apparently, behind the curtains of this “ancient theater” there is a mysterious “director” who periodically makes necessary adjustments to the history of civilization.

To figure out what’s what, you need to look at current trends in science. Where does a person strive with such an irresistible desire to “play God.” This attracts him and at the same time frightens him, but in no way turns him away from the intended path. Most likely, artificial intelligence (AI) is the purpose of our civilization’s existence.

About 50 years ago it would have seemed nonsense, but to someone, perhaps even now. However, if you trace the last 100 years of the life of our civilization, you get the feeling that most of the discoveries were given to mankind at the same time. A powerful leap has taken place in a hundred years. Why did it happen?

At the beginning of the last century, scientists recognized the existence of fields that have memory and the ability to store and transmit information. It is very likely that such or a similar field can be around the Earth and, more interesting, possess intelligence. Isn’t this the same “Director” hiding behind the screen of the “ancient theater”?

If this is so, then at a certain moment the “Director” gives the selected scientist “access” to certain knowledge (perhaps even in a dream, like Mendeleev), and another scientific breakthrough occurs in the world. Step by step, discovery after discovery, humanity is steadily moving towards the creation of AI. The trend is already well visible.

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 96

AI is probably the next “Babylon”, which will combine all the knowledge, culture and accumulated experience of civilization. In the future, the neural network will enter into a connection with the general information field and leave humanity without knowledge, technology, and even a spoken language. This will be the next decline of civilization. And the “Director” will receive another array of new data (experience) in order to start creating a new civilization.

If someone believes that past civilizations ended in large-scale conflicts, then most likely this is already the consequences of “turning off” AI.

Co-founder of Skype talked about the threat of AI to humanity

One of the creators of the Skype internet call service, Jaan Ta

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 97
Photo: 
© still from the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

llinn, said that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) threatens humanity. According to him, humans face three key threats, but it is AI that should be feared most of all, the expert said. 

Tallinn explained that at the moment, no one can predict what development AI will achieve in the next decades. In addition, the fact that scientists are creating artificial intelligence that can form a new AI without human intervention is also a cause for concern.

In addition, as the co-founder of the popular video calling service noted, the development of synthetic biology also causes concern. According to him, this direction in science allows the creation of artificial DNA sequences and biological systems that may not exist in nature.

Tallinn also drew attention to the fact that he fears we are entering an era of “unknown unknowns”, things that people are not even able to imagine right now.

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Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented

Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented 98
Copyright: © VW

The renowned German car manufacturer announced a new development. This time, engineers have created a unique robot capable of autonomously charging electric vehicles. 

For more than a year, specialists have been developing this project, but only now the concern was ready to demonstrate the first working prototype. The robot is ready to charge electric vehicles and has shown the high efficiency of this process.

It is called the Mobile Charging Robot, and experts have already compared it to the R2-D2 droid from Star Wars, including squeaks and clangs. Indeed, there is a similarity. Before implementing this idea, the engineers decided that robots should be allowed to charge cars parked in large residential complexes.

This will save their owners from leaving in order to find a gas station. Another advantage is that large parking lots and garages do not have to contain several expensive charging points for electric cars. The car company said in a press release that the robot works exclusively autonomously.

It independently controls and interacts with the vehicle being charged. It opens the cover of the charging socket and independently connects the power plug, then disconnects it. The robot looks like a trailer, which is a mobile energy storage.

It is capable of charging multiple electric vehicles at the same time. Despite the fact that the manufacturer confidently praises its concept, experts saw inefficiency in the fact that first it is necessary to charge the robot’s battery, which is then used to recharge electric cars.

Volkswagen Group Components CEO Thomas Schmall noted that creating an efficient charging infrastructure for the cars of the future is an important step in the company’s development.

Its engineers focus on finding solutions to avoid costly do-it-yourself measures. The mobile robot is only part of the concept that will continue to be developed.

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This video will forever change the way you think about time

This video will forever change the way you think about time 99

Business Insider, one of the world’s leading news portals, made a three-minute video that depicted the Earth’s timeline as a journey from Los Angeles to New York.

So, the beginning of the journey is 4.54 billion years ago, when the Earth was formed from the accumulation of gases and stardust. After some time, a significant event occurs – a giant space body crashes into the still not cooled Earth, as a result of which the breakaway part becomes its satellite – the Moon.

Further, the route runs through the mountains of Arizona, formed about 3.95 billion years ago. A few more kilometers to the east and we are at the 3.8 billion year mark. This is where the first evidence of life in the form of replicating molecules appears.

The next “stop” Kansas – 2.7 billion years ago. Cyanobacteria that produce oxygen appeared on Earth. It took the next 200 million years for the atmosphere of our planet to accumulate sufficient reserves of this most important gas.

Halfway through, we reach Pennsylvania. We are separated from it “only” by 660 million years. Life is developing rapidly: the Earth is covered with vegetation, amphibians are evolving. Unusual time travel is coming to an end – to the point “Now”. By the time the dinosaurs become extinct, we finally reach the outskirts of New York.

And where is the most important thing – people? To find out, you need to carve out three minutes and watch the entire video.

Source: Business Insider

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