Porsche to Develop Passenger Drone

Porsche to Develop Passenger Drone, German Report Claims

While Porsche AG hasn’t officially confirmed its plans to join the passenger drone industry, the company’s sales director thinks it’d make sense.

An exclusive report by German automotive news site Automobilwoche claimed on Saturday that Porsche is so eager to join the passenger drone industry that the car company would soon be ready to present some concept art. On Friday, we reported that the CEO of Boeing—the largest industrial company in the United States—was highly confident that flying taxis would take off within a decade. The biggest German, high-performance sports car company entering this nascent industry only serves as strong support for that theory. Essentially, this news—if true—would mean more competition, investment, and innovation in the field. Porsche joining in would certainly ramp up the pace and serve to make passenger drones a reality sooner rather than later.
While Porsche AG has confirmed it is working on an “Airtaxi,” as the German report puts it, the company’s sales director Detlev von Platen wouldn’t be shocked if the automobile manufacturer was working on a drone. “It does make sense,” von Platen said. “When I’m driving from Zuffenhausen to the Stuttgart Airport, I need at least half an hour, when I’m lucky. With the aircraft it’d be three and a half minutes,” he posited.
While this is currently all we know about Porsche’s plans on joining the passenger drone business, this is a business move with some foresight and makes sense from an outside perspective. The drone industry has increased dramatically in the past few years, with passenger drone companies having new competition every other week, it seems. The idea of taking a flying taxi to the airport is certainly already popular, but the recent growth in manufacturing and development actually makes it seem within reach.

With companies like Ehang, Airbus, Boeing, Uber, and a wide variety of other giant tech and aircraft companies innovating and competing, we’re hoping everyone learns from each other, and a refined, safe, environmentally friendly passenger drone is eventually birthed into the world. Perhaps Boeing’s CEO was right, and we’ll be taking a drone to the airport when we’re in a rush sometime before 2028. Stay tuned.

source : https://tinyurl.com/yd67yn

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TSA is testing explosive-detection technology with Amtrak

The Transportation Security Administration and Amtrak are testing new technology to detect concealed explosives,

the TSA said Tuesday.
The equipment, known as “stand off explosive detection technology” can detect an explosive when an individual passes by the device, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a news release. An alarm would go off on the equipment operator’s laptop, triggered by an individual’s “naturally occurring emissions from the human body.”
The tests will be conducted at New York’s Pennsylvania Station in the Amtrak terminal.

TSA is testing explosive-detection technology with Amtrak from CNBC.

Getty Images
An Amtrak Police officer works with the new devices designed to detect explosives at New York City’s Penn Station on February 27, 2018 in New York City.
Protecting so-called soft targets like railway stations has been a challenge for security officials, who are tasked with ensuring safety but need to balance that with ensuring the smooth movement of hundreds of thousands of travelers.

The TSA’s administrator, David Pekoske, said in November that airport-like security, in which passengers have to line up for personal and carry-on bag screening, was not necessary at rail stations.
“We don’t intend to roll out anything like what we have in the airports,” Pekoske said, adding that random passenger checks and police with canines among other measures are sufficient. “We are satisfied at his point.”
However, in December, a man was injured by a pipe bomb he had attached to his torso with Velcro in a blast that went off at a 42nd Street subway station in Manhattan.
The technology aims to help officials detect concealed suicide vests or other improvised explosives, the TSA said, which is better known for its passenger screening at U.S. airports.
“The use of these devices enables a rail or transit agency to help safeguard against terrorist threats in the mass transit environment,” the TSA said. “TSA is supplying two models of the equipment for the purposes of the pilot.”
The TSA last year started testing the equipment in the Los Angeles transit system.

source : https://tinyurl.com/y9cz8xrd



AI Guest Imagining a future where AR, VR, and chatbots converge

Few emerging technologies generate as much buzz as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR),

and chatbots. Even so, it seems like these new technologies explode onto the public radar, then vanish as quickly as they arrive. Behind the scenes, though, companies and researchers are making ongoing breakthroughs in all three of these areas. And when AR and VR combine with AI-powered chatbots, magic happens.

A brief history of AR and VR

Augmented reality has been around for a few years, notably in games such as Pokémon Go. It didn’t really grab the public’s attention on a large scale until the last generation of iPhones was released, though. The iPhone 8, iPhone 8+, and iPhone X were all billed as having special chips designed to make AR a better experience. A few apps were showcased, a few hit the App Store, and it’s been mostly crickets since.

Virtual reality has been a science fiction staple for decades, with its origins traceable as far back as the 1950s. In recent years, it’s become a reality, with headsets available at major electronics stores. VR in the mainstream seemed to peak with Facebook’s purchase of Oculus and the release of Samsung’s Gear VR, but there are some exciting new headsets coming soon.

Chatbots are getting smarter

Virtual assistants are gaining in popularity as more businesses adopt them, especially in voice communication. Amazon, for example, opened up its voice-based chatbot tools to developers. Called Amazon Lex, these tools are part of the intense competition between Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft to gain a lead in the voice assistant space.

These accelerating technologies could help chatbots move beyond text-only functions to voice communication. Businesses could then more easily provide an automated phone system that can answer questions without needing to involve human representatives. This could be a more natural and convenient way to communicate with bots than typing in a chat interface.

When they come together…

Companies are realizing that these technologies are complementary. Facebook, in particular, is in a unique position to capitalize on the convergence of AR, VR, and chatbots. The company’s Messenger chatbot platform boasts over one billion users. Meanwhile, Facebook also owns Oculus, one of the biggest names in VR. As mentioned above, the Oculus headsets were some of the first to enter the public consciousness.

With these two platforms operating under the same roof, there’s a ton of potential for unique solutions. And since the Facebook Messenger chatbot platform is open to third parties, almost any company could get in on the action.

…Big things happen

Chatbots, AR, and VR have potential outside the traditional business setting. Airports around the world already use chatbots to provide customer service to passengers. Airports have also employed VR since 2011, starting with Copenhagen Airport’s smartphone app. It wouldn’t be a stretch for the two technologies to merge and enhance every traveler’s experience.

A mix of AR and chatbots has a lot of possibility in the retail space as well, especially if something like Google Glass ever takes off. Someone could walk into a store and have a digital overlay automatically pop up with a chatbot on hand to assist them. This could work with a smartphone, but the need to pull the phone out constantly is inconvenient. This inconvenience is part of the reason augmented reality never took off in airports. Wearable technology could help solve this problem.

Virtual reality and chatbots could also come together in the travel industry to provide interactive travel agency services. Customers could browse vacation destinations and hotels by visiting them through VR, with a chatbot available to answer questions and book trips. The same could happen with AR to a lesser degree.

Potential privacy concerns

These technologies involve the collection and use of data. Chatbots need to understand typing and speech patterns, AR requires location awareness, and VR could involve any of these factors. VR could also bring in fine levels of detail, like what an individual looks at during the experience. What will companies do with all this data? Will they violate user privacy in these situations?

It’s not so much a question of whether these concerns are valid — companies already collect a lot of data on users for targeted advertising. The question is how seriously these businesses will take privacy concerns.

While AR, VR, and chatbots are exciting technologies on their own, the possibilities opened up by merging them are really worth looking forward to. It’s still a little early to tell how they’ll work together, but this is definitely a space to watch over the next few years.

RaShea Drake is a digital journalist who writes for Glassdoor, Socialnomics, and Business2Community.

source : https://tinyurl.com/ycqq5ev5



Air travel technology predictions for 2018

The pace of technological change is accelerating.

Over the last few years the travel experience has become more efficient thanks to new technologies such as mobile internet, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big-data, internet of things and biometrics. But we are only scratching the surface of their potential. Many more benefits are yet to be realized. In 2018 I predict that the following new technologies will continue to transform the passenger journey…

1. Biometric technology

A seamless and convenient experience through the airport terminal could soon be a reality thanks to biometric technology. IATA’s One ID project is rapidly moving travel towards a day when face, iris, or fingerprint recognition will provide the key to a seamless travel experience.
One ID works by creating a match between a unique biometric characteristic, a passenger’s passport and their flight booking. Once the match has been made passengers can then then proceed through the terminal checkpoints from the curb to the plane without having to show travel documents.
Although a number of African countries and airports are adopting biometric technology to capture passenger data for border control, ultimately we see the technology also being adopted to enhance passengers’ air travel experience. Further afield, Dubai Airport is pioneering the use of One ID facial recognition technology to improve passenger traffic flows through its terminals.

2. Airline New Distribution Capability (NDC) and ONE order

IATA’s New Distribution Capability will address a major challenge for air travelers, which is the gap between how an airline displays its products and services on its own website, versus what it can do in the systems used by most travel agents and online travel sites.
On their websites, airlines can display rich content, including product descriptions and graphics such as photos or videos. That’s because airline websites are powered by internet language (XML). But the systems distributing airline tickets through travel agents and online travel sites are largely based on pre-internet technology dating back to the 1970s. These are not capable of easily supporting the rich content that you find on websites.
NDC is closing this gap between airline websites and travel agent systems through the development of a modern, XML-based (internet language) data transmission standard for communications between airlines and travel agents. Consumers will benefit from greater transparency into an airline’s offerings and the ability to compare offerings between airlines, as well as to personalize their purchase to meet their particular travel, needs regardless of shopping channel.
ONE Order builds on the data communications advances made possible by the implementation of the New Distribution Capability. It will result in the gradual disappearance of multiple reservation records associated with a ticket, as well as the e-ticket itself, and any other documents for optional services you

may have purchased (a premium seat, lounge access, etc.)
This will be replaced by a single reference order, just like you get when you order a product (or multiple products) from an online retailer. As a result, travelers will no longer need to juggle between different reference numbers and documents when they travel. With a single reference number they will be easily recognized by all service providers.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already being embraced by industry to improve the passenger experience. Today 14% of airlines and 9% of airports use Chatbot’s with AI technology to communicate effectively with passengers. AI allows simple queries to be handled swiftly, freeing up customer service professionals to tackle more difficult issues effectively. And this is set to continue. Beyond Chatbots, AI technology has the potential to revolutionize the travel experience. Imagine having access to a 24-hour personal travel assistant who is able to predict your travel choices, knows your preferences and can create a personal experience for you. AI travel assistants are the future.

4. Blockchain

Few technological innovations have received as much interest in the past few years as Blockchain. Although this ingenious secure payment mechanism came to prominence through the recent trading surge in cryptocurrencies, it is unquestionably an invention with immense potential for widespread application and one that IATA believes offers benefits for passengers and airlines.
Few people realize that from the moment you search online for an air ticket to the time you arrive at your destination, the airline is just one of around 26 business partners involved in the aviation chain. Each member of that chain takes a profit margin. Blockchain payments are faster and more efficient, thus reducing costs for all the partners in the value chain. IATA has therefore begun looking at how a Blockchain payments system could work.
Apart from reducing the costs, which could benefit passengers other advantages include greater transaction speed, resilience, and protection from fraud, since the parties involved in the transaction are no longer relying on a single third party as an intermediary.

5. Remote sensing technology

Turbulence is the largest cause of injuries to passengers and crew. And for nervous passengers it’s a nightmare. Today, pilots use multiple sources of information to manage turbulence inflight, from weather radar and charts to information from other pilots and air traffic controllers. To reduce the risk of turbulence-related injuries, IATA is developing a turbulence sharing information platform containing real-time, aircraft-sensed turbulence reports in close collaboration with multiple global airlines and industry stakeholders.
Beyond that, aircraft manufacturers are exploring the use of new remote sensing technology to make turbulence avoidance even better. The new technology emits pulses of laser light from the plane’s nose, scattering small particles. Observing the reflected light in segments, the pulse provides measurement of the wind speed at increments all along the direction of the laser allowing turbulence to be avoided.


There can be no doubt that these new technologies will transform the passenger experience. But what can’t be guaranteed is the pace of change. Government regulation, resistance to change and cyber security challenges are issues that threaten the speed of development. But what we can be sure of, as we hover on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, is that the passenger journey of the future will look very different from today.
*Muhammad Al Bakri is International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s regional vice-president for Africa and the Middle East.

source : https://tinyurl.com/yct3gbhv



Vodafone to Protect the Skies with Trials of the World’s First IoT Drone Tracking and Safety Technology

Vodafone today announced the commencement of trials of the world’s first air traffic control drone .

tracking and safety technology. Vodafone’s pioneering approach uses innovative 4G Internet of Things (IoT) technology to protect aircraft from catastrophic accidents as well as prevent inadvertent or criminal drone incursions at sensitive locations such as airports, prisons and hospitals.
Commercial civilian drones are too small to be tracked by conventional radar. They present a serious risk to pilots worldwide, particularly in the immediate vicinity of airfields and airports. Drones are also used for criminal purposes such as drug smuggling and delivering contraband to prisoners. Additionally, security and intelligence services are increasingly concerned that terrorists could use drones adapted to carry small but lethal explosive payloads to attack locations targeted using GPS.
The risk to aircraft is growing at an exponential rate. Analysis from the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) project indicates that by 2050 drones will log more than 250 million flying hours per year over densely populated areas of the European Union, seven times the cumulative annual flying hours of conventional crewed aircraft.*
The Vodafone IoT drone tracking and safety technology trials support the objectives of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with whom Vodafone has collaborated. EASA is currently developing new pan-European rules to regulate the operation of drones.**
The new technology developed by Vodafone also enhances the European Union’s potential to become the centre of global innovation in drone technology in line with the European Commission’s “U-space” vision for innovative and safe drone operations.
Pioneering technology
Vodafone has developed the world’s first Radio Positioning System (RPS) for drones. This uses a 4G modem and SIM embedded within each drone to enable:
real-time tracking of each drone (with up to 50 metre accuracy) by drone operators and authorised bodies such as air traffic control;
over-the-horizon/beyond line-of-sight control by the operator, greatly reducing the risk of accidental incursions when operators lose sight of their drones;
protective geofencing, with drones pre-programmed to land automatically or return to the operator when approaching predetermined exclusion zones (such as airports and prisons);
emergency remote control intervention to provide the authorities with the means of overriding a drone operator’s control to alter a drone’s flight path or force it to land;
SIM-based e-identification and owner registration.
4G mobile networks operate with long-established and proven security systems, including strong end-to-end encryption over-the-air from SIM to base station. RPS location data is significantly harder to hack or spoof than GPS location data, and the data connection used to control the drone offers the operator significant advantages over current drone radio control protocols including greater resilience and over-the-horizon real-time feedback.
The Vodafone RPS is combined with Artificial Intelligence algorithms – also developed by Vodafone – to enable very large numbers of drones to be tracked and controlled remotely. Vodafone has placed its RPS research and associated intellectual property in the public domain with no licensing fees for re-use in order to accelerate the pace of drone safety and geolocation innovation worldwide.
In a preliminary trial in late 2017 – the first of its kind in the world – Vodafone used its 4G network to control a 1.3 metre wingspan, 2 kilogram X-UAV drone. Throughout the preliminary trial – which took place over a 32-kilometre course around the town of Isla Mayor, near Sevilla in Spain – the drone transmitted a real-time HD video feed and flight data including speed, RPS location and GPS coordinates.
Further trials, which will be coordinated with the relevant authorities, are now scheduled in Spain and Germany through 2018 with the intention of making the Vodafone drone tracking and safety technology available for commercial use from 2019.
The technology behind RPS will also be utilised to boost the functionality of other IoT devices in future – from luggage tags to bicycles. RPS could support, or replace, GPS in some IoT devices, enabling better location tracking, particularly indoors, the creation of smaller devices and enhanced security.
Vodafone Group Chief Technology Officer Johan Wibergh, said: “This groundbreaking innovation by Vodafone will help to ensure the skies stay safe as drones become ubiquitous, everywhere.”
Deputy Director General of the European Commission Matthew Baldwin said: “The Commission supports all trials aimed at realising our U-space vision for safe commercial drone operations in the EU – there is a growing network of demonstrations and projects across the EU. We look forward to hearing the results of Vodafone’s work.”
Yves Morier, Principal Advisor to the Flight Standards Director, EASA, said: “We welcome Vodafone’s focus on developing new approaches to ensure safe and responsible drone use.”
*SESAR, 2106, European Drones Outlook Study “Unlocking the value for Europe” available at: https://tinyurl.com/j579ljn
** EASA has established three risk-based categories of drone operation:
‘open’ (low-risk) operations (including consumer drones) do not require prior flight authorisation;
‘specific’ (medium-risk) operations include commercial drone use and, in most cases, require prior authorisation; and
‘certified’ (high-risk) operations require the drone to be certified, a licensed remote pilot and an operator approved by the competent authority. The ‘certified’ category would include very large drones used to transport heavy goods or passengers.
About Vodafone
Vodafone Group is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 49 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets. As of 31 December 2017, Vodafone Group had 529.1 million mobile customers and 19.3 million fixed broadband customers, including India and all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates. For more information, please visit: www.vodaf

source :


Vodafone To Test Drone Tracking Technology

(RTTNews.com) – Vodafone (VOD.L, VOD) announced the commencement of trials of the world’s first air traffic control drone

tracking and safety technology which uses 4G Internet of Things (IoT) technology to protect aircraft from catastrophic accidents as well as prevent inadvertent or criminal drone incursions at sensitive locations. The Vodafone IoT drone tracking and safety technology trials support the objectives of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with whom the company has collaborated.

Vodafone said the company’s Radio Positioning System (RPS) for drones uses a 4G modem and SIM embedded within each drone to enable real-time tracking (with up to 50 metre accuracy) by drone operators and authorised bodies such as air traffic control. The Vodafone RPS is combined with Artificial Intelligence algorithms – also developed by the company – to enable very large numbers of drones to be tracked and controlled remotely.

The company said, further trials, which will be coordinated with the relevant authorities, are now being scheduled in Spain and Germany through 2018 with the intention of making the Vodafone drone tracking and safety technology available for commercial use from 2019.

The company said the technology behind RPS will also be utilised to boost the functionality of other IoT devices in future – from luggage tags to bicycles.

Read the original article on RTTNews (http://www.rttnews.com/2864103/vodafone-to-test-drone-tracking-technology-quick-facts.aspx)

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