Article Source: IMechE
Boeing’s AI Wingman will fly alongside human pilots
Could this be the future of military aircraft? This week, Boeing unveiled an AI-flown drone designed to fly alongside human-piloted jets. The aircraft, which is being developed in Australia ahead of planned flights in 2020, will provide support, reconnaissance and surveillance.
‘Great statistics’ – low-carbon sources supply half of 2018 electricity in UK
With increasingly grim climate change-related headlines every week, any good news story deserves to be celebrated. This week, provisional government figures showed a record 49.6% of electricity supplied in the UK last year was from low-carbon sources, thanks in part to powerful modern wind turbines – and that percentage could rise further when provisional figures are finalised, a renewable energy organisation said.
Immigration salary threshold ‘risks decimating manufacturing workforce’
A number of proposals in the government’s immigration white paper risk “decimating” the manufacturing workforce, Make UK has warned. The manufacturers’ organisation, previously known as EEF, is particularly concerned about a £30,000 salary threshold that could prevent skilled immigrants from filling many manufacturing roles.
‘No confidence’ on Crossrail opening date
London mayor Sadiq Khan has said there is no new opening date for Crossrail that can be given “with confidence”. The £17bn+ line was due to open in December but was hit by major delays. It will not open this year.
Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo reaches new heights
Virgin Galactic hopes to fly passengers to the edge of space by the end of this year. This week, it flew higher and faster than ever before as it continued preparations, reaching an altitude of 90km and a speed of Mach 3.04 (3,724km/h). The spaceplane has a unique reconfiguring structure designed to slow the craft as it returns to Earth.
GKN unveils electric car with two-speed transmission
Another world first was unveiled by GKN this week. The company announced an electric drivetrain with two-speed transmission and torque vectoring, which could extend vehicle range, boost acceleration and torque and increase vehicles’ top speed.
HoloLens 2 overshadowed by Microsoft employees’ army contract protest
Microsoft hoped the HoloLens 2 announcement would be the biggest story about the company’s flagship mixed-reality (MR) headset line this week, but a letter condemning the company’s $479m contract to provide 100,000 headsets to US Army soldiers received widespread coverage. We looked at five of the most useful HoloLens applications for engineers.
New fibre is strong like metal, elastic like rubber
Scientists have reportedly combined the best of rubber and metal fibres, creating a strong but stretchy material capable of extending seven times its original length. The material, developed at North Carolina State University, could find use in soft robotics, packaging or advanced textiles.
BAE Systems wins £235m nuclear submarine contract
BAE Systems will support the UK’s nuclear submarine propulsion systems until 2022 after being awarded a £235m contract by defence secretary Gavin Williamson. The contract will reportedly sustain about 500 jobs in the UK.
‘Smart’ wound dressing will know when you are healing, prevent amputations
A ‘smart’ wound dressing will automatically monitor healing and infection, potentially reducing the 7,000 annual lower limb amputations for people with diabetes in England. The disposable dressing would use fibre optic sensors and a standalone opto-electronic unit with smartphone connectivity to monitor multiple biomarkers, including temperature, humidity and pH.