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If you were itching to use your phone to make some calls during a flight, you might want to take a look at Dubai-based Emirates, who have just started allowing passengers to use their phones to make calls on its A380 aircraft.
The service is compatible with normal phones in conjunction with OnAir, who is the company that provides Wi-Fi service for the airliner. There is a limitation, through Federal Aviation Administration rules, that the phones can't be used over the United States, where the service will cease working within 250 miles of US soil.
Emirates have been on the forefront of pushing technology in their aircraft for quite sometime, as they equipped their Airbus fleet with phones and fax machines all the way back in the 90s, and in 2006 the airline even offered in-seat e-mail and text messaging to all passengers. The first call with the new in-flight phone service was made on October 2, and was placed to China, said Emirates.
It was only last month that Google's self-driving cars hit 300,000 test miles without an accident, and now we're looking at California getting the self-driving cars hitting their roads. California governor, Jerry Brown, signed a new law that will see the cars hit Californian roads.
The new law signed in will see trials of the self-driving cars on California's roadways, with one condition - there has to be a licensed human in the driver's seat to take over in the case of an emergency. Brown said at the signing ceremony at Google's Mountain View-based HQ - "today we are looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality".
Google did some modifications to a Toyota Prius, which sports video cameras, radar sensors, a laser rangefinder and detailed maps - using all of this data to drive itself. Google's self-driving vehicles also sport a failsafe mechanism that allows the driver to take control by grabbing the steering wheel or pressing the brakes.
I haven't travelled too much in my life, with my first big international trip being Computex earlier this year. But, I plan on getting onto many more planes in my future, and we're finally seeing the beginning stages of airlines accepting that offering in-flight Wi-Fi is a must.
The Verge are reporting from a memo to crew members that they "obtained", that the company is set to offer in-flight wireless networking early next year, with the memo stating:
Customers, especially those traveling for business, with everything else being equal, will choose the airline that offers connectivity, even if the service is spotty or expensive.
JetBlue have chosen to go with ViaSat for their in-flight Wi-Fi, ditching the idea of going with an option like Gogo, which the company says is slow and unsatisfactory. The Verge's source states that there will be an initial trial of the service, and after the trial the service will remain free for "basic email and browsing" purposes.
Google's self-driving cars pass learners test, have logged over 300,000 test miles without an accident
Imagine a self-driving car, want to go on that long drive but don't want to sit behind the wheel and concentrate for 8 hours straight? Well, the future is self-driving cars, and search, mobile OS and cloud giant, Google, with their self-driving car project has been a success.
The self-driving car project has hit the milestone of 300,000 test miles without an accident. The cars have been spotted in Mountain View around the Google Plex, on highways, and more. Too bad I live in one of the smallest states of Australia, I'd laugh if I saw one of these on the road, but feel jealous all at the same time. Google have talked about the self-driving project, where they've said:
Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They've covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn't been a single accident under computer control.
Qualcomm have found a new partnership with French carmaker Renault, where the two companies will begin field trial of its revolutionary wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) technology.
If the trial is successful, it could eventually lead to a wider adopton of all-electric vehicles, as well as other potential uses in many different markets. Drawbacks in the way of widespread charging stations have really stopped this type of technology from impacting our day-to-day lives, or making it into vehicles in bigger numbers, but it looks like WEVC could change all of this.
Qualcomm's technology uses a concept involving inductive power transfer from tow coils tuned to create a magnetic field to "move" the power from one location to another. In order for the vehicle to be wirelessly charged, it requires a charging mat that gets embedded in the ground, and a receiver to be installed on the underside of the vehicle.
Australian airline Qantas are set to provide Apple iPads to use as in-flight entertainment, the move follows a successful test run from late-2011. Qantas would put iPads in their entire Qantas 767 fleet starting from Q4 this year, starting on flights based on Australia's east-coast routes.
Qantas have 23 Boeing 767-300 aircraft, meaning the company is looking at providing at least 5,000 iPads, without including units for spare tablets in case of one malfunctioning. The in-flight content is set to be provided by Panasonic's eXW solution dubbed Qstreaming. Qstreaming uses an onboard server to stream over 200 hours of on-demand entertainment to the iPads via strategically placed Wi-Fi access points.
Part of the test run late last year included the suggestion that Qantas would allow customers to use their own iPads with the service, but the company is still assessing whether or not to allow the option. I don't see why they should hold back, just allow them to download the app itself onto their iPad.
Considering Android is mostly on smart devices such as smartphones and tablets, it does get baked into all sorts of different devices. But, this news is somewhat different. The next device to see Android get its OS is in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jets.
Two models are destined to be fitted, the first is Panasonic's eX3, and the Thales TopSeries Avant. Details on the Thales model were unveiled alongside a demonstration at the Farnborough International Airshow just recently.
The TopSeries Avant model will sport 10- and 17-inch versions, but there's no details on the display type, nor the resolution. Performance-wise, we should find a dual-core, ARM-based processor rocking inside, backed up by 1GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. The central server will feature 32 cores in either an Intel Xeon, or AMD Opteron-based processor, 128GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage.
We know that the US government, and many others, use drones for 'security' purposes, but mostly for spying and intel gathering activities. But, even at the size they are now, they can't really be seen all that well to the unsuspecting eye.
What if they could get small enough to fly right next to you without you even noticing? Surely, I jest. But, it's no lie, or trick. Vanessa Alarcon was a college student when she attended a 2007 anti-war protest in Washington, D.C. and heard someone shout "Oh my God, look at those". Alarcon told The Washington Post:
I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects.
There was a lawyer at the protest at the time who confirmed they did look like dragonflies, but that they "definitely weren't insects". Back in 2006, Flight International reported that the CIA had been developing micro UAV's all the way back in the 1970's, and even had a mock-up in their Langley headquarters since 2003.
Loved the purr of the FedEx vans just as you were about to get that heavily-anticipated delivery? Well, if you're based in Washington, D.C., you might miss out on the sound of the old FedEx trucks, as the company has just upgraded two of them to electrically-driven motors.
FedEx are working with gas-to-EV converters, Amp, with two of them already getting the switch, and if the initial testing goes well, the company could upgrade a further 9,000 vans. Amp Electric Vehicles identified fleets such as FedEx's are perfect candidates for the conversion thanks to the shorter daily range requirements, and usual poor gas mileage.
Considering the amount of deliveries FedEx would do each and every day, this is a great step toward a greener company, and a greener Earth. Tom Hanks would be proud, as would Wilson.
Computex 2012 - We've just finished with the Ford press conference where they've unveiled their Evos concept car, which is fully Internet-connected and intertwined with the cloud. It's also powered by Microsoft's SYNC technology which can do more things than you can poke a stick at.
Ford is committed to be an electronic leader and working with Microsoft in the new Ford Focus. The new Focus features Sync powered by Microsoft, with better fuel economy, newer design safety features and interiors. Sync connects the car with the driver's personal devices and controls those devices via voice. So far Sync is powered in 4 million units all around the world now it will be available in Taiwan with traditional Chinese and Mandarin language support. Ford hope to see this number increase to 9 million by 2015.
Ford is also introducing App Link that controls apps in drivers personal devices and lets the driver control the device via voice.
Ford Evos concept car features cloud computing give a boost to driver's experience and performance with devices powered by iOS, Android and Blackberry- anything between tuning in radio to syncing with your clock, meeting schedule, getting a new shortcut tagged by your friends, tagging your car's present location and also mapping direction to your Facebook profile's events.