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All Eyes on Better Health at CES 2018: Innovation Awards Honoree RightEye Debuts EyeQ System

right eye

Health tech innovator creates life-changing vision tests using eye tracking that quickly reveal deep insights about brain health, vision and performance

RightEye LLC, an award-winning technology innovator using eye tracking to revolutionize patient care and vision performance, announced today it will be debuting its new RightEye EyeQ system tonight at CES Unveiled Las Vegas at 5:00 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Shorelines Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada. EyeQ gives people a closer look at their health using quick, computer game-style vision tests on an eye-tracking computer. The tests, which only take a few minutes, generate an instant EyeQ Report that provides results in an easy-to-understand format to support discussion with doctors on diagnosis and recommended therapies. The EyeQ hardware was developed by RightEye in partnership with Tobii, the world leader in eye-tracking technology. RightEye has been recognized as an Honoree in the CES 2018 Innovation Awards “Tech For A Better World” category for the life-changing benefits EyeQ provides by delivering earlier assessments of autism, concussions, Parkinson’s disease, reading challenges and more. RightEye will be demonstrating EyeQ during CES 2018, Jan. 9-12, in Booth 43037, Health and Wellness Marketplace, Sands Halls A-D.

“RightEye EyeQ will be a game-changer for both the health care and sports industries because it’s the first system of its kind that can generate such amazing insights about the state of a person’s health, vision and performance abilities in this kind of rapid, accurate and objective manner”

“RightEye EyeQ will be a game-changer for both the health care and sports industries because it’s the first system of its kind that can generate such amazing insights about the state of a person’s health, vision and performance abilities in this kind of rapid, accurate and objective manner,” said Adam Gross, RightEye CEO and co-founder. “RightEye EyeQ provides actionable intelligence about a person in a matter of minutes in a simple report that makes it easier for everyone to get a baseline snapshot of their health and wellness, and then together with their doctors or trainers, use that information to guide decisions on therapies and training. The potential for this technology to change people’s lives around the world is incredible and really exciting.”

EyeQ delivers proprietary, cloud-based vision tests to provide information about how a person’s eyes and brain are working together, leading to earlier indicators of and treatments for a broad range of vision, health and performance issues. The tests are delivered through a portable, ruggedized, all-in-one computer with an embedded eye tracker. Following a science-based, metric-drive methodology, EyeQ tests measure and analyze eye movement data and provide real-time reports that reference hundreds of Level 1 peer-reviewed publications on vision and underlying conditions. The reports print in a matter of seconds, giving analyzed data to the user and their doctor or coach in a simple, easy-to-understand manner so that the information and insights, including treatment options, are immediately usable.

EyeQ tests are available immediately for purchase through RightEye’s cloud-based platform.

RightEye testing and training software programs available include:

  • Brain Health EyeQ – A series of tests quickly measure and analyze eye movements to screen for brain health issues, such as concussion, stroke or any other acquired brain injury.
  • Sports Vision EyeQ – A series of tests quickly measure and analyze eye movement, processing and motor skills, and provide real-time reports and recommendations to improve sports vision with vision training exercises.
  • Reading EyeQ – A two-minute test assesses and analyzes eye movement during reading and provides real-time reports and recommendations to improve reading and learning, resulting in earlier and more appropriate intervention for young readers.
  • Everyday Vision EyeQ – A series of tests quickly measure and analyze eye movements, screening for binocular vision issues that can affect school, work, sports, driving and reading.
  • Autism EyeQ – An internationally recognized eye-movement test, acquired from researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Autism Center of Excellence, has been clinically proven to more accurately and objectively identify autism in children 12 to 40 months old.
  • Parkinson’s EyeQ – A series of tests quickly measure and analyze eye movement related to Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, providing real-time reports and recommendations leading to early intervention and improved care and outcomes.
  • RightEye Vision Training Games – Gaze-interactive games that combine the thrill of gaming with eye-tracking technology to support rehabilitation from traumatic brain injury and other eye movement disorders. The games, which feature bubbles, asteroids and explosions, use fun to ensure greater patient compliance, and at the same time give providers the opportunity to track and assess improvement in reaction time, peripheral vision and other eye movement patterns over time.

RightEye EyeQ is available to purchase now and will be shipping starting Feb. 1, 2018. Learn more about becoming a RightEye provider today at www.bitly.com/EyeQprovider. For more information about RightEye, visit www.righteye.com. Press kit is available at bitly.com/RightEyePress andbitly.com/RightEyeCES2018.

Source: Business Wire

Matt Hancock claims the tital in fiercely contested Co-Star Table Football tournament

The final of the anual Co-Star table football tournament was once again contested by Matt Hancock representing Manchester United and Tim Cosgrove representing Leeds United one of footballs most fiercest rivalries.

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Security was tight due to previous instances of crowd trouble that have marred previous games by the bitter rivals and the Police requested an early kick-off as a precaution.

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The battle of the roses clash was fiercely contested over five very close legs in an electric atmosphere. The final game in the series was a cracker and the air was filled with nervous tension causing players from both teams to make mistakes. Hancock edged it by one goal to claim his third title.IMG_0054

Congratulations to Matt and Tim you need to put extra hours training in for next years tournament!

Source: Co-Star footbal correspondent

 

Mobile Postboxes, the Smart way to get parcels delivered

smart ready to drop+: Pilot test in Hamburg: Now postboxes are becoming fully mobile

Smart is further expanding its innovative logistics service: in future “smart ready to drop+” will enable parcels to be delivered to the boot of a smart wherever the vehicle is located. Further advantages: almost all products from any shop can be ordered. Up until shortly before delivery customers can decide when and where the parcel should be delivered. To this end a new pilot test is taking place together with the cooperation partner Liefery in Hamburg.

Last autumn the “smart ready to drop” test run started in Stuttgart as the biggest in-car delivery test ever performed in Germany. Parcels can now also be delivered to the boots of smarts in Cologne, Bonn and Berlin. The smart cooperation partner DHL has already delivered a four-figure number of packages to these cities.

Now smart is going a further step in a pilot project in Hamburg by enabling the smart to be used as a fully mobile postbox. For the delivery process the vehicle no longer needs to be parked near the home address; parcels can be delivered by Liefery to wherever the vehicle is located in Hamburg.

Furthermore, customers are no longer tied to certain online shops and they can order products and have them delivered to their vehicle by Liefery. Private individuals can also send parcels to a vehicle. During the pilot test over several months the service “smart ready to drop+” is free of charge for customers.

Convenient and reliable ordering and delivery process

“smart ready to drop+” is smartphone-based and works with the help of an app developed by smart lab, the brand’s think tank. The process in detail:

  • When placing an online order the customer gives the delivery address as the “smart HUB address”. This consists of two parts: the address of the Liefery hub in Hamburg, which acts as an interim storage facility, and the customer’s own personal car boot ID.
  • The customer is informed when the parcels physically arrive at the Liefery hub.
  • The customer must then choose a date and one of three time slots allotted over the day for the delivery.
  • In addition, the vehicle location must be specified – for example, the preconfigured addresses “Home” or “Work”, but also any other address such as the car park of a gym. The setting “Dropzone” enables the radius of the smart around this location at the selected time to be defined.
  • In the next step the user generates a TAN to give the Liefery delivery service keyless access to the boot of the parked smart.
  • The app notifies the courier service of the desired delivery address and delivery time and the courier can open the car with the TAN once only within a specific time window. To this end a Connectivity Box is installed inside the car at the bottom of the windscreen.
  • When the Liefery courier has deposited the parcel in the boot the car is locked again digitally and their access authorisation expires immediately. The app automatically notifies the smart car driver of the successful delivery.

Source: Daimler

LG U+ and Huawei Complete 5G Pre-commercial Tests for World’s First Commercial 5G

During the 4th Global 5G Event, LG U+ partnered with Huawei to complete the world’s first large-scale 5G network test in a pre-commercial environment in Gangnam District, Seoul. This network consists of both 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz base stations. The test also helped to successfully verify the technologies of IPTV 4K Video and many other future-proof commercial 5G services. High-speed mobility, dual connectivity, and inter-cell handovers (under continuous networking conditions) were also validated.

The test results returned average data rates of 1 Gbps over the low band and more than 5 Gbps for dual connectivity over high and low bands. In a typical dense urban area, successful verification of the 5G end-to-end (E2E) solution indicated Huawei’s gradual maturity in advanced preparation for the imminent commercial deployment of 5G.


LG U+ and Huawei completed a Large-scale 5G network test in a pre-commercial environment in Gangnam District, Seoul

As a top global operator in a well-developed MBB region, LG U+ is firmly committed to rapidly providing an excellent user experience. With a keen focus on Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), the 5G pre-commercial test based on Huawei E2E 5G devices was implemented in a continuous ring topology. A peak data rate of 20 Gbps and an average data rate of more than 5 Gbps were achieved through dual connectivity over 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz. These impressive rates were combined with inter-cell handovers to produce stable results. Elsewhere, a 5G tour bus delivered 5G-based IPTV 4K, and a VR drone was demonstrated in the ‘5G for All’ experience room at the LG U+ headquarters, which required data rates ranging from 20 Mbps to 100 Mbps. For mobile scenarios, a glitch-free superior user experience demonstrated Huawei’s readiness for 5G networks.

During this event, Huawei also showcased the combination of a VR drone designed by Huawei Wireless X Labs and the world’s first 5G customer premise equipment (CPE) over 3.5 GHz. The CPE is compact, lightweight, and offers high performance, which can support a throughput of up to 1.5 Gbps from a drone at an altitude of over 100m.


Huawei Wireless X Labs showcased a VR drone using 5G 3.5GHz CPE

Kim Dae Hee, Vice President of LG U+ 5G Strategy Unit, said: “The world’s first large-scale joint 5G pre-commercial test indicated a significant breakthrough in 5G. We believe that Huawei is set to help LG U+ implement the world’s first Commercial 5G network over 3.5 GHz”

Zhou Yuefeng, Huawei Wireless Product Line CMO, said: “In the Gangnam District of Korea, we have successfully validated the 5G pre-commercial network and released the world’s first 3.5 GHz CPE. This demonstrates that Huawei will maintain its capability to provide competitive E2E 5G network products in 2018. LG U+ and Huawei will continue to conduct further research into 5G technologies and build a robust E2E industry ecosystem to achieve business success in the upcoming 5G era.”

Source: Huawei

Micro 3 Fuse Holder available from Co-Star

Co-Star Micro 3 Fuse Holder

Co-Star Micro 3 Fuse Holder.

Co-Star the Harrogate based Global supplier to the ICT industry have added the latest Micro 3 fuse holder to their range of installation products for after market Telematics and Mobile Communications Equipment.

The latest vehicles are fitted with an increasing range of on-board connected devices which puts demands on wiring systems installed in confined spaces. The Micro 3 add-a-circuit fuse holder has been designed with this in mind housing two fuse elements in a width of just 15mm allowing more circuits to be added in smaller space. The three spade terminals have a width of 2.8mm and an overall width of 13mm.

The Micro 3 fuse holder can be used with the following fuse ratings:

The part number for the Co-Star Micro 3 add-a-circuit fuse holder is: IFH.18

Please click here for more information>

 

 

The Government announces 5G Competition to cement UK’s position as World leader in development of 5G

 

5g-testbed

The UK Government has announced a new £25 million competition to cement the UK’s position as a world leader in the development of 5G technology.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock revealed the 5G Testbeds and Trials competition as part of the UK Government’s £740m National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), which was set up to support next-generation digital infrastructure like 5G.

The government is seeking further locations across the country for test sites in order to support the rollout of 5G network technology. To that end, it’s inviting project proposals to receive grants of up to £5 million.

Winning project proposals must come from UK registered organisations that are carrying out projects in the UK and working in collaboration with others. They must also be industry-led, or at least have a strong industry component.

Submissions for the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme will be accepted from October 23, and the process will close on December 13.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: “To stay competitive we must be at the cutting edge of new technology and we are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G. In these very early stages we want all ideas, from all parts of the country, that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators.

“It’s all part of our determination to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, and deliver for all citizens now and in the years to come.”

It was during the 2016 Autumn Statement that the UK Government first announced its intention to invest in a programme of 5G testbed intitiatives. This has led to the likes of BrightonBasingstoke and the North Eastall establishing 5G testbed programmes.

Besides these Bristol University, King’s College London, and The University of Surrey have all teamed up to create a world class 5G technology test network of their own.

In recent days Worcestershire has joined the roster of UK regions looking to supply their own 5G testbed facilities. It will be interesting to see which UK city or county will be next.

Image credit: Panchenko Vladimir/Shutterstock.com

Source: 5G.co.uk

How UPS deliveries are electrifying London’s streets – and beyond

Urban delivery fleets are often considered the natural environment for electric vehicles, so it stands to reason that a logistics giant such as global parcel company UPS should be one of the pioneers of EVs in the British capital.

The company got into the London plug-in game early, with its first EVs going into service in 2008.

Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability at UPS Europe, said, “A lot of our routes in Central London are relatively short, so we don’t have particular range restriction difficulties and it’s ideal in terms of being able to address some of the pressing air quality concerns the city has.”

PETER HARRIS, DIRECTOR OF SUSTAINABILITY, UPS

Range anxiety is a frequent hang-up for businesses operating electric vehicles. UPS’s London fleet hasn’t been affected by it in the slightest but power supply, which reared its head when the firm reached 10 EVs, has been a far bigger issue. An upgrade to the local supply bought some time and capacity but it wasn’t cheap, nor was it a permanent fix if the plug-in fleet was to expand, so the company looked for alternatives.

“We wanted [something] that would get beyond this conventional grid upgrade, so we’re implementing a technology called a smart grid, which will make much better use of the available energy that was already present throughout the entire charging period but [which] we didn’t have access to, because our vehicles were recharging in the conventional way.”

Via the medium of various different tie-ups, including with Innovate UK – a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – UPS has embarked on a trial of a smart charging system, with the capacity to optimise the timing and the amount of available power based on grid loads and the fleet’s needs.

Harris explained, “It will be a combination of a conventional grid upgrade with a smart grid, in conjunction with local energy storage. It’s a two-year project that started in April, and we want to come out at the end of it with a strategy on the optimum way to electrify any of our urban fleets. We want to be able to take the strategy into any of our buildings in Europe, or indeed globally, that will allow us to lay out the optimum approach.”

“If this smart grid is successful in the way that we think it will be, it will unlock the ability for us to effectively deploy an entirely electric Central London fleet – that’s all 170 vehicles. If that is the case, then we will certainly plan to proceed down that road.”

The move has allowed the firm to increase the number of electric vehicles based out of its Kentish Town depot. It currently has 52, was limited to 63 by its outgoing power supply, and can now handle a further 20, bringing the total to 72. The trucks themselves are 7.5-tonne items, converted from UPS’s existing diesel vehicles.

UPS CHARGES ITS OWN VEHICLES OFF-GRID AT ITS KENTISH TOWN DEPOT

“What we’ve been doing for the past five or six years is a conversion programme in conjunction with a German company called EFA-S. We take Mercedes Vario-based distribution vehicles – that already have UPS bodies on them – but at mid-life, which is about the seven-year mark, we work with EFA-S to convert them from diesel to electric. Some of the work is done in-house at UPS and some of the work is done in Germany. We’ve done about 150 of them across Europe now and about a third of those are in Central London.

“It’s been a practice that has worked out well for us [but] it’s not where we want to be long term; it’s a bridge technology. We want to eventually to get to the point where we can deploy brand new vehicles from the ground up. The market doesn’t yet supply those, so this is what we are doing in order to not be held back.”

The first 10 of the new vehicles are due to hit the streets in the final quarter of this year, the second 10 in the first quarter of 2018 and, according to Harris, they will perform exactly the same duties as conventional, diesel trucks. “One of the things that we require from our alternative fuel programme is that the vehicles are able to step in and replicate what their diesel predecessor would have done. So if you looked at an electric P80, as we call them, they look exactly the same as their diesel counterpart; even inside as far as the driver is concerned, there is very little change.”

Harris admits that pure electric delivery trucks don’t work in every scenario but says the firm is also working on range extenders capable of switching between internal combustion for the motorway and battery power for zero-emission travel in cities.

UPS CONVERTS VEHICLES MID-LIFE TO RUN ON ELECTRICITY, WITH GERMAN FIRM EFA-S

“For most of our other locations, pure EV is not the perfect solution because [they] require a greater range than a pure EV can, at the moment, provide. To address that challenge, we are working on another technology, also with Innovate UK and in conjunction with a company called Tether, which is a British start-up, and we have developed a range extended EV. It’s just like the EFA-S conversion, but this vehicle also carries a range extender engine, which acts as a series hybrid. It’s not connected to the wheels, but it’s able to drive a generator to put more charge back into the battery during the day.

“Take, for example, the ones that we’re building at the moment, that we intend to deploy in Birmingham. We serve Birmingham from our base in Tamworth; with a pure EV we just can’t get from Tamworth to Birmingham, do a day’s work, and get back again. But what we will do is operate the range extender on the to/from routes, then switch it off at the boundary to the Birmingham city area, so the vehicle operates as a zero-emission EV all day, in Birmingham, just like our EFA-S ones do in London. The driver won’t control it; it will be controlled by geofencing, and the range extender will just be used for that to/from route to enable it to cover the distance.”

Source: SMMT

Ericsson Study: How Network Slicing Pays Off

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  • Network slicing has the potential to offer economic benefits in terms of higher revenues and lower operating expenditures, if operational automation and a step change in the number of operator service launches is assumed
  • Study found that network slicing is fastest, most cost-effective way to achieve service scalability
  • Payback of investment to automate networks is rapid

In a new study with operator BT, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) quantifies the benefits of network slicing for operators. When coupled with operational automation, network slicing is proven to be a smart investment to reduce operating expenditures and increase CAPEX efficiency, while enabling fast implementation and better utilization of devices related to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Mobile data traffic continues to grow at a rapid pace along with adoption of connected devices. In the Ericsson Mobility Report, around 18 billion IoT devices are forecast by 2022. Connected IoT devices include connected cars, machines, meters, sensors, point-of-sales terminals, consumer electronics and wearables.

Network slicing allows operators to segment the network to support particular services and deploy multiple logical networks for different service types over one common infrastructure.  The joint study looked at three ways to introduce new services into a network: via one multi-service network; via individual networks with dedicated resources; or via network slicing including operational automation.

Marielle Lindgren, Head of Ericsson United Kingdom, says: “We found that over a five-year period, introducing new services by using network slicing and operational automation generated 35 percent more revenue than by using one multi-service network. The revenue increased 15 percent when compared to several networks with dedicated resources, demonstrating how the technology enables market stimulation, faster time to market, and opportunities from smaller niche services.”

Maria Cuevas, Head of Mobile Core Networks Research at BT, says: “We’re positioned to bring millions of devices onto our networks as the IoT ecosystem grows. This study gives us guidance as to where our investments will achieve the best results. The more services we deploy with network slicing, the greater economic benefit we will see, enabling us to better serve our customers. In order to achieve this vision, it is important that the industry provides cost-effective solutions to support end-to-end orchestration and adds automation to the operations and management of network slices.”

1-2-3 TO SAVE, GROW AND CONTRIBUTE

Specifically, the study’s base case was a deployment ramping up to 40 annual service launches over five years. Network slicing resulted in the equivalent of 40 percent reduction in OPEX, 35 percent increase in revenue potential and an overall impact of 150 percent increased economic benefit, under the baseline assumptions made. When scaled up, the gains also increased. All benefits were considered in terms of the core network only.

Marielle Lindgren continues: “As applications and use cases for evolving technology become more complex, so will the characteristics of connecting them. Simply put, networks will need to adapt. The findings clearly show that network slicing provides a logical setup that can be tailored to extend into the as-yet undefined services of the future.”

Source: Ericsson

 

Volocopter Flying Taxis to Revolutionise Urban Transport

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The objective of making flying possible for everyone has drawn closer:  In July 2017 the aviation start-up Volocopter agreed a finance deal over 25 million Euros with the automobile firm Daimler from Stuttgart, the technology investor Lukasz Gadowski from Berlin and further investors. Using this fresh capital  Volocopter will further expand upon the leading technology in its purely electrically driven VTOLs, (eVTOL), speed up the introduction process of the Volocopter serial model and conquer the market for flying air taxis. The safe, quiet and environmentally friendly aircraft, suitable for transporting two passengers, will revolutionize mobility in metropolises. In order to realize this vision Volocopter also invests in its team and  plans to continuously develop it further.

volocopter-2x-innercity-preview

Volocopter is up for a soaring start not just because of the successful round of funding: As early as in June the young enterprise already won top place in the international run for the world’s first pilot project involving air taxis in urban spaces. In the fourth quarter of 2017 Volocopter, together with the state transport authority „Roads and Transport Authority“ (RTA) in Dubai, will conduct initial demonstrations of an autonomous air taxi. By 2030 Dubai aims to carry out 25% of its passenger transportation with the help of autonomous means of transport.

“The strong financial commitment of our new investors is a signal as well as proof of the growing confidence in the newly emerging market for electrically driven VTOLs put to use as personal air taxis“  Florian Reuter, managing director of Volocopter, is pleased to point out. “We deliberately sought a mix of investors with strategic and entrepreneurial backgrounds  and were able to implement this perfectly with Daimler und Lukasz Gadowski”.

Automobile companies specifically are intensely interested in the mobility of the future – in autonomous driving or electrical mobility for example. Daimler is therefore a very valuable strategic partner for Volocopter. “We are world leaders in the development of electrical VTOL aircraft” says Reuter, “and for it to stay that way in the future we are very pleased with the participation of the worldwide leader in automobiles”.

The investor Lukasz Gadowski on the other hand, can support the aviation start-up in very different ways: He has already successfully founded and financed numerous enterprises. Gadowski has enormous experience in the fast and global scaling of tech start-ups. This will be of great value to Volocopter in asserting itself on the global market. “I have been interested in flying cars and following their development for a while. When I saw the Volocopter I got it: The “flying car” has no wheels! What is exciting at Volocopter is not just the magnificent vision but also that which has already been tangibly implemented. Huge ambition with both feet on the ground – a unique combination! In the coming years we can expect a revolution in manned aviation. We at Volocopter will significantly contribute to shaping it!”

Together with its partners, Volocopter will be using the new funding to further expand upon technical innovations and its pioneering role within the emerging industry. The plan is to further the development of the Volocopter up to production maturity and commercial licensing through aviation authorities worldwide. Amongst other things, extensive test flight programs are envisaged for this purpose. In order to speed up progress, the employment of additional engineers specialized in the development of flight systems, software and electric propulsion as well as the development of commercial function is envisaged.

To introduce the Volocopter serial model to the market with full impact the company will also apply the investment to developing brand awareness. The prelude to this will be the new website which is launched today. In addition a professional communications team all around marketing and PR will be installed in order to be optimally equipped for planned events and demonstrations of the Volocopter in the coming months. This will create additional interest and customers for the Volocopter – besides RTA in Dubai.


About Volocopter

Volocopter GmbH is the global leader in the development of vertically launching, fully electrical multicopters for the transport of people and of heavy lifting cargo drones. The technical platform is extremely flexible and permits piloted, remote controlled and fully autonomous flight. In addition, the unique design offers a huge degree of safety based on the high redundancy of all critical components. The company’s stated objective is to make every human’s dream of flying come true and to help modern cities resolve their increasing mobility issues. As early as 2011 the company earned its entry into the history of aviation through the manned flight of the world’s first purely electrical multicopter. Since then the young enterprise has set new milestones: In 2016 Volocopter was granted provisional licensing for a two seater Volocopter by the German aviation authority and in 2017 the aviation start-up entered into an agreement with RTA Dubai over the global premiere of an autonomously flying air taxi. The first licensed Volocopter should be on the market next year. In the meantime, the founders Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel have gathered an excellentteam of experienced managers like CEO Florian Reuter (formerly of Siemens) and CTO Jan-Hendrik Boelens (formerly of Airbus Helicopters). This paved the way for the further expansion of the company.

25 Million Euros for Volocopter
⋅ Lukasz Gadowski and the Daimler AG are amongst investors
⋅ Increased investment flows into the launch of the Volocopter

Souce: Volocopter

Convoys of ‘self-driving’ lorries get green light for UK trial

Platoons of self-driving lorries will be trialled on Britain’s motorways, but some experts have raised concerns over their safety.

UK Trade Lorries
Image:Platooning vehicle tests on motorways are to start before the end of 2017

The Government has committed £8.1m to finance trials of semi-autonomous “platooning” lorries.

The system involves a “platoon leader” driving a heavy goods vehicle at the head of a small convoy, with the following trucks, or “drones”, being piloted by computers.

The trucks drive close behind one another and are linked electronically, communicating via radar, GPS and wifi.

The driver of the lead truck determines the route, speed and position, and controls acceleration, braking and steering for the entire convoy.

The distance between the trucks is optimised to reduce air drag, cutting fuel consumption and emissions – potentially by up to 20%.

Roads minister Paul Maynard announced the funding for a pilot scheme during a visit to DAF’s Leyland truck plant in Lancashire.

“We believe this system has the potential not just to save fuel and therefore emissions, but also to reduce congestion on our roads”, he said.

“It’s potentially win-win all round, and this investment is to ensure we are at the forefront of this new technology.”

Driverless lorries may be the next thing on our roads
Image:DAF’s Leyland truck plant in Lancashire has been awarded the contract for the trials

The results of trials in the US, Sweden and Germany have been positive. But some experts have concerns that Britain’s roads may not be ideal for so-called “driverless” lorries.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “I think the real problem in Britain is that we have some of the most congested motorways in the world.

“We have more exits and entries on our motorways than any other motorway system.

“So what that means is either the platoon would have to break up at entries or exits or indeed, pull over, and that could cause problems for drivers in other cars trying to get on the motorway or get off.”

DAF has been working on the technology for some time, and has been awarded the contract for the trials, which will be monitored and evaluated by the independent Transport Research Laboratory.

Richard Cuerden from TRL said: “The primary issue is one of safety, but these trials will hopefully allow us to collect a lot of data about not just the technology, but the behaviour of both the truck drivers and other road users.”

The drone vehicles are not unmanned, they will have drivers to take control in case of emergency, and to enter and leave the platoons.

Those drivers will have monitors to show them the platoon leader’s view of the road ahead to keep them in the “information loop”.

The first trials will be on test tracks. But the first platooning vehicle tests on major roads are scheduled to start before the end of next year.

Later in the trials, delivery firm DHL will join the scheme to test the real world practicality and potential benefits of platooning.