The Air Force’s new stealth bomber, a highly classified military project, is being designed to accommodate incremental improvements over the years, making it easier and cheaper to modify the plane to counter future threats, according to a senior Pentagon official.
Defense Department officials have revealed little about the Long Range Strike Bomber project beyond plans to buy between 80 and 100 aircraft for about $550 million each. The Air Force, which is evaluating bids from a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team and from Northrop Grumman, is expected to award a contract this summer.
Upgradability — the Pentagon calls it “modularity” — is written into the bomber’s specifications; bidders are required to make it easy to add the scores of upgrades expected over the bomber’s multi-decade life.
The Pentagon is also seeking more access to the intellectual property generated when a contractor designs a new weapon. In the past, companies have resisted giving up their blueprints.
Having the intellectual property would allow the Pentagon to more easily upgrade equipment without paying the original manufacturer to act as the middleman.
“In order to do this well, you have to basically control the interfaces and control the design at the modular level,” Kendall said.
Tesla provides firmware updates and had built in sensors and components to enable expected autopilot upgrades
Most cars don’t improve over time. By contrast, the Tesla Model S gets faster, smarter, and better as time passes. With Tesla’s regular over-the-air software updates, Model S actually improves while you sleep. When you wake up, added functionality, enhanced performance, and improved user experience make you feel like you are driving a new car. We want to improve cars in ways most people didn’t imagine possible.
Among other things, the latest update introduces two key applications that ensure you never unintentionally run out of range, giving you peace of mind at all times.
The Tesla 85D went from accelerating from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds to 3.1 seconds with a software improvement to the inverter algorithm.
Tesla has improved the user interface and added applications to plan trips and avoid running out of battery power. Tesla is looking at continuing UI improvements. One UI concept uses responsive widgets that can be rearranged on a flexible grid. The widgets are available in multiple sizes and can freely be combined for a customized user experience
Tesla Interface Concept from Bureau Oberhaeuser on Vimeo.
Combining the firmware upgrades with Google Project Ara style systems for modules connecting to a fast network would provide a lot of easy flexibility
Project Ara is the codename for an initiative that aims to develop an open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. The platform will include a structural frame (endoskeleton that holds smartphone modules of the owner’s choice), such as a display, camera or an extra battery. It would allow users to swap out malfunctioning modules or upgrade individual modules as innovations emerge, providing longer lifetime cycles for the handset, and potentially reducing electronic waste. Project Ara smartphone will begin pilot testing in Puerto Rico later 2015 with a target bill of materials cost of $50 for a basic grey phone. The project was originally headed by the Advanced Technologies and Projects team within Motorola Mobility while it was a subsidiary of Google. Although Google had sold Motorola to Lenovo, it is retaining the project team who will work under the direction of the Android division.
Google wants Project Ara to lower the entry barrier for phone hardware manufacturers so there could be “hundreds of thousands of developers” instead of the current handful of big manufacturers. This would be similar to how the Google Play Store is structured. Lowering the barrier for entry allows many more people to develop modules. Anyone will be able to build a module without requiring a license or paying a fee.
Frames have slots on the front for the display and other modules. On the back are additional slots for modules. Each frame is expected to cost around US$15. The data from the modules can be transferred at up to 10gigabits/sec per connection. The 2×2 modules have two connections and will allow up to 20gigabits/sec. This is to defer its obsolescence as long as possible.
Modules can provide common smartphone features, such as cameras and speakers, but can also provide more specialized features, such as medical devices, receipt printers, laser pointers, pico projectors, night vision sensors, or game controller buttons. Each slot on the frame will accept any module of the correct size. The front slots are of various heights and take up the whole width of the frame. The rear slots come in standard sizes of 1×1, 1×2 and 2×2. Modules can be hot-swapped without turning the phone off. The frame also includes a small backup battery so the main battery can be hot-swapped. Modules are secured with electropermanent magnets
Tesla Trip Planner
Model S will now automatically navigate you to your destination by integrating the best charging options into your route. As with Range Assurance, your car looks up the charging locations in realtime, so it always has the most updated list and queries the Tesla Superchargers to determine their status. Essentially, it is a big network of cars communicating dynamically with a big network of chargers.
Sneak peek at Trip Planner: automatically selecting a Supercharger route to minimize driving & charging time. pic.twitter.com/oyfJDr88nW
— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) March 19, 2015
In 3 months autopilot automatic steering
A major update will be available over summer 2015, when Tesla deployed v7.0 of its OS. Just in time for the new Model X SUV, which is due in the next few months.
In a ‘sneak peek’, Musk told CAR on a conference call that v7.0 would bring a ‘complete UI overhaul.’ That’s UI as in User Interface, or the giant screen that operates most of the Model S’s features.
Musk said that the UI would change radically, much as an iPhone’s screen layout has evolved over time. ‘The car is becoming more and more sensually aware – we are waking up the car,’ he told CAR. ‘We want an interface that reflects the way the car sees the world.’
Tesla’s v7.0 software update would bring auto-steering to market and Musk said engineers were already testing the tech on the roads from San Francisco to Seattle. When laws catch up, the car will be able to steer itself using a combination of detailed sat-nav and sensors onboard. ‘On private property, you will be able to press a button on your Tesla app and summon the car,’ he said. ‘Press it again and the car will drive back to the garage, park itself and close the door. It can even drive in the dark, underground.’
However, when self-driving cars become safer than human-driven cars, the public may outlaw the latter. Hopefully not.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2015
SOURCES – Tesla Blog, Tesla twitter, elon musk twitter, car magazine UK, youtube, Vimeo, Gas2, DefenseOne
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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