Air traffic controllers to switch to GPS, at last

giugno 2, 2010 Technology No Commenti

GPS location systems are not only useful to find your way back home, to avoid traffic jams or to track down a criminal under surveillance, but within a few years they will also be used to locate flying commercial airliners.

In fact, the US Federal Aviation Administration, in agreement with the Obama administration, has set the guidelines according to which any aircraft, within year 2020, will have to be equipped with a GPS positioning system in order to have access to US airspace, and to land in the country’s busiest airports.

Thanks to this system, airliners will be constantly transmitting their position information to the traffic control center and to other planes around them, giving controllers a clearer and more updated picture when compared to what can be obtained with the current radar systems.
In fact, thanks to GPS planes will send their position every second, while current radars update position of aircraft within their range every several seconds.

Furthermore, this will allow the aircraft itself to be sending its position to the control center, and not the latter scanning the air as it happens now. The real breakthrough lies in the fact that, if the airliner is equipped with the necessary technological devices, the pilot will be able to see exactly what the controllers see, including, most of all, other planes around them, thus dramatically reducing the risk of collisions in the air or during takeoff and landing phase.

In a few words, although GPS tracking is seen by many as a modern version of Big Brother capable of monitoring people and vehicles at any time, such an application can only be beneficial for security of our travel and, ultimately, of our life.

Climbing mountains and walls with an elevator

giugno 2, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Powered Rope Ascender is a system which allows you to climb or descend drops, for example like a mountain cliff or a wall, without effort and even while carrying a weight.
This makes it very useful for firemen on a rescue operation, or in the military field, especially for soldiers engaged in war zones where the terrain may be rough, such as Afghanistan just to name one.

This ascension system, manufactured by the Boston-based Atlas Devices, is available on the market since a few years now, but a new version is ready to be used not only on mountains or in cities, but also on a naval environment, thanks to a smaller weight and size when compared to the standard version.

This lightweight version has been created by the US Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR), and should roughly be ready byu the month of Semptember. It is also equipped with a rechargeable battery which would automatically recharge during descent phase.

This is the modified version of a device which was initially designed for mountains and urban areas, but that thanks to some changes can prove useful also on the sea, for soldiers having to climb or descend a vertical surface quickly, for example during boarding of an enemy ship, or for swift evacuation of wounded personnel.

Its loading capacity just below 300 kgs makes it possible to quickly ascend at a speed nearing 2 meters per second, even if loaded with weapons or carrying a wounded soldier on your shoulders; it works not only on vertical surfaces by lifting or lowering its load, but also horizontally, for example to pull a wounded soldier towards his rescuers without having them exposed to enemy fire.


giugno: 2010
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