This new NASA air traffic control tech aims for flight efficiency

NASA and the FAA are conducting trial flights to test new air traffic control technology this week around Grant County International Airport in Washington state.

The project aims at overall flight efficiency. The flights testing the plane-guiding technology is one leg of the $35-billion NextGen national aviation revamp underway, according to Wired.

The plan is to restructure everything from “preflight prep to arrival, introducing modern planning software, digital instead of voice communication, and GPS-based position-reporting over imprecise radar-based tracking” by 2030.

NASA and the FAA dubbed the air traffic control tests ATD-1, which stands for Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration-1. Wired reports that “a Boeing 757, a Honeywell business jet, and a Boeing 737” will utilize the plane-guiding tech around the Grant County International Airport so that researches can make an assessment of the technology’s productivity.

The current air traffic control system talks pilots through the landing process while using radar data. NASA project manager Leighton Quon said that because radar data is flawed and voice communication causes delays, more space between airplanes is required.

The new system will speed up communications, add more space for airplane flight patterns, and sharpen tracking precision. It will also save fuel and improve flight arrival times.

“The core of the new system is an on-board GPS receiver and data transmitter known as ADS-B, which can broadcast an aircraft’s position to other aircraft and ground controllers with far greater precision than radar. The setup, already on many business and private aircraft, will be required on commercial airplanes by 2020, mostly to communicate their positions to nearby aircraft, as a safety measure. Folding in the approach management element, Quon says, is a bonus,” reports Wired.

The FAA reports it has spent $7.5 billion on the NextGen air traffic modernization program over the past seven years.

“That investment has resulted in $2.7 billion in benefits to passengers and the airlines to date, and is expected to yield more than $160 billion in benefits through 2030,” the FAA stated in a recent press release.

Emerging Tech

Will we ever fly supersonic again? Unraveling the concorde’s complex legacy

In a new book, Last Days of the Concorde, journalist and author Samme Chittum delves into the mindset that inspired engineers to design this marvel, the series of events that led to its fatal crash, and the possibility that commercial SSTs…
Emerging Tech

For only $4,950, you can get jetpack lessons from the world’s only instructor

Have you ever dreamed of flying using a jetpack? JetPack Aviation founder -- and the world's only qualified jetpack teacher -- David Mayman is now offering a day of flight instruction.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Self-correcting quadcopter can keep itself aloft even if one rotor fails

Most quadcopters won't fly unless all four rotors are functioning. But what happens if one gets damaged during flight? Researchers from the Netherlands think they've come up with a solution.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Emerging Tech

Japanese scientists are chewing over an ‘electric gum’ that never loses flavor

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University may have found the secret to unlimited chewing gum -- and it just involves zapping your tongue with electricity. Here's what makes it all work.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
Emerging Tech

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.