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Volkswagen built an autonomous robot for easy charging of electric vehicles

Volkswagen built an autonomous robot for easy charging of electric vehiclesWe drive up to the charging station with our Volkswagen electric car and do not bother connecting the charger. This friendly looking robot will do it for us.

The R2-D2 for electricians is currently in the prototype phase, but the concern is already testing it extensively at several charging stations for electric vehicles, both in its home town of Wolfsburg and in several cities in China where the vehicles are very popular. Volkswagen representatives announced that the first robots will appear in commercial use in a few months.

The robot is in fact a mobile powerbank, in which energy was previously stored for charging vehicles with a battery capacity of approx. 50-70 kWh. It is a very practical solution. Thanks to it, energy can be stored, and when there is a grid failure or overload, electric vehicles will not be grounded, but can be recharged normally.

It is not known whether such autonomous robots can be purchased for their own needs and use them in their own garage, but experts are sure that such a solution has a bright future ahead of it. If we have a photovoltaic panel system on the roof of the house, the energy from them can go to the robot during the day, be stored in it, and charge the vehicle at night, thanks to which we will not waste the energy obtained when we are away from home and we will not load the grid at night when electric vehicles charge the lion's share of their happy owners.

Other companies around the world are also working on similar solutions. A few years ago, Tesla showed its robot. Elon Musk said that the electrics charging cyber handset will appear at the company's stations, but so far nothing of the sort has happened and it is unlikely to change any time soon. Apparently, Americans do not have any problems with plugging the plug into the vehicle, and even for them it is a kind of pleasure.

A former NASA astronaut is building a plasma engine that will allow us to quickly reach Mars

A former NASA astronaut is building a plasma engine that will allow us to quickly reach MarsThe space arms race is in full swing and another competitor is joining it, announcing that he will build a rocket powered by a plasma engine that will allow him to make his first steps on the Red Planet.

So far, in the context of the rocket for the first flight to Mars, only solutions from NASA and SpaceX have been mentioned, but it seems that another one has just joined them, namely Ad Astra, which is working on a rocket with a plasma engine. If this plan is successful, it will most likely be possible to send a much larger crew to the Red Planet than planned, and the space journey will take three times less time than traditional rockets.

It's impossible not to mention that Ad Astra's CEO is Franklin Chang Diaz, a former astronaut who flew into space during his NASA career, so he certainly knows what it's all about. In his opinion, plasma engines have a chance to drastically change our space travel capabilities, and the typical rockets used by NASA and SpaceX are ... primitive. In his opinion, the famous Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield partly agrees, who admits that if we are actually going to finally reach Mars, we actually need something new.

And although in an interview with CBC he did not refer directly to Ad Astra, it is difficult to take the words differently: "I do not think that we will reach Mars before we travel the way from helicopters to jets, or what the equivalent of traditional rockets and something will look like. more. Are plasma motors that something? They are certainly the future, because they don't burn fuel like traditional ones, and instead use an electric field to heat gases to temperatures millions of degrees higher than the combustion gas. This allows us to think of them as an alternative that allows for faster travel and, at the same time, less exposure of the crew to cosmic radiation, ”said Franklin Chang Diaz.

A close-up of Jupiter and Saturn through the lens of a probe orbiting the Moon

A close-up of Jupiter and Saturn through the lens of a probe orbiting the MoonNASA had a great idea to capture this historic event in an image with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft orbiting the Moon. The effect is spectacular.

While many amateur astronomers have succeeded in making far better images of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn from the surface of our planet than what you will see in a moment, this project is extraordinary in itself. We are talking about a probe that was designed to photograph and study the surface of the moon, and not to distant objects traversing the solar system.

Either way, it's nice to see this event, which last took place 400 years ago, and the next time it will happen 60 years from now, from the perspective of a device beyond our planet. NASA scientists plan that in a decade or two, even more interesting observations will be conducted from the surface of the Moon or Mars by the first colonizers.

Then all fans of astronomical phenomena will have a lot of fun from admiring them from many perspectives and at different times. Coming back to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe, it has been researching the Moon for 11 years, and it is thanks to it that you have been able to see such great quality images of the natural satellite of our planet many times.

Another Starship prototype is already on the launch pad. Tests this year

Another Starship prototype is already on the launch pad. Tests this yearBarely two weeks have passed since the almost successful flight of the SN8 prototype, and SpaceX engineers have already installed another one, designated SN9, on the platform. First there will be static tests and then flight.

Although the SN8 prototype made a successful flight, it ended in a major explosion and destruction of the vehicle. After all, this is why tests are performed to detect and eliminate all defects earlier. Elon Musk announced that the test collected valuable data that will allow the maiden flight of SN9 to be carried out from start to finish in a perfect way.

SpaceX fans believe that we are unlikely to be able to count on the SN9 flight this year, but there will definitely be cryogenic tests of the vehicle. Engineers will first check the tightness of the steel structure and install three powerful Raptor engines. If all scheduled tasks are successful, then flight preparations will be made.

A week ago, there was an unusual situation in the hangar where the SN9 prototype stood. During the transfer, the vehicle tilted and leaned against the hangar structure. Fortunately, only the ailerons were visibly damaged, but the engineers aren't sure if there was damage to the steel skin as well. Everything will become clear in the course of cryogenic tests.

Starship is to be ready by the end of next year. Until then, we'll see a few more prototypes being tested. Currently, several of them are under construction. All work is carried out at the company's facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Interestingly, Elon Musk moved permanently from Los Angeles to Austin a few weeks ago. The billionaire wants to focus there on building a powerful space transport system and the production of new Tesla vehicles.

Apple is working on an electric car with a groundbreaking battery

Apple is working on an electric car with a groundbreaking batteryWe have been hearing about the autonomous vehicle from the American giant for years, but so far no details have been obtained about this innovative project.

Fortunately, this is what has changed thanks to Reuters, which reached the first details of Apple's ambitious automotive plans, including the launch date of the first electric car in the company's history. Because this one is not as distant as it might seem, because considering that we are about to enter 2021, we will have 3 more years of waiting. What's more, we also learn that it will be a project on a completely new level, and its battery is to be groundbreaking, allowing the company to add more active material to the cell, which will translate into a much greater range.

Apple will also explore the possibility of using a lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery, or a variant of the lithium-ion battery used in hybrid and electric cars, which is characterized by long life, low memory effect, high capacity and low self-discharge. Moreover, it is less prone to heating, which makes it safer, and does not require cobalt - the last point is particularly important, because 60% of the world's resources of this element come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this country is famous for the constant use of children for work .

- It's a new level. Just like when we saw an iPhone for the first time - says a Reuters source about the new battery. By the way, he also mentions that the car can be equipped with many LiDAR sensors for a better understanding of the environment that will come from external suppliers, but there is also the possibility that Apple will remodel those designed for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro. What's more, the work is expected to go much faster since the company made changes to Project Titan, cutting 200 employees. Of course, as you can easily guess, if the car is to be more widely available, Apple will have to use the help of an external partner during the production process, because the factories used so far are not adapted to creating cars. However, it is possible that the car will hit the market at all as a result of cooperation, because the company may only decide to make its technology available to the outside world. Nevertheless, Apple's car project is very interesting and we are looking at it with interest.