2021’s Top Ten Tech Cars: Polestar 2

Volvo’s new EV brand goes full Android

1 min read
Image of the 2021 Polestar 2 vehicle.
Photo: Polestar

The Polestar 2, the first offering from Volvo's new electric brand, breaks little ground in electric mobility. But its pioneering infotainment tech will soon become a staple of millions of cars around the globe.

Base price:

US $63,000

Polestar's milestone is Android Automotive OS, an open-source system that's essentially a declaration of surrender from automakers. Sure, automakers will still put their own spin on this stuff, but they seem to have given up their fierce resistance to the incursion of Google, Apple, or other disrupters into their sacrosanct vehicle interiors.

In its Scandinavian-sleek cabin, the Polestar 2 houses nearly every user control—Android-powered navigation, search, apps, and entertainment—on a tablet-style 11-inch touch screen. The cloud-based interface allows users to safely rely on voice or steering-wheel commands for Google Maps, Assistant, and Play Store while leaving their smartphone in a pocket or even switched off. It all works beautifully, especially for people whose emails, playlists, address books, and calendars are already bound up in the Google ecosystem and cloud.

Best of all, as cars age, instead of becoming a dinosaur in the dash (eight-track, anyone?) the Android Automotive stays forever young, updating as easily as any phone app. The lure and logic are obvious. That's why General Motors, Stellantis (the newly merged Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group), and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance are all on board, and will bring Android Automotive to their lineups over the next two years. Eventually, it's likely that all new cars will support both Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, so regardless of which kind of smartphone you have, your car will work with it seamlessly.

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Video Friday: TurtleBot 4

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

Silicon Valley Robot Block Party – October 23, 2021 – Oakland, CA, USA
SSRR 2021 – October 25-27, 2021 – New York, NY, USA

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.

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Air Taxis Are Safe—According to the Manufacturers

But what keeps an eVTOL aloft when things go wrong?

6 min read

Joby Aviation is planning for a 240-kilometer range with its piloted aircraft, carrying up to four passengers.

Joby Aviation

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban commuting are currently under development by more than a dozen different companies. These concepts and prototypes, representing well over a billion dollars of venture capital investment in 2020 alone, promise that sometime in the near future, point-to-point travel between suburbs and urban centers will happen by air using innovative new flying vehicles that are fast, quiet, clean, and far more affordable than a helicopter. United Airlines has ordered 200 eVTOLs. American Airlines has ordered 250, with an option for 100 more. But none of these eVTOL platforms are yet certified to carry passengers, and as a fundamentally different approach to flight, there are still open questions about safety.

A significant difference in safety that separates many eVTOL designs from traditional aircraft (namely, airplanes and helicopters) is that eVTOLs often don't have a good way of passively generating lift in the event of a power system failure. An airplane can rely on its wings to provide lift even if it has no operational engines, and in several cases large passenger airliners with multiple engine failures have been able to make controlled long-distance glides to land safely. Similarly, helicopters can autorotate, using the unpowered rotor to generate enough lift to make a controlled descent and landing.

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EP29LPSP: Applications in Plasma Physics, Astronomy, and Highway Engineering

Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K

3 min read

Since its introduction in 1978, Master Bond EP29LPSP has been the epoxy compound of choice in a variety of challenging applications. Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K and can resist cryogenic shock when, for instance, it is cooled from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures within a 5-10 minute window. Optically clear EP29LPSP has superior physical strength, electrical insulation, and chemical resistance properties. It also meets NASA low outgassing requirements and exhibits a low exotherm during cure. This low viscosity compound is easy to apply and bonds well to metals, glass, ceramics, and many different plastics. Curable at room temperature, EP29LPSP attains its best results when cured at 130-165°F for 6-8 hours.

In over a dozen published research articles, patents, and manufacturers' specifications, scientists and engineers have identified EP29LPSP for use in their applications due to its unparalleled performance in one or more areas. Table 1 highlights several commercial and research applications that use Master Bond EP29LPSP. Table 2 summarizes several patents that reference EP29LPSP. Following each table are brief descriptions of the role Master Bond EP29LPSP plays in each application or invention.

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