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Beyond the Black Box

Instead of storing flight data on board, aircraft could easily send the information in real time to the ground

9 min read
Illustration by Viktor Koen
Illustration: Viktor Koen

On 1 June 2009, Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 216 passengers and 12 crew members. No one knows why the plane fell out of the sky, because no one has ever found its black box.

The plane plunged so deep that the black box’s sonar beacon could not be heard, and by the time the French navy had dispatched a submarine to the area, the beacon’s battery had evidently died. Crash analysts were thus reduced to poring over information the airliner had transmitted before going silent, information too sparse to determine what had happened, let alone how to prevent it from happening on some other airliner.

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New EV Prototype Leaves Range Anxiety in the Dust

Mercedes-Benz's Vision EQXX completed a record-breaking 747-mile run in May

5 min read
a silver car driving down the road with a mountain of switchbacks behind it

The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX

Mercedes-Benz

Not long ago, a 300-mile range seemed like a healthy target for electric cars. More recently, the 520-mile (837-kilometer) Lucid Air became the world’s longest-range EV. But that record may not stand for long.

The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX, and its showroom-bound tech, looks to banish range anxiety for good: In April, the sleek prototype sedan completed a 621-mile (1,000-kilometer) trek through the Alps from Mercedes’ Sindelfingen facility to the Côte d'Azur in Cassis, France with battery juice to spare. It built on that feat in late May, when the prototype covered a world-beating, bladder-busting 747 miles (1,202 kilometers) in a run from Germany to the Formula One circuit in Silverstone, U.K.

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Artificial Synapses 10,000x Faster Than Real Thing

New protonic programmable resistors may help speed learning in deep neural networks

3 min read
Conceptual illustration shows a brain shape made of circuits on a multilayered chip structure.
Ella Maru Studio and Murat Onen

New artificial versions of the neurons and synapses in the human brain are up to 1,000 times smaller than neurons and at least 10,000 times faster than biological synapses, a study now finds.

These new devices may help improve the speed at which the increasingly common and powerful artificial intelligence systems known as deep neural networks learn, researchers say.

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Take the Lead on Satellite Design Using Digital Engineering

Learn how to accelerate your satellite design process and reduce risk and costs with model-based engineering methods

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

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