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GE Aviation Electrifies Airplane Engines to Meet Carbon Emission Goals

Smaller lighter engines, 3D printed parts, and more electrical engineers are needed for the next era of flight

4 min read
GE Aviation’s first additive synchronous variable frequency generator.
GE Aviation’s first additive synchronous variable frequency generator.
Photo: GE Aviation

THE INSTITUTEThe aerospace industry is under intense pressure to reduce its impact on the environment. Between 2021 and 2035, the industry will have to offset a total of 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, an emissions mitigation approach for the industry.

GE Aviation is one company that is working to meet the mandates by increasing the electrification of the aircraft it builds. The company produces 65 percent of all commercial airplane engines. It also has a large market share of components and integrated systems for commercial, business, and general aviation aircraft. Every two seconds, an aircraft powered by GE technology takes off somewhere in the world, the company says.

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Self-Driving Cars Work Better With Smart Roads

Intelligent infrastructure makes autonomous driving safer and less expensive

9 min read
A photograph shows a single car headed toward the viewer on the rightmost lane of a three-lane road that is bounded by grassy parkways, one side of which is planted with trees. In the foreground a black vertical pole is topped by a crossbeam bearing various instruments. 

This test unit, in a suburb of Shanghai, detects and tracks traffic merging from a side road onto a major road, using a camera, a lidar, a radar, a communication unit, and a computer.

Shaoshan Liu

Enormous efforts have been made in the past two decades to create a car that can use sensors and artificial intelligence to model its environment and plot a safe driving path. Yet even today the technology works well only in areas like campuses, which have limited roads to map and minimal traffic to master. It still can’t manage busy, unfamiliar, or unpredictable roads. For now, at least, there is only so much sensory power and intelligence that can go into a car.

To solve this problem, we must turn it around: We must put more of the smarts into the infrastructure—we must make the road smart.

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