The August 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Zunum Aero’s Hybrid Electric Airplane Aims To Rejuvenate Regional Travel

The startup is building short-haul aircraft for Boeing and JetBlue that combine gas turbines and batteries

9 min read
Illustration: Jonathan Carlson
Illustration: Jonathan Carlson

In the century that’s elapsed since the dawn of commercial aviation, air transportation has become pretty well refined. Yet paradoxically, it’s easier to fly halfway around the world than to travel to a nearby city. As a result, many people shun air travel when taking short trips.

Consider the process: From an origin point, you must first travel via car or rail to an often-distant metropolitan hub airport. Then, you wait in line to pass through security. You wait some more to board at the gate. You and your fellow passengers wait still more to taxi to the runway before your plane finally takes off. Then you repeat most of the ordeal in reverse on the other end, having spent approximately 70 percent of your travel time on the ground. It’s little wonder that in the United States, 10 percent of round-trips between 800 and 1,600 kilometers (500 to 1,000 miles) and less than half a percent of those under 800 km are undertaken by air.

Keep reading...Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

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

Win the race to design and deploy satellite technologies and systems. Learn how new digital engineering techniques can accelerate development and reduce your risk and costs. Download this free whitepaper now!

Our white paper covers:

Keep Reading ↓Show less