From self-flying taxis to UK components being found in Russian military equipment, this week has been buzzing with research, business, and interesting reads. Will the future of EV vehicles lie in standardised power trains? Do the new sanctions imposed by the UK affect your business? And how does 3D printing affect the medical industry? All of these questions are answered in this week in engineering.
Is automation helping mankind, or is it holding us back?
In the past, introducing automation has helped to reduce the amount of manual labour while increasing productivity. Workers who were historically replaced could easily find new professions to work in, but the nature of modern automation may be changing that fact. What challenges does automation introduce, is it a positive force in the world, and should we be trying to automate everything we can?
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Biden administration to lead new quantum initiative
There is no doubt that quantum computing will become a major technology in the near future whether it is to improve security, speed up complex operations, or even launch cyberattacks. Recognising the importance of quantum computing, the Biden administration recently announced that it will be leading a new effort to make the US the world leader of quantum technology. What challenges do quantum computers present, what will the administration do, and why are quantum computers so important?
Bollinger chooses a manufacturer to help roll out EV platforms
Bollinger is well known for its EV platform designs that allow custom vehicle designs to use a standardised EV powertrain. Facing recent difficulties, Bollinger has finally decided on a manufacturer to help manufacture its delivery van platforms; Roush. What products does Bollinger plan to release, what will Roush provide for Bollinger, and why is Bollinger suspending the sale of their pickup trucks?
UK Government sanctions 63 Russian microprocessor manufacturers
In light of the Russian/Ukraine conflict, the UK has decided to add an additional 63 Russian companies to the list of those currently under sanction. These companies, predominately semiconductor manufacturers, will no longer be allowed access to key technologies including ARM. Of course, some question whether this will be enough to choke the supply of semiconductors available to Russia with the goal of bringing the deadly conflict to an end. What companies have been sanctioned, why has the UK government brought them about, and can Russia get around the sanctions?
Apple to give more responsibility and control to manufacturers in China
The continuing COVID lockdowns in China continue to lead to increased manufacturing times, logistical challenges, and production problems, and trying to send western engineers to China is no longer an option for many businesses. In light of the strict COVID measures, Apple will now give Chinese engineers more responsibility over the manufacturing process. Why are COVID measures causing manufacturing challenges, what will Apple be doing, and how will it affect the manufacturing process?
Apple machine learning director leaves over remote work policies
Whether you agree or disagree with COVID lockdowns, what can be agreed upon is that many jobs can easily be done remotely. With many companies looking toward full remote working, others are now trying to get their workers back into the office, and the director of machine learning of Apple was not happy to hear that Apple wants employees back in the office for three days a week. Why is the director of machine learning leaving Apple, why is Apple trying to get employees back into the office, and should companies move towards remote working?
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Hardware Engineering News
UK components found in Russian military equipment
A recent report has revealed that components from a UK component manufacturer TT Electronics have been found in modern Russian military equipment. While the components were discovered to not be military-grade, it raises serious questions surrounding end-user agreements, and how components are used. What component was found, what did TT Electronics say, and are they to blame?
How is SLS 3D printing helping the orthotics industry?
If there is one problem that we all suffer from it’s trying to find a pair of shoes that fit well. Whether a shoe is too long, too narrow, or doesn’t have enough height, it seems that shoe size means very little for those who have abnormally normal feet. In this interesting webinar by 3D Narratives, learn how SLS 3D printing is being used in the field of orthotics to create shoes and insoles that help those with unique challenges that cannot be solved with any off-the-shelf solution.
Hardware R&D News
Researchers create map of all world plastic waste from space using AI
Plastic waste presents many challenges to the environment due to its inability to degrade (taking thousands of years for many plastics). Instead of trying to capture all plastic, it can be more economical to target key areas that are prone to plastic waste (caused by currents and wind patterns). To aid in this challenge, researchers have recently developed a world map of all plastic waste as seen from space thanks to the use of AI, real-time data, and modelling. What challenges does plastic waste present, how did the researchers create their plastic-tracking system, and how will it be used to help minimise waste?
US start-up creating pilotless planes to try and reduce flying costs
The cost of air travel is expensive, and this high price is a result of many factors including materials, engineering, and fuel. But while the cost of training pilots is high, the cost of a pilot is insignificant compared to the rest of the plane. However, if flying taxis become more commonplace, then the price of pilots will become a major factor, and so one US start-up is looking to create pilotless aircraft in a bid to reduce the price of flying.