This MegaDrone Will Be a Self-Flying Air Taxi in Dubai This Summer

Although Ehang announced the 184 at CES 2015 in Las Vegas, testing continued in Nevada as well as Dubai through to early 2017.  Now, it seems, commercial certification is imminent with the following announcement in the Middle East.

[Video Credit: TVBlip]

Dubai’s Road & Transportation Agency plans to launch trips with the first fully-electric autonomous aerial vehicle drone starting this July. The Prime Minister of the UAE wants 25% of all passenger trips to be made in driverless vehicles by 2030.

This human-size drone, EHang 184, is made in China and has already flown in Dubai. Its manufacturer, Chinese drone company Ehang, showed off the 184 at this year’s CES in Las Vegas after 100 successful manned test flights.

EHang 184 has enough room for a small suitcase and will be controlled through 4G mobile Internet. It is able to carry a single passenger who weighs less than 220 pounds over short distances at 62 miles per hour with a fully-charged battery.

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Guide to LiPo Battery Management

http://fortune.com/2017/02/16/dubai-travel-drones-air-taxi-ehang-184/From Oscar Liang (OscarLiang.com), a useful reference to LiPo battery fundamentals, sizes, connectors, charge, balance charge and disposal. All RC hobbyists should keep Mr. Liang’s guides in their reference libraries.

https://oscarliang.com/lipo-battery-guide/

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Singapore Expands Government Drone Use

Singapore is looking to expand its use of drones to support public services, for instance, to help monitor dengue-ht areas and construction sites.

The Ministry of Transport announced that it had awarded a main contract for the deployment of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, to three key vendors, from which government agencies would then approach to deploy the technology. This “master contract” arrangement would allow for economies of scale, said the ministry, adding that more public agencies were expected to conduct pilots using drones to support their daily operations.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore would administer the two-year master contract, which would end October 31, 2018.

Original Link from UAS Vision via ZD Net, November 7, 2016
http://www.uasvision.com/2016/11/07/singapore-expands-public-sector-drone-use/

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e-volo Future Microlight, Volocopter

E-volo is an ambitious startup.  They want to be the first, environmentally friendly, emission-free private helicopter.  Hence, the VC200 Volocopter. ( website at: http://www.e-volo.com/)

Based in Karlsruhe, Germany, the company has received several technical awards, and much consumer and press attention since their maiden flight in 2013.

With a carbon-fibre chassis and eighteen electric rotors, the expected payload is targeted at 450kg.  Investors have taken note and sponsors amount to a notable list of technical and industry partners that assure future R&D progress toward a robust testing and development program in 2015.

Right now, the single seater has a flight time of 20 minutes.  The target for the commercial version is an ambitious 1 hour.  The two seater is targeted to achieve a speed of 100km/h, a minimum altitude of 6500 ft, a take-off weight of 450kg.  When the commercial version will be available is not yet announced. Based on interest at the AERO aviation show in Friedrichshafen in Lake Constance (Europe’s largest General Aviation trade fair) the company is encouraged and potential buyers are excited.

The following video is from e-volo’s interview at the AERO general aviation show (April, 2014):

The Volocopter is not a helicopter.  Unique differences include:

1) Volocopter has only one joystick to control all flight functions.  There are no pedals
2) All the rotors mount fixed-pitch propellers.  Direction and pitch is achieved by varying the speed of each of the 18 propellers.
3) Should one or several rotors fail during flight, speed of the remaining blades would be electronically adjusted to compensate automatically.
 

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The Berlin Wall’s Mark in History

Time Magazine (see article, below) marks the history of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  From Time’s website, Lily Rothman traces the history of the Wall from start to finish.

For a structure that stood only about 12 ft. high, the Berlin Wall left quite a mark on modern history. Throughout the 28 years during which it endured, TIME followed the wall’s surprise construction, those who died attempting to get across, and finally its fall and aftermath.

Aug. 25, 1961: Berlin: The Wall

The Berlin Wall went up quickly and with no warning on Aug. 13, 1961. Though it was at that point less a wall than a fence, it startled the world. For nearly a decade, Berlin — a divided city situated within the Eastern portion of a divided country — had been the easiest way to cross from East Germany to West, but the East had been facing a dwindling population and took drastic measures despite earlier promises to preserve freedom of movement:

– For the map, timeline and stories, see TIME.com
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The Making of the Middle East



A chart known as the Sykes-Picot map, drawn in 1916 by officials representing the British and French governments of the time made straight-line proposed borders on a map of Eastern Turkey, Syria and then current-day Western Persia.  These agreed upon straight lines “simplified” a division of spoils that led to a complicated geo-political nightmare for the 20th Century and beyond.

  A map marked with crude chinagraph-pencil in the second decade of the 20th Century shows the ambition – and folly – of the 100-year old British-French plan that helped create the modern-day Middle East.

Straight lines make uncomplicated borders. Most probably that was the reason why most of the lines that Mark Sykes, representing the British government, and Francois Georges-Picot, from the French government, agreed upon in 1916 were straight ones.

Sykes and Picot were quintessential “empire men”. Both were aristocrats, seasoned in colonial administration, and crucially believers in the notion that the people of the region would be better off under the European empires.

Both men also had intimate knowledge of the Middle East.

At a meeting in Downing Street, Mark Sykes pointed to a map and told the prime minister: “I should like to draw a line from the “e” in Acre to the last “k” in Kirkuk.”

The key tenets of the agreement they had negotiated in relative haste amidst the turmoil of the World War One continue to influence the region to this day. But while Sykes-Picot’s straight lines had proved significantly helpful to Britain and France in the first half of the twentieth century, their impact on the region’s peoples was quite different.

The map that the two men drew divided the land that had been under Ottoman rule since the early 16th Century into new countries – and relegated these political entities to two spheres of influence:

   – Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine under British influence
   – Syria and Lebanon under French influence

The two men were not mandated to redraw the borders of the Arab countries in North Africa, but the division of influence existed there as well, with Egypt under British rule, and France controlling the Maghreb.

– for a view of their map and the rest of this article by Tarek Osman (@TarekmOsman), see BBC News
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Hideout Survivor of World War II Netherlands


The following Canadian Press story describes how Betty Laron, as a 13-year old, hid from the Nazis in Zavenaar, the Netherlands in 1943.

TORONTO – Betty Laron will never forget her father’s words the day he told her their family would have to go into hiding to escape the Nazis.

“My father said, ‘If we have to hang, then it will be on the last gallows,'” she recalls.

Laron was on the cusp of her 13th birthday in Zevenaar, the Netherlands, in early 1943. Across the country in Amsterdam, another girl of the same age, Anne Frank, was already hiding in her Secret Annex.

Their lives would follow similar paths up until a point — while Frank was discovered in 1944 and later died of typhus in Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Laron and her family would escape detection and survive.

The 85-year-old, who now lives in Burlington, Ont., shares her memories in an episode of History’s “War Story” airing Remembrance Day. Six episodes of the acclaimed documentary series will be broadcast from Friday to Tuesday, all focusing on the battles in Europe in 1944.

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