As the world’s military forces invest in modernizing their aerial arsenal, many technologies which were once only seen in science fiction films are now becoming a reality.
Let us take a look at those advancements which will soon make it into your local newspaper headlines as militaries around the world adopt them as standard for their new aircraft designs.
Shearography Laser Testing
The future of flight testing lies in the use of lasers to scan new aircraft designs. This process, known as shearography, is already used for flaw detection in aerospace structures, but new techniques are making it possible to use this method on entire airplane models. A laser beam directed at an aircraft part creates a speckle pattern that can be captured by digital cameras. As the laser beam moves about the part, speckles are created or destroyed. By analyzing these motion dynamics, computers can decode the three-dimensional surface shape of aircraft components. This technique can be used on full-scale models which are too fragile for traditional wind tunnel testing and could lead to the design of stronger aircraft components.
Built by British company Malloy Aeronautics, this unique helicopter hybrid can be flown unmanned or manned depending on the configuration. This vehicle, which looks like it was cobbled together from spare parts on Tatooine, can carry two people at speeds over sixty miles per hour. It achieves lift using four oversized rotors, powered by engines mounted on either end of the bike’s frame. The rotors are enclosed in a protective frame to protect the vehicle and its occupants from damage. The bike is controlled by a motorcycle-style throttle on the right handlebar, with two additional handles used to stabilize it during flight. This flying machine could provide quicker access to disaster areas without compromising safety. It is also being targeted at search and rescue services, where fast response times can make all the difference between life and death.
Robot Arm Suits
Navy scientists are developing an Iron Man-like suit that will reduce the physical strain of pilots who have to wear heavy pressure suits for long periods. The internal robot arm system takes the weight off the pilot’s shoulders, arms, and legs using cables that are controlled by a central computer. The pilot moves in the cockpit by focusing their thoughts on the specific arm and leg movements, and the system responds accordingly to maintain balance and stability. Although the suit has not yet been used for flight operations, it is still a major step forward in aircraft technology.
The Solar Impulse
According to its creators, the Solar Impulse airplane is “the first manned aircraft capable of flying day and night without a drop of fuel.” This incredible aircraft carries over 17,000 solar cells on its wings which recharge lithium batteries. These batteries power four electric motors that turn propellers, with one motor used for each propeller.
During the day, the solar cells power the aircraft’s motors to fly at speeds up to ninety miles per hour. The batteries are recharged by nightfall, and the plane can continue flying through darkness using only battery power. If successful, this method of energy storage could be used on future unmanned aircraft which stay aloft for days or weeks at a time.
Technology always moves forward, and military aircraft are no different. Some of today’s cutting-edge military aircraft technology will likely become dated in just a few decades. The four technological developments described in this article are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to envisioning the future of flight. So if you are lucky enough to be a part of the military aircraft industry, keep your mind open to new possibilities and your eyes to the skies!
Artificial Intelligence in the 4th Industrial Revolution
Artificial intelligence is providing disruptive changes in the 4th industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) by increasing interconnectivity and smart automation.
Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing the way companies manufacture, improve and distribute their products.
What Makes Artificial Intelligence Unique?
Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.
It allows computers to think and behave like humans, but at much faster speeds and with much more processing power than the human brain can produce.
AI offers advantages of new and innovative services, and the potential to improve scale, speed and accuracy.
There are 3 types of artificial intelligence:
Artificial narrow intelligence (ANI), which has a narrow range of abilities.
Artificial general intelligence (AGI), which is on par with human capabilities.
Artificial superintelligence (ASI), which is more capable than a human.
Artificial intelligence can also be classified as weak or strong.
Weak AI refers to systems that are programmed to accomplish a wide range of problems but operate within a predetermined or pre-defined range of functions. Strong AI, on the other hand, refers to machines that exhibit human intelligence.
Artificial intelligence has several subsets:
Most AI examples that you hear about today – from chess-playing computers to self-driving cars – rely heavily on deep learning and natural language processing.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way modern people live and work. The integration of these technologies into manufacturing practices is known as Industry 4.0.
The first industrial revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production.
The second used electric power to create mass production.
The third used electronics and information technology to automate production.
The fourth Industrial revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, with rising emerging technologies, as real AI, Narrow AI/ML/DL, robotics, automation, materials science, energy storage, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, neurotechnology, cognitive technology, and quantum computing. It implies radical disruptions to everything, industries, jobs, works, technologies, and old human conditions. In its scale, scope, complexity, and impact, the AI transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the 4th Industrial Revolution
Artificial intelligence is making companies make the best use of practical experience, even displacing traditional labor and becoming the productive factor itself.
It offers entirely new paths towards growth for manufacturing, service, and other industries, reshaping the world economy and bringing new opportunities for our societal development.
As AI begins to impact the workforce and automation replaces some existing skills, we’re seeing an increased need for emotional intelligence, creativity, and critical thinking.
Zvika Krieger, co-leader of the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Deploying AI requires a kind of reboot in the way companies think about privacy and security, As data becomes the currency of our digital lives, companies must ensure the privacy and security of customer information.
Businesses will need to ensure they have the right mix of skills in their workforce to keep pace with changing technology.
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