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Clean Tech, Gadgets

Tesla Technology has hastened the progress of the auto industry in terms of innovation. It urged and accelerated the automotive industry’s shift from gasoline and hybrid engine to electric and autonomous driving by spearheading the revolution. Tesla is not just changing the auto industry; it is forcing it to change rapidly.

How exactly is Tesla changing the auto industry for good?

With its introduction of the Autopilot, other auto companies, especially the luxury ones, have come up with features that resemble the autopilot feature. Since its first appearance, major automotive companies such as General Motors and Mercedes-Benz have announced that they will be rolling out semi-autonomous and highly-automated systems. Hands-free or driverless is definitely the direction that cars are heading, with experts looking at 2020 to be the year when autonomous and semi-autonomous cars will be regulars on the road.

Tesla pioneered, popularized, and promoted electric vehicles, and it pushed its rivals to adopt electrification quickly. In fact, General Motors even went ahead of Tesla in releasing its electronic vehicle, the Chevy Bolt, to the mass market. Experts say that in 2040, 54% of cars in the world will be electric. Volvo said that it will stop selling gas-only vehicles in 2019, while the environmental minister of France said that they will ban vehicles that use fossil fuel by 2040.

When it comes to software, Tesla is clearly ahead of the game. With its ability to update the software of its cars over the air, meaning via a server based on cloud, Tesla can potentially drive the rest of the auto industry to be obsolete if the other companies do not catch up soon enough. This ability revolutionizes the customer experience with its convenience, and brings revenue gains and cost savings to manufacturers, so it is the direction that all automotive companies would want to take.

How about insurance?

Driverless cars, means no person behind the wheel; so how does this change the auto insurance landscape?

There is a consensus that automotive companies will assume the liability if a car accident occurs without the involvement of a human driver. Among companies that have already assumed liability for self-driving vehicle crashes are Google, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. Tesla even went a step ahead and extended an insurance program for buyers of Tesla vehicles. This shows how confident they are in the technology.

Insurance premiums may go lower due to a decline in accidents. Although there are hiccups in the development stage of self-driving cars, experts predict that autonomous cars will eliminate human error, which causes the majority of accidents on the road. Experts also predict that at a certain point, perhaps in the 2040s, consumers might even start to stop getting personal accident insurance as roads become safer.

Take note that these are predictions, not taking into account the direction of the auto industry is taking in the next few years. The insurance industry has plenty of time to pivot and adjust itself into the innovative narrative of the automotive industry. Moreover, there are still aspects of the autonomous car business where insurance definitely remains relevant, such as product liabilitycybersecurity, and infrastructure insurance.

Involved in a car accident? Contact Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

This article was originally published at HoganInjury.com.

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Clean Tech, Projects

Green transportation is a rapidly growing trend right now. Governments are investing in developing and building infrastructures that will replace, or at least reduce, the use of conventional means of transportation. Bicycles are the greenest mean of transportation, and many cities are trying to introduce and boost the “bike culture” by creating bicycle lanes, parking areas for bicycles or even bike rental stations in strategic points such as city centers or underground stations. Although this culture is spreading at the moment all around the world, the reality is that the bike culture is so much stronger in the northern part of Europe.

Poland is considered at the moment one of the most bike-friendly countries because of its extensive network of cycling lane, which connects several cities all across the country. The culture of cycling is increasing rapidly because of its citizens’ interest in this green transportation. In fact, the 2014 edition of The European Cycling Challenge, the top five cities were mostly Polish because they have better equipped lanes and paths.

Recently, Poland unveiled an innovative bike lane near Lidzbark Warminski in the Mazury region. It is a 100-meters path that is capable of illuminating more that 10 hours during the night thanks to blue luminophores, a synthetic material that emits light after being charged during the day from solar power. Although it is more expensive due to the material, the solar power bike lane is safer than a conventional roadway and is considered one of the best ways to increase cyclist safety thus saving lives. The solar power system is still in testing stage and the company behind the project expects to have the bike lane installed in Warsaw in the next few months. Experts are now working on researching how to optimize production costs so that the technology can spread further.

A pretty similar solar-powered bike path in the Netherlands inspirited the engineers of this project. Although both bike paths look similar the idea is completely different, while the Dutch path requires solar-powered LEDs on cloudy days, the Polish bike lane does no require additional power supply what means it is completely green.

Apart from Polish innovative bike lanes, other cities have already developed better systems to promote the use of the bicycles between cities. For instance, in Copenhagen a two-lane overpass was built to connect the extensive network of bicycle paths providing safer routers for riders. Next in San Sebastian, located in the north of Spain, they turned an abandoned railroad tunnel into the longest cycling path in the world. Finally, Tokyo was the first country to install escalators for cyclist thus allowing them to reach remote destinations.

By mixing transportation and technology, cities could become greener and there are not doubts that the solar-powered bike lane is one of the first steps for reaching the objective for a more eco-friendly life.

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Clean Tech, Economy, Gadgets

The traditional concept of city has changed in the last few years because of the quick development of technology and the new lifestyles, which people are demanding. The reality is that cities are the engine of economic growth and for that reason many people are currently moving to big cities in order to find new opportunities and better life conditions. It is expected that almost 70% of the world’s population will live in urban centers by 2050 and that is why cities all around the world are seeking to create more efficient and sustainable ways to operate by providing integrate sensors, buildings, facilities and innovative transportation and infrastructure.

Smart cities use information and communication technologies to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of sources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life. Smart Cities also develop new business models, which satisfy citizens’ new and specific needs; operate urban infrastructure more efficiently and automatically; reduce expenses drastically; improve the city environment by creating more green and leisure spaces and encourage the Internet of Things, that is, the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Some cities such as Singapore, Barcelona, London, San Francisco or Oslo have already incorporated these technologies and they are considered the world’s smartest cities. Although the most important elements in smart cities are transportation and energy, those cities have experienced improvements in different aspects. Singapore, for instance, has already deployed cameras and sensors to track traffic and check that people do not smoke in unauthorized areas. Barcelona and London have installed smart parking technology as well as sensors for monitoring air quality and noise and wireless routers which are capable of expanding a network of free Wi-Fi in public spaces. San Francisco has focused their efforts in sorting out the traffic problems and it is also a city that highlights due to contactless payment. Oslo, the capital of one of the wealthiest cities in the world, has made strides in using information technology to curb energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The future is about smart cities and the next few years will be critical for its design and construction. Households, factories and public buildings will generate their own electricity from renewable sources, using the excess space in walls, roofs and windows. These connected devices will store any excess energy in batteries and then they will able to feed the energy grid. Smart homes will also use smart thermostats, which will adapt the heating temperature automatically and save energy. Furthermore, real time traffic data streams, car sharing schemes and mobile parking apps will decrease road traffic, emissions and time wasted. Transport apps will use real time traffic and public transport data to offer citizens the quickest route to their destination.

The cities of future will look very similar in terms of fabric but the way of interacting will be pretty different, artificial intelligence, robots and driverless cars will be part of the day-by-day life.

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Clean Tech, Economy, Projects

Renewable energies are increasing its importance between the other energetic sources. The main reason is that they constitute a sustainable alternative to fossil and nuclear fuels, which are destroying natural environments and bringing about pollution. The worldwide is aware of this problem, one of the biggest in the world currently, and governments of many countries are focusing their efforts in building modern and innovative infrastructures to produce by them the most of the energy consumption in the near future.

Eolic energy is one of the main energetic sources in producing electricity nowadays. It exists extensive areas full of wind turbines to collect the power of wind and transform it in electric power. Onshore and offshore wind farms can be found all around the world but the reality is that the future biggest projects focus in offshore wind farms because of its less negative impact in the natural environment than land based projects. Based on data, the United Kingdom is the country with the greatest number of turbines and producing capacity, followed by Denmark and Germany.

Hornsea Project One is the largest offshore wind farm to be built in the next few years. It is expected to be producing energy by 2020 and it is going to be built in the United Kingdom after the British Government gave green light to the project last February. This ambitious offshore wind farm will be located 120 kilometers off the East Yorkshire coast in a huge area of approximately 407 square kilometers, have 174 wind turbines and capacity of 1,200 MW, include more than 900 kilometers of cables and provide electricity to power almost one million homes. The clean electricity produced by the wind turbines will be transmitted to shore and then it will feed the national grid. The project will also give employment to 2,000 people during its construction and phase with up to 300 additional jobs supported directly and indirectly.

Although the United Kingdom counts on the 3 biggest offshore wind farms in the world: London Array, Gwynt y Môr and Greater Gabbard, none of them can be compared with Hornsea Project because, according to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, this project will mean clean energy for the country, jobs and financial security for working people and their families, and more skills and growth boosting the Northern Powerhouse than ever before. In order to become even bigger the project, the company commissioned of developing the Hornesea Project One has intention to expand it by building Hornesea Two and Hornesea Three, which are waiting for the consent of the authority at the moment.

Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electricity capable of competing with coal or gas plants what allows many people to use this kind of energy instead of fossil sources, which are highly polluting. However, offshore wind farms still have a cost considerably high because of the huge invest in infrastructure and its maintenance. Despite this fact, the green benefits of Eolic energy become it in the energy of the future.



To learn more about Hornsea Project:

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Clean Tech, Economy

Nowadays approximately 40 percent of the population, or 1.6 billion people, don’t have Internet access. The primary reason is that it is cost-prohibitive. Viewing this as a problem, Facebook partnered with other technology companies in order to set up Internet.org, a movement aimed to make affordable basic Internet services available to everyone on Earth.

Connectivity improves people lives and lets them connect with other people and communities across the world. It allows people to find jobs, start businesses and allows access to education and information from anywhere in the world – giving you more access than any physical library ever could. A recent study showed that the Internet is the most important driver of economic growth in developing countries. Facebook wants to accelerate that growth by providing high-speed Internet connection to every corner of the globe.

The traditional model of connecting to the Internet required extensive and expensive infrastructures to connect people in remote or low-population-density areas. The Connectivity Lab at Facebook is developing a project that creates affordable Internet access using new and clean technologies. The latest innovation is the Aquila Unmanned Aircraft, a solar-powered plane capable of taking broadband Internet access all around the world using only solar energy.

The Aquila Unmanned Aircraft is a lightweight craft that has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 airplane but weighs less than a typical electric car and consumes around the same amount of energy as a hairdryer. It is made of a cured carbon and it is entirely covered with solar panels. The aircraft can stay airborne for 3 months at a time. When Aquila launches it will be capable of creating a 50-km communication radius for up to 90 days, beaming a signal down to the people in that area. Aquila will fly between 60,000 and 90,000 feet in elevation. During the day it will fly at 90,000 feet to collect enough energy from the sun to keep its propellers, communications payload, avionics, heaters and light systems running when it becomes dark and also to avoid commercial air traffic. At nights it will lower down to 60,000 feet to take advantage of gravitational energy, thus consuming less power.

The aircraft was designed in the United Kingdom by a team of engineers from various fields of expertise including aerospace, avionics and software. These engineers have previously worked at several prestigious organizations such as NASA, Boeing and the Royal Air Force.

Last week, after two years of research and development, the Aquila Unmanned Aircraft launched its first full-scale mission in Yuma, Arizona. The flight was scheduled to run 30 minutes but the aircraft wings worked so well that the flight was extended to a 96 minute run. The primary focus of the first flights was to allow the ground crew to check the aerodynamics, batteries, autopilot, motors, and control systems. In the upcoming tests, Aquila will fly faster, higher and longer. The crew will also experiment with a variety of different aircrafts with different sizes and weights to develop improved versions. When complete, the aircraft will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter at a height of more than 60,000 feet and will be capable of breaking the record for the longest unmanned flight. According to the 2014 ET report, India could be the first country where Facebook may start to provide connectivity to remote areas.

However, Google, one of Facebook’s biggest rivals has a similar project with plans to provide connectivity from the sky. It is called Project Loon and instead of using lasers it uses radio frequencies to transmit its data. Balloons are sent up 20-km into the stratosphere, traveling along easterly or westerly latitudes, transmitting signals to each other and extending Internet. Although currently, Loon balloons cover a larger circular area of 80km, Facebook claims that its Aquila Unmanned Aircraft can provide Internet with higher speed.

The ambitious project led by Facebook expects to reach a fleet of 10,000. The goal is to have all of the Aquila aircrafts communicating with each other through lasers and beaming Internet connection to rural and underdeveloped areas where it is needed to accelerate economic growth. In order to reach this goal, millions of dollars will have to be invested over the next few years. The plan also requires spending time and money negotiating with governments, regulatory authorities and commercial partners to obtain the necessary permits to start actively using the Aquila Unmanned Aircraft.



The Internet.org movement led by Facebook has partnered with companies such as Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcoom and aims to create new clean technologies. All of these companies share the same vision of improving people’s lives, reducing poverty / inequality in the world and making the Internet available and affordable for everyone. Internet is a powerful and necessary tool that is expected to drive economic growth to underdeveloped countries in the near future.  

To learn more watch this video of Aquila’s first flight:

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Clean Tech

Imagine… an airplane being able to travel around the world without the need to re-fuel, in fact without the need for fuel at all.

Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) is the first sun-powered airplane, capable of circling the globe using only the sun as fuel. The Solar Impulse 2 project lead by Bertrand Piccard launched in 2003 in order to demonstrate to the world the power of clean technologies and renewable energy. On Monday, after crossing four continents, two oceans and three seas the Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi, more than a year after its initial take off.

The aircraft is fueled by 17,000 solar cells located in its wings. These cells power 4 electric motors that drive four-meter long propellers. The plane has a 3.8-m3 cockpit and is able to manage a 70km/hr. average speed. Due to its broad wings and lightweight the plane is often sensitive to turbulence. Due to this and the lengthy journey, Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg had to withstand hard conditions and cope with extreme temperatures. The journey has lasted around 558 hours divided into 17 legs covering a total distance of 42,000km. Before arriving to Abu Dabhi Al Bateen Executive Airport, Solar Impulse 2 made stops in Oman, India, Myanmar, China, Japan, Hawaii, California, Phoenix, Tulsa, Dayton, Lehigh Valley, New York and Seville.

solar impulse - journey 

The longest journey was the 8th leg of the Solar Impulse 2’s trek from Nagoya to Hawaii on the 3rd of July 2015. The plane broke the world record after flying 7,200km during 118 hours. However, problems due to overheating came up in Hawaii where the Solar Impulse team had to repair the plane batteries. The aircraft was stuck for over a year, delaying the planes journey until the problem was fixed. While the batteries were being repaired the Solar Impulse engineering team researched various options for better cooling and heating processes to be used on long flights.

At last, the historic round-the-world trip was successfully completed on the 26th of July 2016 when Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi from Cairo proving that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.

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