Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

University of Indonesia Designs, Launches Electric Car and Bus

University of Indonesia's electric bus was shown at UI Engineering Center,
 Depok, West Java, on Monday (18/07). (Photo courtesy of University of Indonesia)

Jakarta. The University of Indonesia on Monday (18/07) launched four electric vehicles designed by campus engineers at the university's engineering center in Depok, West Java.

The launch featured a bus and three city cars, with one car named Makara, after the UI logo.

The bus has been tested and will be used on campus, replacing traditional buses, to transport students.

The Molina UI team of engineers have also researched the impact of electric cars on economic, social, cultural and legal aspects within the community. A solar-powered recharge station is also in the development stage to complement the cars.

"Soon, this electric bus will operates transporting students around the campus to support UI green campus vision," UI rector Muhammad Anis said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday (19/07). "Considering that air pollution is already harming our society, this initiative is expected to push that issue."

"It also encourages students to master technology and not be dependable on the major car industry that has made Indonesia consumers."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dutch lorry maker DAF fined €753m for cartel forming over 14 years

DutchNews, July 19, 2016

Photo: Alf van Beem via
Wikimedia Commons
 
The European Commission has fined a group of truck manufacturers, including Dutch firm DAF, a total of €2.93bn for operating as an illegal cartel for 14 years. 

The commission said in a statement that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF had broken EU antitrust rules by colluding on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules. The cartel operated between 1997 and 2011, the commission said. 

Eindhoven-based DAF was given the second biggest fine of nearly €753m. 

MAN was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement in the cartel and agreed to settle the case.

‘It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around nine out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other,’ competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement

DAF has been part of American listed industrial group PACCAR since 1996.

Related Article:


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Self-driving bus passes first road test

DutchNews, July 18, 2016

Driverless buses could be in
service by 2020.
Self-driving buses have been tested on the open road for the first time between Schiphol airport and Haarlem. 

The buses are equipped with 20 cameras that can react to traffic lights and programmed to travel in the middle of the road. A driver sits at the controls ready to step in if the automatic system fails, BNR reported

The goal is to have the first automatic buses in service by 2020. ‘I think it’s going to be a while before we can be driven around automatically in any kind of vehicle,’ said Edith Post, of the North Holland provincial assembly, at the official launch in Amsterdam. ‘But we think it’s important to make our roads accessible and carry out these kinds of tests.’

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Paris bans old cars from streets in pollution crackdown

Yahoo – AFP, July 1, 2016

Authorities in Paris are making efforts to clean up the city's polluted air
(AFP Photo/Francois Guillot)

Paris (AFP) - Paris cracked down Friday on ageing polluting cars, with vehicles registered before 1997 no longer allowed on the streets from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on weekdays.

Dozens of police were on duty to warn motorists that driving their old cars would soon land them with a fine of 35 euros ($39).

The move is a part of efforts by Paris city hall to clean up its air, which regularly violates EU norms and is estimated to cut six to eight months off the life expectancy of residents.

Cars older than 10 years are estimated to cause half of the city's air pollution.

A ban on thin plastic bags at checkout counters also went into force on Friday.

Related Article:


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Peugeot-Citroen speeds back into Iran

Quick to return to a familiar market, the French company has sealed a joint-venture with Iranian carmaker Khodro. Car production in the Islamic republic is expected to surge following the lifting of sanctions.

Deutsche Welle, 21 June 2016


The French carmaker Peugeot-Citroen (PSA) announced a joint-venture worth 400 million euro ($450 million) with its former Iranian partner Khodro in Tehran on Tuesday.

This makes PSA the first Western carmaker to enter the Iranian market since economic sanctions against Teheran were lifted in January, following an agreement over Iran's controversial nuclear program. Iran was PSA's second-largest market before sanctions forced it to pull out of the country in 2012.

The carmaker has been eager to return. An initial deal was already agreed upon with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Paris in January.

Iran's car market is believed to be one of the world's most promising, as the country has a relatively large middle class yet a low level of car ownership. Car production throughout Iran fell dramatically due to the sanctions, and PSA believes assembly lines are ready to be revved up again beyond their earlier capacity.

Clear road ahead

The five-year, 400 million euro investment will go towards building out manufacturing capacity as well as research and development. PSA and Khodra plan to build a plant in Tehran where cars of both companies will be produced.

The 50-50 joint-venture aims to put cars on the road early next year and roll out 200,000 per year by 2018.

Peugeot's 2008 SUV model has been
introduced to the Chinese market as well
- also with considerable local investment
PSA will produce three Peugeot models - the 208 supermini, the 301 compact and the 2008 sport utility vehicle - equipped with last generation engines.

Most parts will be made in Iran. About 30 percent of the manufactured cars are expected to be shipped elsewhere in the Middle East.

Allowing the return of the Western firms has been a subject of some controversy among conservatives in Iran, though Industry and Commerce Minister Mohamad Reza Nematzadeh was happily on hand Tuesday.

He expressed hope that a similar deal between Iran Khodro Diesel, a Khodro subsidiary, and a German company, likely Mercedes, would be struck soon.

jtm/uhe (AFP, Reuters)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Flight Permits Revoked, Reduced for Nine Airlines


The Transportation Ministry has revoked several airlines' flight permits and reduced
the number of flights they can offer from January to May this year as a result of the
airlines failing to meet their service obligations. (Antara Photo/ Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)

Jakarta. The Transportation Ministry has revoked several airlines' flight route permits and reduced the number of flights they can offer from January to May this year as a result of the airlines failing to meet their service obligations.

The airlines whose flight route permits have been revoked are Travel Express, Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines, Sriwijaya Air, Air NAM and Kalstar Aviation—which lost two routes.

The frequency of flights has been reduced on a Trigana Air Service route, on an ASI Pudjiastuti route, on two routes offered by Citilink Indonesia, two routes by Garuda Indonesia and three routes by Sriwijaya Air.

"The airlines have not provided the required standard of services in accordance with the regulations,” Hemi Pamuraharjo, the ministry's Communications and Public Information chief said in a statement on Monday (23/05). The statement also mentioned that the sanctions are only temporary.

Several other airlines have on the other hand filed requests to the ministry to cut back the number of flights they have to offer. Some others were reported to the ministry for delays.

Previously, Lion Air temporarily shut down 217 flights on 93 domestic routes and 10 flights on two international routes, reportedly in protest to the ministry's decision to suspend their ground-handling operators.

Lion Air's self-imposed shutdown will be effective from May 18 to June 18.

Related Article:


Friday, May 20, 2016

‘Delivery vans break pollution rules, emissions up to eight times higher’

DutchNews, May 19, 2016

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Delivery vans common on the Dutch roads emit an average of six times the permitted amount of nitrogen dioxide while making their rounds, according to research by scientific institute TNO

Of the 12 types of van tested by TNO just one – the Mercedes Sprinter Euro V1 – remained under the limit of 280 milligrams per kilometre. The rest produced an average of 1,500 milligrammes per metre, the Volkskrant said on Thursday. 

The test involved real-world trials of some 600 kilometres per vehicle, on a variety of roads and driving conditions. Official emissions tests are currently lab based. 

The research was commissioned by the infrastructure minister and was published earlier although the names of the manufactures were kept secret. The Volkskrant used freedom of information legislation to obtain the names. 

TNO told the paper that the vans’ performance cannot be compared with each other because each make differs in size and load and that has an impact on emissions. 

Technical condition

Renault, whose Trafic van was recorded as emitting almost two grammes of nitrogen oxide per kilometres, said the technical condition of the vehicle would have an impact on the test results. ‘The TNO test is non-conclusive because it does not conform to the EU rules,’ a spokewoman told the Volkskrant. 

TNO admitted the van had 100,000 kilometres on the clock, the highest of all the vehicles tested. 

The worst performer in the TNO test was the Opel Vivaro. Opel declined to comment.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Suzuki faces claims of false fuel economy tests

Japanese carmaker Suzuki is the latest automotive company to be caught in an improper fuel economy testing issue, following similar admissions by Mitsubishi last month.

Deutsche Welle, 18 May 2016


Suzuki admitted to "discrepancies" in its fuel economy and emissions testing, after media reports surfaced on Wednesday saying an internal audit uncovered irregularities in the company's methods.

"Some discrepancies were found in the automobile emission and fuel-efficiency testing process between the testing method required by the government and the one Suzuki employed," the company said in a statement.

Sixteen models and about two million cars are affected, but Suzuki said all the vehicles in question were only sold within Japan. The carmaker also denied actively rigging the results of testing.

"Any wrongdoing, such as manipulation of fuel efficiency data, were not found," Suzuki said. Company chairman Osamu Suzuki visited the transport ministry to discuss the issue.

The ministry urged the country’s carmakers to launch internal reviews, after rival Mitsubishi reported in April that it actively cheated on fuel economy tests.

Mitsubishi admitted that it had been using obsolete fuel economy tests since new regulations were introduced more than 25 years ago. It is also expected to submit a report to the transport authorities on Wednesday.

Suzuki shares dove 15 percent on the news, as investors sold off stock in the small carmaker, which sells about three million vehicles annually.

jd/uhe (dpa, AFP)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Verstappen becomes youngest ever F1 winner in Spain

Yahoo – AFP, Timothy Collings, May 15, 2016

Max Verstappen celebrates his first Grand Prix win, taking the top spot in Spain
 on May 15, 2016 and becoming the youngest ever Formula One winner at 18 years
of age (AFP Photo/Lluis Gene)

Barcelona (AFP) - Teenager Max Verstappen became Formula One's youngest ever winner on Sunday when he took full advantage of a first lap crash that eliminated both Mercedes cars to claim a memorable triumph in the Spanish Grand Prix.

In his maiden outing with Red Bull following his unexpected promotion from Toro Rosso, the 18-year-old Dutchman showed supreme composure under pressure as he resisted all attacks to claim a stunning victory in only his 24th F1 race.

He became the youngest race winner, at 18 years and 228 days, replacing four-time champion Sebastian Vettel who had also taken that record as a Red Bull driver.

Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen of the
 Netherlands attends a press conference at the 
Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, just 
outside Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 12, 2016. 
The Formula One race will be held on Sunday. 
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
"It feels amazing, I can't believe it," said Verstappen.

"It was a great race and it felt like an endurance race. To win straight away, in my first race, it's an amazing feeling. From a very young age, my dad has helped me a lot – it’s just amazing."

Verstappen, heralded as the sport's hottest property, proved he has everything required to be a future world champion, but owed some of his good fortune also to Red Bull’s decision to put him on a three-stop strategy while his senior team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was on a two-stop plan.

That prevented the Australian from turning his early control of the race into victory after the opening lap collision between championship leader Nico Rosberg and his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton had left them fuming in a gravel trap at Turn Four and out of the race.

Ricciardo eventually came home fourth, despite suffering a puncture on the penultimate 65th lap, behind the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen who finished second ahead of Vettel.

Verstappen's maiden win on his Red Bull debut was the first in the sport by a Dutchman and the first by the team without Vettel involved in one of their cars.

"It's unbelievable, I can't believe this," said Verstappen's father Jos, who on Saturday had announced he was standing down as his son’s manager.

Valtteri Bottas came home fifth for Williams ahead of Carlos Sainz in a Toro Rosso, Sergio Perez of Force India, Felipe Massa in the second Williams, Jenson Button of McLaren Honda and Daniil Kvyat on his return to Toro Rosso.

Ricciardo was understandably frustrated.

"It's mixed emotions for me," he said. "I was leading and then was pulled to a three-stop strategy and had to pass three cars – that wasn't the plan.

Infiniti Red Bull racing driver Max Verstappen pictured during the during the Spanish
 Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo outside Barcelona
on May 15, 2016 (AFP Photo/Tom Gandolfini)

"In hindsight, it was wrong. Not to be on the podium – that sucks for me. The puncture at the end was just salt in the wounds.

"I don't want to come across as a bad sportsman and, whatever happened on the track, Max crossed the line first. I’m bitter, but not at Max.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: “We are as much in shock as anyone is… We knew there was a chance when both Mercedes went off, but what Max has done is unbelievable.

"He made a two-stop, which was right on the limit, and it worked beautifully for him. It is fantastic for F1 to have a new winner – a youngster on the top step at 18. He can’t even drink the champagne!"

Vettel was generous to his successor as the youngest winner.

“Many congratulations to Max, it is a great achievement to win your first race and this is his day."

Raikkonen, whose second place finish lifted him to second behind Rosberg in the drivers’ championship, said: "I am happy for Max, but disappointed for myself.

"But that’s racing. We tried and we tried. I was fast and I got close, but it was not enough."

After Red Bull promoted Max Verstappen from Toro Rosso, the youngster has \
been losing sleep ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Raikkonen, a 36-year-old veteran of 235 Grands Prix, added: "I raced against his father. In Formula One! And that is scary…"

In an extraordinary race, there was drama from start to finish.

World championship leader Rosberg and Hamilton were scrapping for the lead when they wrecked the team’s hopes of another one-two triumph and revived bitter memories of their collision in the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix on Turn Four.

"We have spoken to both drivers and it is not a clear cut decision – we have lost 43 points after lots of effort by the team in the last few difficult weeks," said a strained Toto Wolff, the team chief.

"Let's see what the stewards decide."

Another reprimand for Hamilton, if it was to come, would be his third of the season and signal an automatic 10-place grid penalty for the Monaco Grand Prix, diminishing his ability to revive a serious title defence.

On the day of Verstappen's emphatic arrival, it seemed also to be a signal that times are changing and a new era may be about to unfold.


Related Articles:




Let me tell you what the message is that is being communicated: Unlock to 44 percent! This is the message: The Human race has passed the marker and is ready for the next step in evolution. I am talking about the old soul. You are the ones who will be first to get this message. It is you, and some of your "old soul" children, who are starting to feel and accept this!

Let me tell you in this lesson today that the first thing that this unlocking will begin to create is what we're going to call Akashic acuity. You're going to start remembering, and it's about time. Can you celebrate this? It's about time that when you're born you don't start from scratch, in the dark, and doing everything all over again. Instead, you remember!

I want to talk to some individuals who are listening to this and are in this room. Have your grandchildren had the audacity to tell you who they used to be? Don't raise your hand; I know you're here. They feel it, and they know it, and out of the mouths of these babes come the most profound information that this planet has ever heard! They knew who they were! Some will point their fingers at you and say, “Don't you remember? I was your mum in another life.” That's a bit disconcerting, isn't it?

I want you to remember one of the premises of incarnation, the one that we have given you over and over. You incarnate in family groups. There's a reason for this, so there is comfort and joy. It's so you don't have to learn the energy of each related person, all over again, each time. The energies of the family stay together and you can accomplish more that way. There's always a benevolent reason for these things. Every single attribute of the esoteric system of life, whether it's your grids or reincarnation, is benevolent. Did you hear that? It's a beautiful system, and not random. It's not about judgment; it's not about punishment. It is, instead, about the love of God for you, and what I'm about to tell you is what is changing is energy.

Akashic Acuity

So we have established that you are moving into this new radiation, and we have established that it intersects the sun. The sun blasts your magnetic field with it (via the solar wind) and the magnetic field talks to your DNA. Suddenly, there is the potential some of your DNA is being unlocked. The attributes of unlocking Akashic acuity will help you to remember who you've been. Now, with this remembrance comes energy - not about who you were, but rather it gives you the energy of what you did. I don't mean physically; I mean energetically and mentally. Old souls carry with them experience. When you look into the eyes of a child, you're going to see wisdom just waiting to break out. Dear ones, these children are different. They are not going to go through what you did! They have a whole new set of issues, and most of their issues are trying to navigate the old issues you create for them!

There's something we brought up in a former channelling called the wisdom factor. Now, the wisdom factor is caused by Akashic acuity. After living Human life over and over, you start remembering the wisdom that you have gained through these past lifetimes. You don't necessarily remember who you were, but rather the fact that you were at all and the experiences you had. Imagine a child coming into the planet knowing how to read? Imagine a child coming into the planet knowing not to touch something hot? Where did it come from? You're going to see more of this, and a feeling of "been there, done that".

Akashic acuity is remembrance of experience during past lifetimesAs the child grows, that remembrance becomes pure wisdom. As the child starts to awaken and the pineal opens, something else happens. The grid starts talking to the child through the DNA, and in the grid is also the information from the time capsules we spoke about in past channellings. The time capsules start feeding the planet with increased wisdom and knowledge. You don't have to reincarnate to awaken even further! Akashic acuity means suddenly Humans know more than other children have in the past - much more. …”

Nissan to be fined for 'emissions cheating' in South Korea

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Ha-Won, May 16, 2016

South Korea is fining Nissan for allegedly manipulating emissions data on a
popular diesel sports utility vehicle (AFP Photo/Toshifumi Kitamura)

Seoul (AFP) - South Korea said Monday it will fine Nissan for allegedly manipulating emissions data on a popular diesel sports utility vehicle, bringing the Japanese car giant into a widening global scandal that has already ensnared Volkswagen and Mitsubishi.

Seoul said it would order recalls of hundreds of Qashqai model SUVs after tests revealed an emission defeat system that made the vehicle appear to be less polluting than it really was.

The decision follows an investigation into 20 diesel-powered cars that began last December after German carmaker Volkswagen admitted having installed devices aimed at cheating emissions tests in 11 million diesel engines.

Nissan would be fined 330 million won ($280,000), the environment ministry said Monday.

"Our investigation... concluded that Nissan illegally manipulated emission data," it said in a statement.

Japanese transport ministry officials raid theTokyo headquarters of Mitsubishi after
the firm admitted manipulating fuel economy figures. Rough cut (no reporter narration)

Hong Dong-Kon, a ministry official handling transport-related regulations, added: "A group of auto industry experts we consulted with also agreed that this is a clear manipulation of emission data."

State tests showed the Qashqai switched off its emission reduction device when the car temperature reached 35 degrees Celsius to stop the vehicle from overheating, whereas other cars waited until the temperature reached 50 degrees.

The ministry also said that when the Qashqai's emissions reduction device stopped working, the level of emissions was about the same or higher than the Volkswagen cars equipped with emissions-cheating software systems.

Nissan will be given 10 days to present its opinions on the Qashqai issue before Seoul officially carries out punitive measures, the environment ministry said.

VW crisis

VW was plunged into its deepest-ever
 crisis last year when it emerged it had
 installed defeat devices into cars all over
the world (AFP Photo/Odd Andersen)
Nissan insisted it "does not manipulate data related to our vehicles" in a statement sent to AFP.

"Nissan has not and does not employ illegal defeat or cheat devices in any of the cars that we make."

The statement added: "Furthermore, following stringent testing and using similar standards to the Korean tests, EU authorities have concluded that Nissan vehicles they tested used no illegal defeat device.

"Although the conclusions reached by the Korean authorities are inconsistent with those of other regulators, Nissan will carefully assess and consider appropriate next steps.

The company said it was "committed to upholding the law" and was "continuing to work with the Korean authorities".

Unlike its rivals Volkswagen and Mitsubishi, Nissan -- Japan's number two automaker -- has so far avoided being embroiled in any emissions or fuel economy cheating scandals.

Mitsubishi last month admitted it had been falsifying fuel-economy tests for years, manipulating data to make cars seem more efficient than they were in reality.

The scandal includes mini-cars produced by Mitsubishi for Nissan as part of a joint venture, but Nissan is said to have had no part in the cheating.

Volkswagen emissions scandal (AFP Photo)

Nissan threw a surprise lifeline to Mitsubishi last week by offering to buy 34 percent of its shares, but its top executive warned Friday that he would kill the $2.2 billion offer if the Mitsubishi scandal spreads beyond Japan.

VW was plunged into its deepest-ever crisis last September when it emerged it had installed defeat devices into cars all over the world.

The automaker has acknowledged 11 million vehicles are fitted with software that reduces pollution levels only when the car is being tested for emissions.

In late April the company said it was setting aside 16.2 billion euros ($18.2 billion) in provisions to cover the anticipated costs of the scandal.

Last November Seoul ordered Volkswagen Korea to recall more than 125,000 diesel-powered cars sold in the Korean market and fined the firm 14.1 billion won.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dutch company court upholds €324,000 fine for Ryanair

DutchNews, May 10, 2016

Photo: Ryanair.com
The Dutch company court has upheld a €324,000 fine imposed on budget airline Ryanair by the Dutch consumers authority ACM

The ACM fined Ryanair for not adding all unavoidable costs to the cost of air tickets displayed on its website, in violation of consumer protection regulations. This meant most travellers paid ‘considerably more’ for their tickets, the ACM said in March. 

In addition, Ryanair only operates an English language customer service desk, but fails to note this on the website, the ACM said. 

The original fine was €370,000 but this was lowered after one charge was found to be not proven.

Ryanair has now revised its booking process and prices do ‘include all foreseeable and unavoidable fees and surcharges’, the ACM said.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Video: 8,400 tonne railway bridge moved into place overnight

DutchNews, May 7, 2016

Photo: Rijkswaterstaat

A massive operation to place 255 metre long railway bridge over the A1 motorway near Muiderberg has been completed three hours ahead of schedule, the transport ministry said on Saturday. 

The 8,400 tonne bridge had to be moved 400 metres from the location where it had been assembled to the correct site over the highway. The A1 was closed at 20.00 hours on Friday night to enable the work to take place and reopened at 09.00 on Saturday morning. 

The bridge was put in place by 03.00 but then had to be adjusted millimeter by millimeter to make sure everything joined up. 

Transport ministry spokesman Henk Voerman said the entire operation had proceeded smoothly. ‘It was really imposing to watch, particularly from close up when those enormous wheels began to move,’ he told RTL news. 

Work will now continue on the bridge and it will be opened in August when the old railway bridge will be demolished.

Time lapse of the entire operation


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dutch electric and hybrid car fleet tops 200,000

DutchNews, April 26, 2016

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Some 60,000 electric and hybrid cars were bought in the Netherlands last year, taking the total number on the Dutch roads to around 211,000, the national statistics office CBS said on Tuesday. 

This may be an increase of over 33% on a year ago, but electric or hybrid cars still account for just one in 40 of the cars on the Dutch roads, the CBS said. 

Just one in 20 of the total is a fully electric vehicle, and the Tesla Model S is the most popular of these. In terms of the hybrids, the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Volkswagen Golf plug-in hybrid and the Toyota Auris lead the pack in popularity.

Related Article:


A host holds up two kinds of electric car charging plug interfaces.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dutch students open world's first pop-up drone cafe

Yahoo – AFP, April 23, 2016

A drone brings drinks to customers in the world's first drone cafe in Eindhoven

Would you like a drone with your cocktail? The world's first cafe using the tiny domestic unmanned aircraft as servers has opened in a Dutch university.

The pop-up drone cafe will be serving up all weekend as part of celebrations for the "Dream and Dare" festival marking the 60th anniversary of the Eindhoven University of Technology.

The 20 students behind the project, who spent nine months developing and building the autonomous drone, aim to show how such small inside craft could become an essential part of modern daily life.

"It has potential as a useful tool for human kind. We see it as the next mobile phone. You choose and you programme it like you want," student and project leader Tessie Hartjes told AFP.

The drone, nicknamed Blue Jay, which resembles a small white flying saucer with a luminescent strip for eyes, flies to a table and hovers as it takes a client's order, who points to the list to signal what they would like.

"The blue eyes of the first drone load" up by scanning the list to register the order, said Hartjes.

"Once it's fully loaded, then the order is ready. And another one comes with the order in a cup in the grip."

The cafe is offering four different alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, which are either bright blue or green -- the same colour as the drone's "eyes."

The drinks are picked up and carried by a set of pinchers underneath the drone, in a bid to show that these aerial machines could be used to carry out delicate missions such as delivering medicines or even helping to track down burglars.

Each drone has cost about 2,000 euros to build, in a project funded by the university which the students say aims "to give a glimpse of the future".

Thanks to sensors and a long battery life they can fly inside buildings and navigate crowded interiors, unlike other drones, which rely on a GPS system.

"The Blue Jay is an intelligent bird that lives in complex, social environments," the students say in a video presenting their work.

They believe the drone's applications could be endless: as extinguishers to put out fires, alarm systems to warn of intruders or mini-servants which would respond to commands such as "fetch me an apple."

"We believe that one day, domestic drones will be a part of society. One day, a drone could be a friend," says one of the students in the video presentation.

Related Article:



Sunday, April 24, 2016

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

Yahoo – AFP,  April 22, 2016

Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter
and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Berlin (AFP) - Major names in the auto industry found themselves caught in headlights of a global engine-rigging scandal on Friday as Volkswagen booked one of the biggest losses in its history over the scam.

As VW announced it was setting aside 16.2 billion euros to cover the costs of the scandal, the German government revealed that an emissions probe found that 16 major car brands -- ranging from France's Renault to Italy's Fiat to Japan's Nissan -- showed up irregularities.

German carmakers would have to recall Audi, Mercedes, Opel, Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles in Europe after failing the test, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said, adding that Berlin was unable to require foreign car makers that did not fall under its jurisdiction to take similar action.

The latest revelations amounted to another aftershock rocking the automobile sector, already vulnerable after VW's scandal erupted in September with the admission that the group had installed so-called "defeat devices" aimed at cheating emissions tests into 11 million diesel engines worldwide.

Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter 
and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/John SAEKI, Adrian Leung)

This week, the pain spread to Asia, where Japan's Mitsubishi Motors confessed that it cheated on fuel-efficiency tests.

And late Thursday, top of the range German maker Daimler announced that it was launching an internal probe into its emission certification process at the request of the US authorities.

France's biggest automaker PSA Group was also not spared, as the country's anti-fraud squad raided its premises as part of a government probe into emissions after "anomalies" were found in three vehicles.

16 car brands hit

The latest trouble to hit the sector arises from a probe carried out into the emission values of all vehicle models on German roads.

Of 53 models tested, 22 models were found to emit high nitrogen oxide values and possess a technical device that raised questions.

The models in particular have devices that, under specific temperatures, switch off systems that are meant to remove harmful nitrogen oxide from cars' exhaust.

Daimler -- owner of Mercedes-Benz -- announced that it was launching an internal
 investigation, "into its certification process related to exhaust emissions in the United 
States upon the request of the US Department of Justice (DOJ)" (AFP Photo/
\Paul J. Richards)

The systems for cleaning pollutants are deactivated at low temperatures to protect motors or prevent a possible accident, as is allowed by EU regulations, but it was not clear whether some makers used this provision to bend the rules.

Dobrindt said that besides German brands Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, Opel and Porsche, as well as France's Renault, "other manufacturers (affected) are ... Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Dacia, Fiat, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Nissan and Suzuki."

Meanwhile, independent of the German probe, Daimler -- owner of Mercedes-Benz, announced that it was launching an internal investigation, "into its certification process related to exhaust emissions in the United States upon the request of the US Department of Justice (DOJ)."

Daimler pledged to "investigate possible indications of irregularities and of course take all necessary actions," it said as its shares went into a tailspin on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

In Asia, Japan's transport ministry sent officials to raid a Mitsubishi Motors research and development centre for a second day on Friday.

Mitsubishi said it would halt production and sales of the affected models -- mini-cars sold in Japan including many made for rival Nissan -- and warned that the number would likely rise, as it looks to vehicles sold overseas.

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi has admitted it manipulated pollution data
in more than 600,000 vehicles (AFP Photo/Toshifumi Kitamura)

VW skids deep into red

For its part, VW said it sank into a loss of 1.582 billion euros in 2015, due mainly to the 16.2 billion euros in provisions it has been forced to set aside to cover regulatory fines, lawsuits and recall costs of the scandal.

"The emissions issue significantly impacted Volkswagen's finances," said Matthias Mueller, group chief executive.

VW had only just reached an agreement with US regulators -- who had first broken the scandal -- to offer US owners of some 480,000 illegally polluting diesel cars options of "substantial compensation" and to fix the cars, or to buy them back.

The German giant had faced a court deadline for solutions to the emissions scandal and San Francisco district court judge Charles Breyer said the agreement in principle would give owners of its 2.0 liter diesel cars choices for compensation which also included cancelling the contracts for those under lease.

The offer, which will likely cost Volkswagen billions of dollars, also included the creation of a fund for environmental protection, the company said at a court hearing.

Details of the proposal between Volkswagen USA, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency were not immediately released.

Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt gives a statment to the media in Berlin, 
Germany, April 22, 2016. German car manufacturers will recall 630,000 Porsche, 
Volkswagen Opel, Audi and Mercedes vehicles to fix diesel emissions management
 software, a German government official said on Friday, widening a clampdown on 
pollution in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal. Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

But it appeared to be enough to allow Volkswagen to avert a huge trial over how it would deal with the scandal that has already deeply damaged the company.

The so-called "dieselgate" scandal led to the departure of VW's chief executive Martin Winterkorn.

The German giant, which has abandoned its ambitions of becoming the world's biggest carmaker ahead of Toyota in the wake of the scandal, has already started recalling some eight million vehicles affected in Europe.

The scandal has greatly tarnished the reputation of a company once regarded as a paragon of German industry.

The recall operation in Europe is expected to take all year. And while VW is footing the bill, it is not expecting to have to pay European owners compensation, much to the chagrin of consumer protection groups.

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