Flying taxi startup Joby Aviation plans NYSE debut with help from Reid Hoffman

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LinkedIn’s cofounder is taking air taxis SPAC to the future. It feels like we’ve been hearing about our brave new future of flying taxis forever. Experts insist the skies will be filled with them soon enough, but for now, one of the biggest hurdles is noise pollution. Urban dwellers who have to deal with the obnoxious sound of noisy air traffic on a regular basis will not exactly be thrilled with the idea of hearing thousands of helicopters in the air. Read Full Story

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Flying taxis are coming. Here are 5 ways they’ll differ from air travel as we know it

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This new form of mobility will be very different from our current reality, which provides some unique design opportunities. The future of urban air mobility is often represented in utopian images. A wealth of fanciful renderings show flying vehicles taking off and landing vertically from glittering vertiports. The people in these portrayals live in fantastical futures of high-tech cities, maneuvering experiences that we’ve seen only in science fiction films. Read Full Story

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How drones could reshape cities

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We are at a critical period in urban history, faced by climatic breakdown and a pandemic. Drones and aerial vehicles can be part of a profound rethink of the urban environment. Drones, personal flying vehicles, and air taxis may be part of our everyday life in the very near future . Drones and air taxis will create new means of mobility and transport routes. Drones will be used for surveillance, delivery, and in the construction sector as it moves toward automation. Read Full Story

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Airlines will stop coronavirus ‘ghost flights’—now we need to rethink the future of flying

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Even without ghost flights—empty planes that help an airline hold onto flight slots—the coronavirus highlights the environmental impact of the aviation industry. With the demand for flights drastically down amid the coronavirus outbreak, the airline industry is reeling. Avoiding air travel is top of mind for most of the public, and that means revenue losses—of up to $113 billion, according to the International Air Transport Association , if COVID-19 spreads broadly—but it also means that we’re in a crucial moment to reassess the industry’s impact on the environment. Read Full Story

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7 ways flying could change in the age of COVID-19 (and 1 way it definitely won’t)

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The airlines are VERY concerned about your safety, everywhere but actually on the packed plane. Cruise ships offer a deadly petri dish for COVID-19 to spread, but air travel doesn’t seem to be all that wise either. Airports are full of cramped lines. Planes have built their entire business model on packing as many people as possible into a small space that’s filled with recycled air. And, of course, a single infected person flying from one city to another can spread a pandemic, too. Read Full Story

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These kites generate wind power by flying through the air

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In places where erecting massive wind turbines is impossible, wind power might still be feasible. On a recent day in August in a field near Munich, Germany, a group of engineers launched a kite-like electric plane into the air and watched for the first time as it flew in figure eights in the sky. The device is one of a handful to take a different approach to wind energy: Instead of a traditional wind turbine with a massive tower and huge blades (that’s anchored to the ground), it shrinks the system into a tiny footprint and sends it into the air. Read Full Story

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Will you need a COVID-19 vaccine to fly?

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‘Immunity passports’ might be coming to air travel—but should they? Airlines have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic with policies on face masks, keeping middle seats empty, and requiring evidence of a negative coronavirus test before heading to some destinations. So when the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are rolled out in the coming months, will you have to prove your immunization to board a plane? Read Full Story

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This common speaking method may be one reason why some countries have more COVID cases

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Researchers compared COVID-19 rates in 26 countries to the frequency of aspirated consonants in those countries. In English, the letters P , T , and K are aspirated, meaning that when spoken, numerous small droplets fly from the mouth of the speaker, into the air. In times of COVID-19, this matters: It means that casual conversation in English may be more likely to potentially spread the virus . Read Full Story

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These drones look for trash in waterways—and then send sailing drones to clean it up

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Together, flying drones and sailing drones are helping to clear rivers of plastic waste and oil spills. In a river in the Danish city of Århus, a small machine called the WasteShark now autonomously sails through the water collecting trash, bringing it to shore, and then recharging itself. Soon, a drone will begin flying through the air to help: Using a special lens that collects data to be crunched by a machine learning algorithm, that drone can identify pieces of plastic or other garbage and direct the sailing drone to pick them up. The system can also identify oil spills, which the WasteShark can help clean up with a special filter. Read Full Story

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