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2018 quite a year.

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop' started by amusicsite, 31 Dec 2018.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    I think it's been quite a year in the science and technology world this year.

    Starting with man of the moment Elon Musk, he got his Tesla Model 3 production up and running so they made a profit.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/12/30/2018-was-a-giant-awesome-year-for-tesla-because-elon-musk/

    This did not go unnoticed in the transportation world and it seems just about every company involved with transportation has finally taken electrification of the drive train seriously. From all the car companies to the operators of the largest shipping containers, every company has this year put into action a plan to convert to using electricity and storage over petroleum based power for turning wheels and doing heavy lifting. With many of the first generation hitting the market within the next two years.

    Tesla Semi truck has been seen doing test runs between Tesla factories, possibly carrying batteries from the mega plant to the production lines. Not officially launched yet but I think it will be a big seller next year, depending on how many they can make.

    Space X not done too bad either with another solid 21 launches, the unforgettable Falcon Heavy launch with Elon's red Tesla and more news about how the Starships that will go to Mars might look like.

    The Boring Company got it's first test tunnel built and Elon even built a raft to save some boys trapped in a cave, even if that one did not end well. He also offend the regulators with a joke about stock prices.

    But all in all a good year for him and his business.

    Rocket Lab had a good year too getting it's launch business off the ground. Their aim to make 3D printed rockets that can quickly and cheaply get you into space offers a distinct advantage over the likes of SpaceX where you may have to wait a long time for a lunch window.

    Virgin Galactic got back in the air too and did a test flight into the very base of what we call space. Though I think their long term mission is to offer flights half way round the would in 20 minutes bouncing off the edge of space, more than frighting stuff into space. So height is not important as getting from A to B as quick as possible, using traditional runways too.

    Blue Origin completed a lot of testing too.

    So all the pieces are in place for an exciting space filled future.

    While on the space subject it's been quite a good year there too. With China going to the dark side of the moon but ditched it's space station. Many vising asteroids and other rocks floating round the sun including the JAXA Hayabusa2 and Nasa's Osiris-Rex. That object Oumuamua which flew through from outside our system. Nasa has a new lander on Mars, Parker Solar Probe but unfortunately it's new space telescope is starting to look like a white elephant.
     
  2. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Not to shabby a year in the computer world too. It really has been a year of A.I. and if you want to see how far we have come then you just have to look at Sony's Aibo which is miles ahead of the first version. It's movement and environment learning skills look amazing and this is a product of A.I. learning over the last few years that has enabled us to produce and manufacture devices that can react quick enough to correct their weight and keep balanced. The beauty of A.I. is you don't need to teach this to other machines, you can just copy and paste the knowledge. So from here on in, all robots should be able to keep their balance and learn their environment. The next challenge is really to make them faster and stronger.

    Waymo, the self driving car company from Google launched a limited public test service and I'm sure we will hear more from them in 2019. Google also launched it's new A.I. driven assistant that can make phone calls on your behalf. Which showcased how close we are getting for A.I. systems to understand what is said and talk in a reasonably natural way.

    There was also the Deep Fake videos that showed how easily we can now substitute something in a video that looks fairly realistic. Which is only going to get better when we all have graphics capabilities like the Nvidia GeForce RTX. Nvidia also showed off amazing photo restoration abilities. Though the crypto currencies gold rush seemed to have stalled for Nvidia this year.

    ARM shook things up a bit with the announcement of the 8cx which looks likely to start taking on the low end computer and laptop market dominated by complex instruction set chips from Intel and AMD. Some companies are even looking at the ARM architecture for the server market due to their low power and multi core performance. While Meltdown and Spectre bugs caused a lot of patching, which seems to have slowed down a lot of machines as well.

    Not such a great year for Microsoft and Windows, which seems to have had more bad press than good this year. Linux on the other hand got a nice boost from Valve with their implementation of a WINE like wrapper for Steam to bring Windows only games over to Linux.

    Not a great year for Huawei as it seems the USA are determined to break their dominance in the mobile network world. Sighting mainly they may be a tool for their government to spy on others, heaven forbid the USA would stoop so low....
     
    Yellow Fang likes this.
  3. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    This is quite an interesting observation, "Combustion engine car sales to hit peak demand in 2018, say analysts"
    https://www.ft.com/content/62506c24-0aae-11e9-9fe8-acdb36967cfc

    It's not hard to believe too, I think almost every week last year I read about one industry or another planing to dump the internal combustion engine (ICE) for an electric drive chain alternative.

    I think this story sort of sums it up.

    https://www.volvoce.com/global/en/n...ruction-equipment-and-skanskas-electric-site/

    Replace the ICE with electric motors and while you are at it automate the process. Run the machinery off renewables generated on site.

    What's not to like. Reduce staff and injuries that they may get. Improve throughput as the machines are better drivers. Fuel costs could potentially drop to zero if you can generate it yourself onsite.

    Alongside this we have robot brick layers, 3D printed buildings, electric plant equipment is starting to come online like the JCB electric digger. Everyone is scared of a Tesla type company getting the head start on them and starting to take electric seriously. Ferries are going electric and other ships want in on the action too.

    For a good few decades the ICE / oil industries have dragged their feet to keep the rather inefficient rotary engine going beyond it's natural life. It was making them too much money. But now they are all scared some 'new meida' start-up kid is going to take their market share, while their customers are asking more and more questions of them. I think R&D in ICE will drastically decline over the next few years and it's looking like the demand for electric is going to continue doubling. Quicker if they can make them fast enough. I really think within a couple of years ICE will be the niche product.