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Bay Area Startup Sets Sights on Developing ‘Perpetually Flying Drone’

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EMERYVILLE (CBS SF) — A Bay Area startup has set its sights on developing a “perpetually flying drone”, that can stay airborne for days, or even weeks at a time, by using artificial intelligence to detect rising air thermals.

Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, based in Emeryville, says it successfully completed a 26-hour, non-stop flight earlier this year.

Stefan Kraus, the co-founder and CTO, dismisses critics who pass off the effort as mere science fiction talk.

“We have the engineers, we have the science. We do know what we’re doing,” said Kraus. “By the end of this year you will. So by 2022, absolutely.”

The company’s flagship drone, the K1000 Ultra Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial System, has a wingspan of 16 feet, but weighs only 15 pounds.

The large wings also provide ample surface area for solar panels, that are used to recharge the battery. According to Kraus, the aircraft’s proprietary materials add strength and rigidity, but not weight.

To further reduce weight, the vehicle has no landing gear, and instead scrapes to a halt on replaceable 3D-printed plastic skids.

“This is basically like my own child. For me, this is everything,” said Kraus.

Fatema Hamdani, the other co-founder and CEO, said the engineering and design teams looked to nature for inspiration for long-endurance flights.

According to Hamdani, the aircraft’s sensors scan for thermals, rising pockets of hot air, and shut off the engines to conserve power. The engine’s blades then fold back to reduce drag, and the drone essentially converts to a glider.

“So we looked at birds, birds that fly long distances,” he said. “They’re not constantly flapping their wings. We are constantly monitoring environmental conditions, algorithmically, then feeding that back into the autopilot so we can optimize on that.”

Hamdani hopes long endurance drone flights will allow technology to “change the world”, by improving long-term surveillance or search and rescue operations. The company is also testing radio and cell phone transmitters on board.

Being airborne for long stretches also has implications for climate research and real-time 24/7 monitoring of wildfires. Traditional manned flights over wildfires are often difficult and hazardous because of smoke, and usually do not occur during nighttime hours.

“Persistent assets that are flying nonstop, fully autonomously, most cost effectively and efficiently, can change how we do disaster management,” said Hamdani. “Today we’re doing what people thought would never be possible. It’s a contribution, and all of us are drops in the ocean that contribute to changing the world.”

Source Here: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

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Prior Infection, Vaccines Provide Best Protection From COVID

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A new study that compares coronavirus protection from prior infection and vaccination concludes getting the shots is still the safest way to prevent COVID-19.

Original Article: seattletimes.com

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UPDATE: 2 Pedestrians Killed, 1 Hurt in Horrific San Jose Collision

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Two pedestrians were killed and another injured Tuesday night after they were struck crossing Almaden Expressway in San Jose.

According to San Jose police, officers responded to the area of Almaden Expressway and Foxworthy Ave. for a traffic collision involving a vehicle and three pedestrians at approximately 8:24 p.m.

A preliminary investigation has revealed that a 2017 Toyota sedan was traveling northbound on Almaden Expressway in the No. 1 lane in the area of Foxworthy Ave.

The Toyota then struck three adult pedestrians who were crossing Almaden Expressway outside of any marked crosswalk. The pedestrians were crossing from the west side towards the east side of the expressway.

The investigation has also revealed that the vehicle had a green light at the intersection.

Two male pedestrians were transported to local hospitals where they were pronounced dead. A third female victim suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. The identity of the victims will be released by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office after their next of kin are notified.

The driver, who also sustained moderate injuries and was taken to a local hospital, was cooperating with the investigation. There was no indication of drug or alcohol influence.

San Jose police said it was the 6th fatal collision and victims number 6 and 7 of 2022. This is also the 4th and 5th pedestrian fatalities of 2022.

Anyone with information on this investigation is urged to contact Detective Templeman #3566 of the San José Police Department’s Traffic Investigations Unit at 408-277-4654.

Original Post: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

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US Faces Wave of Omicron Deaths in Coming Weeks, Models Say

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The fast-moving omicron variant may cause less severe disease on average, yet COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are climbing. Deaths could top 1 million by early spring. “It unfortunately is going to get worse before it gets better,” an epidemiologist said.

Original Article: seattletimes.com

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