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Elon Musk: Here are SpaceX’s first 60 Starlink internet-beaming satellites

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SpaceX to launch space internet satellites
Falcon 9 is getting ready to take its first two Starlink internet satellites into orbit this Wednesday. Read more: http://zd.net/2BvqpA5

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has used Twitter to tease the imminent launch of the first batch of low Earth orbit satellites for providing broadband to humans across the planet.     

Musk is betting that his SpaceX Starlink constellation of around 12,000 satellites will be able to deliver high-speed internet to people at an affordable price.   

Musk on Sunday showed off images of some of the first 60 satellites that SpaceX will launch into space this week, probably on Wednesday, inside a Falcon 9 rocket.  

SEE: Tech budgets 2019: A CXO’s guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Musk has predicted the network will be able to go live in the mid-2020s once about 800 satellites have been launched. The network will eventually consist of around 12,000 satellites that would deliver 1Gbps speeds to users on Earth.

In April, US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SpaceX’s plan to launch 4,409 Starlink satellites with 1,584 orbiting at an altitude of 550km rather than the previous request of 1,150km. The FCC also approved over 7,000 additional Starlink satellites in November.   

Musk noted that the 60 satellites to be launched this week are “production design”, unlike its Tintin A and B demo satellites that were launched early last year. 

The plan is that thousands of small satellites will form a mesh network that will use V band, which covers 40GHz to 75GHz, to connect with each other. They’ll use Ka/Ku radio bands to deliver internet to receivers on Earth.

Other firms in the broadband space race include Kepler, Telesat Canada, LeoSat, and Amazon CEO’s Blue Origin.

Musk warned that “much will likely go wrong” on the first mission and that for “moderate” coverage, SpaceX would need 12 successful missions with about 60 satellites each to total 760 satellites. 

This week’s launch won’t become part of the actual Starlink mesh network. While the 60 satellites are production design, as Spacenews reports, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell last week said they were still demonstration satellites that are missing the equipment to link up as a mesh network. 

Amazon is currently known to be planning to put 3,236 internet-beaming satellites into low Earth orbit, with 784 at 367 miles (590km), 1,296 at 379 miles (610km), and 1,156 at 391 miles (630km).   

More on Elon Musk, SpaceX, and networking 



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Volvo created the “ultimate driving simulator” using the latest gaming tech

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Engineers at Volvo have created what they call the ultimate driving simulator. The driving simulator wasn’t created for fun. Rather it was created to help them improve vehicle safety and autonomous driving technology. Volvo has a very long history of vehicle safety innovations.

The new ultimate driving simulator provides Volvo with groundbreaking mixed-reality simulation. The set up has a moving driving seat, steering wheel with haptic feedback, and a virtual reality headset. Volvo engineers say the driving simulator makes it hard to tell reality from simulation, which was precisely the point of building it.

The technology behind the driving simulator uses the real-time 3D development platform Unity and tech from a virtual and mixed reality company called Varjo. The simulator involves driving a real car on real roads combining life-like high definition 3D graphics with an augmented reality headset and a full-body Teslasuit providing feedback from a virtual world and monitoring bodily reactions.

The software and hardware allow Volvo engineers to simulate fewer traffic scenarios on a real test track while using a real car in complete safety. The system allows the engineers to gain important insights on the interaction between drivers and the vehicle to develop new safety, driver assistance, and autonomous driving features.

Test drivers can be exposed to imagined active safety and driver assistance features, upcoming autonomous drive user interfaces, future car models, and many other scenarios. The system can be used on a real test track road or in the test lab with fully customizable scenarios of endless variety. Volvo recently demonstrated its ultimate driving simulator, and the video can be seen above. Engineers note that when developing safety systems for vehicles, testing is critical, but testing the systems in the real world can be dangerous, time-consuming, and expensive. Moving the testing to the virtual world saves significant time and money.

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2022 Genesis GV70 will debut with innovative biometrics and rear-seat detection technology

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It seems the 2022 Genesis GV70 will offer more than just unprecedented luxury and good looks. According to the Korean Car Blog, the newest GV70 will feature an in-vehicle fingerprint-activated biometrics system and a new rear-seat detection radar sensor.

The Santa Fe SUV was among the first Hyundai vehicles to get in-vehicle fingerprint scanners, but the new system in the Genesis GV70 can do more than open the door or start the engine. The fingerprint sensor is located under the Start/Stop button and allows you to pay for fuel and parking via Genesis CarPay, and you can do it all without repeatedly entering confusing passwords.

It also functions in Valet Mode by hiding your phonebook and home address from the infotainment display. And since your biometric data is linked to the vehicle’s settings, you can open the door using the Genesis Connected App and start the engine using fingerprint recognition, all without using a smart key.

Also, touching the fingerprint sensor restores all customer information for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel orientation, latest navigation data, and the infotainment volume – all of which are stored with your fingerprint data.

The newest Genesis GV70 will also come with a sophisticated rear-seat detection system. This technology is nothing new. But again, Genesis is taking it further by utilizing a ceiling-mounted, ultra-sensitive radar sensor in place of a conventional ultrasonic sensor.

According to Genesis, the new radar sensor is more sensitive and more accurate in detecting subtle movements. It’s so keen, in fact, that Genesis claims it can detect the beating heart of a sleeping infant in the back seat.

The powerful sensor can read through non-metallic materials like blankets, clothes, seats, and even dog crates to detect your pets. The newest GV70 luxury crossover will be the first to get this innovative rear-seat reminder technology, while other Hyundai vehicles are expected to soon inherit this new tech.

The 2022 GV70 is the second SUV from Genesis after launching the GV80 this year. Based on the G70 sport-luxury sedan, the GV70 is the purest interpretation of the brand’s ‘Athletic Elegance’ design idiom.

The powertrain specifics are still forthcoming, but we’re expecting the new GV70 to have standard FWD and optional AWD with either a 2.5-liter turbo-four or a twin-turbo V6 motor. It will first go on sale in South Korea by this December, while the first U.S. deliveries arrive by mid-2021.

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Audi Sport unveils e-tron FE07 Formula E racing car

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The 2021 Formula E season is fast approaching, and Audi is wasting no time unveiling its brand-new e-tron FE07 racing car. With a new MGU05 electric powertrain developed in-house, Audi Sport claims its e-tron FE07 race car achieves 95-percent efficiency and goes from zero to sixty mph in 2.8-seconds.

“Motorsport has always been of decisive importance for Audi and its technology development,” said Allan McNish, Team Principal of Audi Sport, and former Le Mans champion and F1 racing driver. “That is also where our most famous slogan, ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ comes from.”

The centerpiece of it all is Audi’s proprietary MGU05 electric powertrain. It’s a lightweight, one-speed drivetrain that weighs less than 77 pounds (35 kilograms). The MGU/Inverter unit has a high-efficiency cooling system, six electrical phases, and a high-speed inner rotor with surface magnets.

Audi’s new electric powertrain walks the talk, too. During numerous in-house tests, the powertrain was given the beans and achieved maximum efficiency during repeated high-voltage, high-stress cycles.

“We have achieved an overall efficiency of more than 95-percent for our powertrain,” said Tristan Summerscale, Formula E Project Leader at Audi Sport. “The new MGU inverter unit has an efficiency of even more than 97-percent in all relevant driving conditions.”

What’s more impressive is the amount of punch in a seemingly compact package. According to Audi Sport, its newest MGU05 powertrain delivers twice the efficiency of a comparable gasoline engine with the same 250 kW (335 horsepower) output. “This clearly shows what an efficient solution an electric powertrain is,” added Summerscale.

Of course, Audi’s premiere Formula E race car is not complete without a set of fresh exterior livery. It receives a white primer coat with contrasting green and bright orange details. The Audi e-tron FE07 will debut at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain, this weekend for pre-season group testing.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Formula E season starts in Chile in mid-January. Next year’s Formula E season is more exciting as it’s the first series to be officially recognized by the FIA World Championship.

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