World’s first long-range all-electric BYD Double-Decker buses introduced in London

World’s first long-range all-electric BYD Double-Decker buses introduced in London

London has become the first city to have on its revenue services routers, world’s first zero-emission, long-range, all-electric BYD Double-Decker buses.

The move by Transport for London (TfL) has been pegged by many as rather a bold move. The first BYD Double-Decker bus was deployed on its route with a special ceremony at London city hall with London’s Deputy Mayor of Environment and Energy, Matthew Pencharz formally receiving the first bus from BYD Europe.

Pencharz during the event that the running costs of these buses as well as some of the maintenance and operations cost are much lower than currently used buses. With zero-emission and zero-tailpipe-pollution, there is a huge environmental benefit specifically for London where pollution levels are relatively high compared to some similarly sized and populated cities around the world.

As the plan goes, currently TfL is commissioning five of the all-electric double decker buses on Route 98 operated on behalf of TfL by Metroline. Route 98 was chosen given its status as a pollution hotspot in the city.

BDY Europe will be providing support to TfL and Metroline for installation of fast charging equipment at Metroline’s Willesden Bus Garage in north London. Additionally, BYD will provide driver training for the bus operators.

BYD, the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer, designed and developed the vehicles to Transport of London’s specifications. The five buses scheduled for deployment are more than 33 feet long and feature air conditioning, seats for 54 passengers with space for 27 standing passengers (81 total).

The buses are equipped with BYD-designed and built Iron-Phosphate batteries, delivering 345 kWh of power that come with a Industry-benchmark 12 year battery warranty, the longest electric battery warranty available. The batteries can power the bus for over 24 hours and up to 190 miles of typical urban driving on the service routes with a single daily recharging requiring only four hours. TfL plans to charge the buses overnight using low-cost, off-peak electricity to provide additional cost savings.

Europe and Russia launch joint Space Mission to Mars

Europe and Russia launch joint Space Mission to Mars

The Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli blasted off at 0931:42 GMT (5:31:42 a.m. EDT) from Complex 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Shortly after the fourth burn, ExoMars separated from Breeze-M and deployed its solar panels.

Luzin predicted the mission’s presumed success is likely to have benefits for Russia’s space program, which is struggling to stay competitive. “The second part of the ExoMars mission may be delayed to 2020”, said Igor Komarov, the chief of Roscosmos. In 2013, United States’ Beagle Probe disappeared, and ESA is trying to avoid these kinds of setbacks.

Dr Manish Patel, from the Open University, who is in charge of TGO’s ozone-mapping ultraviolet (UV) spectrometer instrument, said: “This is a fantastic mission, massive”.

TGO will photograph the Red Planet and analyse its air, splitting off from the lander dubbed Schiaparelli days before entering Mars’ atmosphere. Its task is to study life-hinting gases, such as methane, which is linked to life on Earth.

Its main job will be to test the descent and landing technology for ExoMars 2018, the next stage of the mission which will send a British-built rover to Mars in two years’ time.

The 660kg Schiaparelli will land on the Martian surface to collect meteorological and other types of data.

ESA said the rover landing “remains a significant challenge” however.

ExoMars, which cost the European Space Agency alone 1.3 billion euros ($1.44 billion), is the first interplanetary mission jointly undertaken by ESA and Roscomsos.

KAZAKHSTAN – Two robotic spacecraft on Monday began a seven-month journey to Mars as part of a European-Russian unmanned space mission to sniff out leads to life on the Red Planet. The second is planned for launch in 2018 and is a rover and surface science platform.

The joint investigation will involve the search for natural gases that scientists believe may be a sign of human life on Mars, The Australian reported.

“It’s been a long journey getting the first ExoMars mission to the launch pad, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our global teams, a new era of Mars exploration is now within our reach”, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, director general of the European Space Agency, said in a statement.

Neither the ESA nor Roscosmos has the best track record when it comes to Martian missions, and for now, both space agencies are breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Traffic around Mars is about to get a bit heavier.

ExoMars is made up of 2 phases. Today’s launch brought along 2 different modules that make up the first phase: the Trace Gas Orbiter and the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module known as “Schiaparelli”.

Genetic Algorithms, Making a Robot Evolve

genetic algorithms
genetic algorithms

Evolution is a fact of life, it is the defining characteristic of life itself, but that doesn’t mean a stupid robot can’t evolve. For his entry into the Hackaday Pi Zero contest, diemastermonkey is doing just that: evolution for robots built around microcontrollers and a Raspberry Pi.

The project is a physical extension to genetic algorithms. Just like DNA and proteins have no idea what they’re actually doing, microcontrollers don’t either. Instead of randomly switching up base pairs and amino acids, his project makes random connections pins depending on the values of those pins.

The potential of these randomly programmed robots is only as good as the fitness function, and so far he has seen some surprising success. When putting these algorithms into a microcontroller connected to a tilting table mechanism and a PIR sensor, the robot eventually settled on a bit of code that would keep a ball in motion. You can check out the video of this below.