Also inside, Apple calls time on its self-driving car project

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

March 1, 2024

4 Min Read
AutoFlight's electric aerial vehicle
AutoFlight's electric aerial vehicleAUTOFLIGHT

Here are the most-read stories in IoT World Today this week:

Air Taxi Flies Between China Cities; 3-Hour Drive Cut to 20 Minutes

An eVTOL (electric takeoff and landing) startup conducted the first inter-city electric taxi trip in China.

An AutoFlight electric aerial vehicle (EAV) flew between the southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai, in a demonstration flight of the autonomous, five-seater Prosperity EAV.

The flight cut what would be a three-hour car drive to a 20-minute flight.

It is believed to be the world’s first public flight of an EAV on a cross-sea and inter-city route.

The EAV strategy in the region calls for the opening of thousands of vertiports and hundreds of eVTOL travel routes across the Greater Bay Area in southern China with passenger-carrying flights expected in two years.

Read more about the project >>>

Apple Kills Self-Driving Car Project

Apple has called time on its project to build a self-driving electric car.

The secretive long-running program, known internally as Project Titan, had been running for a decade, having first been established in 2014.

The announcement was made by Bloomberg. Apple has not commented publicly on the development.

The self-driving car was originally envisaged as a way for Apple to diversify beyond its traditional markets of smartphones and computer hardware. However, over the decade since its inception, it became clear that the pace of development was too slow.

Related:Most Read This Week: Eve Humanoid Robot’s New Abilities, Violent Crowd Destroys Waymo Self-Driving Taxi

Read more about the project >>>

Air Taxis Fly Pilotless in Packs in China

A group of 12 Chinese eVTOL vehicles took off, flew and landed together in China.

A video from EAV-maker EHang showcased the vehicles taking off together from an airfield in Hefei, China.

The video shows the vehicles all lifting straight up at the same time, flying in different groups, flying over the airfield and then all landing in a row at the same time.

EHang’s vehicles are approved for flying passengers and previously received a standard airworthiness certificate (AC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the first of its kind globally for an EAV.

The long-range goal of the flying vehicles industry is to have EAVs evolve from piloted vehicles, such as the coming air taxis, to aerial vehicles that fly automatically, with no crew onboard. 

See the flying vehicles in action >>>

Tesla Humanoid Robot Showcases Improved Walking Ability in New Video

Tesla has shared a new clip of its humanoid robot, Optimus, demonstrating its improved walking capabilities.

In the clip, Optimus is shown walking around a factory space with the caption “getting my daily steps in.”

The announcement is the latest in a spate of updates from the company as it gears up for Optimus’ commercialization. Musk told reporters in January there was a “good chance” the first units of Optimus would be shipped to customers this year, though an exact timeline has not been disclosed.

The previous update showed the robot without any external casing as it walked along a factory space, moving slightly more rigidly than in the latest update.

See Optimus’ walking capabilities >>>

Humanoid Robots and the Future of Manufacturing

Humanoid robots are poised for significant growth in 2024, amid intensifying competition to commercialize them. 

The promise of humanoids as a more efficient alternative is already driving investment interest, with designs backed by NASA, OpenAI and Intel, to name a few.

While many of these designs are pitched to supplement a dwindling labor force, questions have arisen as to just how useful these robots will be in the warehouses and manufacturing sites of our future.

IoT World Today spoke to industry experts from warehouse automation companies Exotec, One Way Ventures and Plus One Robotics to hear their thoughts on the humanoid robotics race, and what role they are expected to play in the future.

Dive deeper into humanoid robots in the factory >>>

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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