May 19, 2020

CES Innovation Awards: Smart Cities

CES 2019
Ekin Bike Patrol
2 min
CES Innovation Awards: Smart Cities

The Consumer Electronics Show is an annual event, first held in 1967, that showcases next-generation developments in the field of consumer electronic products. Manufacturers, developers and suppliers from over 4,500 different companies attended the 2019 event, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, with more than 180,000 attendees.

Each year, the CES Innovation awards honor companies and products that have demonstrated outstanding feats of design and engineering. Event categories range from 3D Printing to Wearable Technologies to Cybersecurity to FItness, Sports and Biotech. Business Chief takes a look at five of the 11 honorees in the Smart Cities category.


Designed and manufactured by MANN+HUMMEL, qlair is an environmental health data analytics application that uses air quality sensors and smart home systems to provide proactive clean air management solutions. The app can predict poor air quality events, allowing users to take preparatory steps.

Ekin Bike Patrol

Istanbul-based smart security and enforcement technology company, Ekin - Safe City Solutions unveils the world’s first smart patrol bike. Aimed at parking enforcement agencies around the world, the Bike Patrol uses number plate recognition technology to execute parking enforcement on the move.


Made by French tech company Decayeux, the Mycolisbox is an electronic, smart click & collect parcel solution for residential and commercial buildings. Users can use an application to access the electronically-secured lockers.


An IoT solution for transforming traditional vending machines into smart objects, MatiPay is made by Sitael SPA. The technology functions as a mobile payment system that digitizes cash payments for use in purchasing physical and online goods, allowing for users’ identification, analysis and engagement in one tap.

ZOMEKit for Apartment Buildings

Manufactured by ZOME Energy Networks Inc, the ZOMEKit converts apartment complexes into energy grid-aware smart buildings, that provide cost efficiencies and revenue generation. The ZOME gateway technology integrates blockchain support which allows thermostats and appliances to function as transactive energy devices.


For more information and the full list of honorees, click here.

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Jun 16, 2021

Dr Peng Wei: Designing the Future of Autonomous Aircraft

3 min
NASA has announced that it will fund a new project, headed by Dr Peng Wei, to develop safety management systems for autonomous electric aircraft

Air traffic is expected to double by 2037. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world will need 37,000+ new passenger and freight aircraft, and more than half a million new pilots—unless we come up with another solution. Right now, a George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science professor, Dr Peng Wei, is starting to research autonomous electric aircraft design. 


NASA will fund the research, which will study how to minimise risks for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). As Airbus states: ‘Autonomous technologies also have the potential to improve air traffic management, enhance sustainability performance and further improve aircraft safety’. 


Who is Dr Wei? 

An assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Wei has researched aircraft control, optimisation, and AI and ML applications in aviation. Over the next three years, he’ll lead the US$2.5mn NASA grant project in collaboration with researchers from Vanderbilt, the University of Texas at Austin, and MIT’s Lincoln Lab


Why is His Research Important? 

Even though the wide adoption of self-piloting cars, much less aircraft, is still far down the road, technologies that Dr Wei and his colleagues are researching will form the commercial transport of the future. But aviation manufacturers, in order to produce autonomous aircraft, will have to meet extremely high safety standards. 


‘The key challenge for self-piloting capabilities is how the system reacts to unforeseen events’, said Arne Stoschek, Wayfinder Project Executive at Acubed. ‘That’s the big jump from automated to autonomous’. In the air, AI-piloted aircraft will have to manoeuvre around adverse weather conditions, such as wind and storms, and other high-altitude risks, such as GPS hacking, cyberattacks, and aircraft degradation. And the stakes are high.


‘If a machine learning algorithm makes a mistake in Facebook, TikTok, Netflix —that doesn't matter too much because I was just recommended a video or movie I don't like’, Dr Wei said. ‘But if a machine learning algorithm mistake happens in a safety-critical application, such as aviation or in autonomous driving, people may have accidents. There may be fatal results’. 


What Are His Other Projects? 

In addition to the new NASA research, Dr Wei has been awarded three other grants to pursue AI-piloted aircraft: 



Research like NASA and Dr Wei’s three-year programme will help improve how AI reacts and adapts to challenging air conditions. In coming years, autonomous aircraft will likely take off slowly, starting with small package delivery, then upgraded drones, and finally commercialised aircraft. But congestion issues will worsen until autonomous aircraft are the best alternative. 

According to BBC Future, by 2030, commuters will spend nearly 100 hours a year in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic jams, and 43 cities will be home to more than 10 million people. The final verdict? Bring on the AI-operated transit.

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