Innovators

Forget flying cars — Aviator Cycles wants to get flying motorcycles off the ground

A Houston entrepreneur and investor is bullish on bringing flying motorcycles to existence.

Photo courtesy of Aviator Cycles

When it comes to flying cars, Jeff Chimenti wants to give Elon Musk a run for his money — even though Musk, famously, has a lot of that.

But Chimenti is confident that his startup, Aviator Cycles, might be one of the first to get a vehicle off the ground and up into consumer markets. That's because he's not focusing on cars at all — the prototype, unveiled at a recent promotional event in the Woodlands, is a critical propulsion system for what Chimenti calls a personal air vehicle, or PAV.

The PAVs that Aviator Cycles plans to make are more like motorcycles or four-wheelers and intended for recreational use — but the high-tech system could change how other designers make flying vehicles.

"All of this is really happening," says Chimenti, a Houston-based investor and chief visionary officer and co-founder for the startup. "We're pushing it forward."

Read more on InnovationMap.

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Formula One driver Max Verstappen won this week's race in Monaco.

Photo courtesy of Honda Motor Co. Inc.

If you've spent any time watching Formula One racing this season, it's hard not to be excited by the progression of events. The sport has been dominated by Mercedes-AMG and its world conquering driver, Lewis Hamilton, but 2021 looks to be different. Red Bull Racing Honda has a star driver of its own in Max Verstappen but the car, Honda power unit, and teammate Sergio Perez also look to be in top form. The team and its drivers are presenting quite the challenge for Mercedes, as the dominant team is in second place for the first time in a long time.

Red Bull Racing Honda The team leads F1's constructor championshipPhoto courtesy of Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The win by Verstappen sets Honda atop the leaderboard for the F1 constructors championship for the first time since the end of the 1991 season. Honda previously announced its exit from the sport, and will turn over power unit development efforts to Red Bull itself, which has begun a hiring spree to fill key positions in development and management.

For its part, Red Bull has to be happy with the result, both for its drivers and for the team. Verstappen's win puts him ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and moves the team itself to the top of the leaderboard. The result is impressive, despite the fact that Monaco is a notoriously difficult track for passing. Max started in second and finished first, but teammate Sergio Perez moved from his qualifying position of ninth up to fourth, gaining several additional points in the process.

Red Bull Racing Honda Honda is set to exit F1 after 2021Photo courtesy of Honda Motor Co. Inc.

In two weeks, the Red Bull cars will be put to the test again in Azerbaijan. The team has seen mixed results at the Baku circuit in recent years, but this time it will be defending its one-point lead over Mercedes. As for Max, his four-point lead over Hamilton is the big headline of today, but anything can happen as the sport moves to its sixth race of the 2021 season.

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Ford PowerUp brings technology updates to existing vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford PowerUp has launched, bringing with it the ability to keep vehicles up-to-date with the latest software technology, so long as their systems can handle it.

"Software updates are common across billions of connected devices but not yet for vehicles. Ford Power-Up software updates will change that by quickly bringing it to millions of people," says Alex Purdy, director, business operations, enterprise connectivity, Ford Motor Company. "We've invested in more seamless technology so updates can happen while you're sleeping – making your next ride a better experience."

Introducing Ford Power-Up | Innovation | Ford www.youtube.com

The first PowerUp updates happened in March. Ford F-150 and Mustang Mach-E customers were the beneficiaries. Now the company is accelerating the program pushing out over-the-air updates to over 6 million vehicles already on the road. In order to receive those updates, vehicles must have an embedded modem. Nearly all new models have the feature.

The wireless upgrades enhance features, quality, experiences, capability, and convenience. The fresh technology is able to update the vast majority of vehicle computer modules – more than 110 on higher end models – and reduce the need for a trip to the dealership for service.

As part of the PowerUp rollout, Ford is also adding embedded Amazon Alexa to vehicles with three years of free connectivity. The voice command functionality allows users to be connected to their vehicle as well as the Amazon services in their home.

At first, 700,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada will get the tech with millions more to follow. The first models to get connected will be Bronco, Edge, F-150, Mustang Mach-E, and Super Duty that are equipped with SYNC 4 technology.

"Democratizing technology and putting it within reach of millions of customers has been a part of Ford's DNA dating back to the Model T, and our new collaboration is a continuation of that legacy," says Ned Curic, vice president, Alexa Automotive. "We can't wait for Ford customers to experience the best of what Alexa and voice AI can do while on the road – including new features and capabilities that will be delivered seamlessly through future over-the-air software updates. We love the vote of confidence from Ford to deepen our work together and continue making the driving experience more connected, entertaining, and productive."

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