“Schumi” is back! Mick Schumacher might not only boost Formula 1 viewing figures, but also make a major pioneering contribution. A company in Australia is designing e-aircraft as smart mobility solutions for the emergency services, while in New Jersey LED lamps are being used to fight bacteria and viruses.
Back at the turn of the millennium, Sunday afternoon was the time to watch Michael Schumacher. From 2 pm onward, over ten million German motor racing fans stared almost hypnotized at their TV sets. It didn’t matter whether their own cars were from Porsche or Matchbox – on Sundays nearly everyone was in the same Ferrari.
Next spring this scene could be repeated in German living rooms. Mick Schumacher, Michael’s son, will make his debut in Formula 1 racing. This week the US team “Haas F1” announced it was giving the racing legend’s son his first chance at Formula 1. Interest in motor racing has been dwindling in Germany, but that could change. Schumachers attract viewers. In addition, Mick could become Formula 2 champion on the weekend. The 21-year-old’s talent appears to have been laid in his cockpit.
But Formula 1 can also interest devotees of electric mobility, because the motor racing engineers often take a visionary approach. From 2009 to 2013, for example, racing cars used a system called KERS. The Kinetic Energy Recovery System stored energy during braking. On long straights, the drivers could use the recycled electrical energy for an extra boost (10 percent more power) in the passing lane. And now racing drivers use the even more efficient Energy Recovery System (ERS). The knowledge that scientists and engineers gather while chasing world champion titles regularly feeds into the development of normal passenger cars. So Formula 1 is not only a sporting event, but also a crystal ball showing the future of mobility – and therefore a bit of IAA.
Kangaroos, koalas and co. While Germany, the US and Japan enjoy the most fame for their innovative mobility solutions, many people associate Australia only with the clear blue sea, Ozzie soaps and the unique wildlife. But despite having no “own brands” of cars, the land Down Under makes a success of mobility both on the ground and in the air. The national airline Qantas is regarded as the safest in the world.
When it comes to flying, the Australians really are innovative pioneers. Emergency doctors will soon be using electric aircraft to reach victims of snake bites or collisions with kangaroos. The vertical take-off AMSL Aero Vertiia should be able to transport patients to hospital faster and more safely than a helicopter and will enable door-to-door transport over large distances. The electric aircraft can travel 250 kilometers at a top speed of 300 km/h. An additional hydrogen power unit will increase the range by 800 kilometers. The Vertiia’s market launch is scheduled for 2023.
The transformation of mobility is progressing faster than even the most optimistic experts predicted. According to the German Energy Agency (dena), one fifth of all passenger cars registered between January and October had an alternative powertrain. Hybrids are especially popular. In all, 130,740 vehicles with a combination of combustion engine and electric motor were registered, which was 300 percent up on the same period last year.
Mars appears to be close. And we’re not only talking about chocolate bars at the supermarket checkout. The Red Planet has fascinated space travelers and Hollywood directors for many years. And a businessman who right now seems to be on the up-and-up wishes to fulfill one of humanity’s greatest dreams before half of Germany starts watching Formula 1 again. This is SpaceX founder Elon Musk. He presented his stellar plans at a media briefing in Berlin:
Just a year ago, local public transport was still regarded as one of the safest alternatives in urban mobility. Anyone who didn’t happen to run into a grumpy Berlin bus driver during the rush hour, or try to catch a bus or train too early on New Year’s Day, was sure to get from A to B safely. But then coronavirus arrived. Suddenly public transport was seen as a breeding ground for viruses – a kind of corona hotspot on wheels.
Even though vaccines against coronavirus are within reach, we will still need innovative ideas to tackle future pandemics. In New Jersey, US, the transport company is testing several hi-tech solutions at once for their long-term safety in local public transport.
For example, antimicrobial light from LEDs could greatly reduce the number of bacteria and viruses on surfaces such as seats and handrails. A three-stage ventilation system will filter and clean the air. New Jersey Transit, the state mobility company, wishes to use this technology in the future to protect its passengers more effectively against aerosols. Furthermore, the company is trialing video recognition to record passenger numbers and compile the results for mobile apps.
Did you know … that a board game will soon be available for fans of electric cars? Tobias Wagner from Munich, a passionate e-car driver and entrepreneur, has invented a game called “E gewinnt” (“E wins”). The players of the strategic game travel across Europe with a choice of six different electric vehicles as their playing piece. The inventor recently launched crowdfunding to support his idea, aiming to raise 20,000 euros to develop the game. And he did it – the fundraising scheme raked in a total of 24,000 euros.