Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day he reads through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.
In Exponential Minds’ Future Trends – EV Cost Parity by 2018 we look at EV parity hitting us in 2018, genetically-engineered Canadian Salmon, Solar > Coal, DARPA’s ‘disruptioneering’, and Ford’s patent to remove the steering wheel and pedals.
Electric vehicles to cost the same as conventional cars by 2018
The cost of owning an electric car will fall to the same level as petrol-powered vehicles next year, according to bold new analysis from UBS which will send shockwaves through the automobile industry.
Experts from the investment bank’s “evidence lab” made the prediction after tearing apart one of the current generation of electric cars to examine the economics of electric vehicles (EVs).
They found that costs of producing EVs were far lower than previously thought but there is still great potential to make further savings, driving down the price of electric cars.
Read more at The Telegraph
First genetically engineered salmon sold in Canada
Genetically engineered salmon has reached the dinner table. AquaBounty Technologies, the company in Maynard, Massachusetts, that developed the fish, announced on 4 August that it has sold some 4.5 tonnes of its hotly debated product to customers in Canada.
The sale marks the first time that a genetically engineered animal has been sold for food on the open market. It took AquaBounty more than 25 years to get to this point.
The fish, a variety of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), is engineered to grow faster than its non-genetically modified counterpart, reaching market size in roughly half the time — about 18 months. AquaBounty sold its first commercial batch at market price: US$5.30 per pound ($11.70 per kilogram), says Ron Stotish, the company’s chief executive. He would not disclose who bought it.
Read more at Nature
The world’s largest floating solar farm is producing energy atop a former coal mine
The Chinese city of Huainan is rich in coal—very rich. By one 2008 estimate, it has nearly a fifth of all of China’s coal reserves.
Now the city has become home to the world’s largest floating solar farm. Appropriately, it has been built atop a former coal mine, which had become a lake after being flooded with groundwater. The China Daily reports that the farm started generating electricity earlier this week.
The 40-megawatt power plant consists of 120,000 solar panels covering an area of more than 160 American football fields. The $45-million investment could help power 15,000 homes for a whole year. Here’s a drone tour of the solar farm, set to electronic music:
Read more at Quartz
DARPA Disruptioneering mini-programs aims to accelerate breakthroughs
DARPA announced the first programs under its new Disruptioneering effort, which pushes forfaster identification and exploration of bold and risky ideas with the goal of accelerating scientific discovery.
Under the new concept, DSO program managers intend to develop small programs of $5 million or less in total funding on an expedited timeline, with an initial target of less than 90 days for progressing from idea inception to contract award and a downstream target of fewer than 75 days.
Fundamental Design (FUN DESIGN) and Imaging Through Almost Anything, Anywhere (ITA3) are the first programs.
FUN DESIGN aims to investigate new fundamental computational and mathematical building blocks for representing novel and optimized designs of mechanical systems.
Read more at Next Big Future
Ford patents removable pedals, steering wheel in self-driving cars
Most concept cars that tout autonomy tend to have some complicated system whereby the pedals and/or the steering wheel fold into the dashboard when not in use. Ford’s latest patent takes a different, and admittedly easier approach.
The system is pretty straightforward — instead of some convoluted folding, the pedals and steering wheel are simply removable. According to the patent, Ford envisions the system as something that could permit a steering wheel for development purposes or customer desire, but could otherwise be taken out.
Read more at CNET