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Wing has confirmed it is testing a quieter delivery drone

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Nine days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on complaints from residents of Bonython, the Australian township where Wing, the drone delivery company spun out of Google, had set up shop.

Wing is testing using drones to deliver everyday staples like groceries, hardware, and over-the-counter medicines. Townspeople compared the sounds of Wing’s delivery drones as a “chain saw gone ballistic,” causing some to spend less time outside, even as it caused the town’s canine population a considerable amount of anxiety.

On Friday, a Wing spokesperson confirmed with Business Insider that it has begun testing a quieter drone that “blends in” with nearby sounds.

“We’ve developed and are testing a new propeller that results in a quieter, lower-pitched sound that blends in with other sounds that commonly occur in residential neighborhoods,” the spokesperson said.

As reported by the Journal, Wing responded to noise complaints by altering flight routes — so as to not always fly over the same homes — and by reducing the drones’ airspeed. The report mentioned that a quieter drone was being developed, but hadn’t indicated that testing had begun.

Read more: Alphabet says 2 of its ambitious side projects are ready for the big leagues

Wing was first unveiled in 2014, under the name Project Wing, as part of the Google X skunkworks. In 2015, X moved under the auspices of Alphabet, Google’s newly-formed parent company, taking Project Wing with it. In mid-2018, Alphabet dropped the “project,” spinning Wing out into its own fully-fledged company.

Wing is Alphabet’s answer to competitors like Amazon, which have expressed ambitions to move the future of logistics to the sky. Last month, Wing announced it will launch its first European delivery services in Finland in spring 2019.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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