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Virgin Hyperloop One Announces World’s Longest Test Track

Plus, a company partnering with IBM to use AI to stop wildfires before they burn out of control, and the Canadian government plans to put $600 million toward low Earth orbit satellites over the next decade.

35 km

Virgin Hyperloop One, just one of the companies developing transport systems that would ultimately move people and cargo almost as fast as the speed of sound, has announced plans for what will be the longest test track in the world to date at 35 km (21.7 mi). In partnership with Saudi Arabia, Virgin would build the tube in the western region of the country. Although the test track is still in the preliminary planning stages, the company says a complete hyperloop system in Saudi Arabia could reduce travel time between the cities of Riyadh and Jedda from 10 hours by car to about an hour and 15 minutes. Source: New Atlas


The current wisdom in California is that there is no fire season — it’s always fire season. One company, Bee2FireDetection, together with IBM, is taking a high-tech approach to getting out ahead of destructive blazes with artificial intelligence. The system uses three different kinds of cameras, including an optical HD camera that uses IBM’s AI to pick out smoke columns and light variations that may be early indicators of wildfire. The other cameras detect temperature changes and types of smoke. Bee2FireDectection recently opened its first office in the U.S., and is currently being used in Brazil and Portugal. Source: Digital Trends


The Canadian government is getting in on the space game. Telecom company Telesat, a competitor of SpaceX in the Internet vertical, announced a partnership in which the country’s government will contribute $600 million (Canadian dollars) over the next 10 years toward a fleet of low Earth orbit satellites. Another $85 million will go toward STEM education, research and development, and job creation. The satellite network is designed to help rural Canadians access Internet at speeds closer to those found in cities. Source: Engadget

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.