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Integrity - use of values or principles to guide action in the situation at hand.

Below are links and discussion related to the values of freedom, hope, trust, privacy, responsibility, safety, and well-being, within business and government situations arising in the areas of security, privacy, technology, corporate governance, sustainability, and CSR.

'Fly-by-wireless' plane takes to the air, 18.5.06

New Scientist Tech

A plane with no wires or mechanical connections between its engine, navigation system and onboard computers – only a wireless network – has been built and flown by engineers in Portugal.

The 3-metre-long uncrewed plane 'AIVA' relies entirely upon a Bluetooth wireless network to relay messages back and forth between critical systems – a technique dubbed 'fly-by-wireless'.

Tests flights carried out in Portugal have shown that the system works well. Cristina Santos, at Minho University in Portugal, who developed the plane, says the aim is primarily to reduce weight and power requirements. 'Also, if you do not have the cables then the system is much more flexible to changes,' she says.

Many modern planes already use electronic wires, instead of the mechanical links and cables found in older planes, to connect components. This is a lighter and more compact way to control these systems. Some planes, such as the Boeing 777 even use optical fibres, which can carry multiple signals through a single cable.

Radio jamming

Replacing wires with wireless radio links is a logical next step says Peter Mellor from the Centre for Software Reliability at City University in London, UK, who was not involved with the project. But he adds that it raises completely new safety issues.

Such wireless links could be susceptible to electromagnetic interference or even jamming, Mellor suggests. And it could be more difficult to build in back-up wireless connections, he says. "If you jam one link you would jam both," he warns.

But Santos and colleagues are working on this. She says Bluetooth is already fairly resistant to disruption as it is designed to guarantee a certain minimum data stream will always get through. "It has mechanisms for dealing with interference," she says.

In-car radio

Even so, Santos says the system would need extensive testing before she would be willing to ride in a fly-by-wireless plane. She also admits that stringent aviation regulations may mean the technology first appears in cars rather than planes.

"Cables are already a problem in cars," Santos says, because many manufacturers cram ever more electronic gadgetry into each new model.

She admits the idea of having no physical connections may seem scary at first but believes ultimately it will become an accepted way to control brakes and even steering mechanisms in road vehicles.

The findings were presented on Tuesday at the International Conference of Robotics and Autonomous Systems in Florida, US.

[CLB: Here we go. I've been watching the auto industry for signs of serious comittment to drive-by-wirelessm and to the lack or presence of a security strategy.]

Web Links

  • Cristina Santos
  • Peter Mellor, City University
  • International Conference of Robotics and Autonomous Systems

    While searching for a picture of the AIVA unscuessfully, I came across this Swiss flying bot:

    Swiss researchers have demonstrated a flying bot with an 31-inch wingspan and a weight of just 1 ounce, that can fly indoors, avoiding walls and other objects via its onboard cameras. The robot plane has gyroscopic stabilizers and a Bluetooth transmitter to send data back to a nearby computer.

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    "We shall need compromises in the days ahead, to be sure. But these will be, or should be, compromises of issues, not principles. We can compromise our political positions, but not ourselves. We can resolve the clash of interests without conceding our ideals. And even the necessity for the right kind of compromise does not eliminate the need for those idealists and reformers who keep our compromises moving ahead, who prevent all political situations from meeting the description supplied by Shaw: "smirched with compromise, rotted with opportunism, mildewed by expedience, stretched out of shape with wirepulling and putrefied with permeation.
    Compromise need not mean cowardice. .."

    John Fitzgerald Kennedy, "Profiles in Courage"


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