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Lockheed’s Laser Defense Program

Believed to be the biggest and most technologically advanced air force in the world, the United States Air Force (USAF) plans to introduce laser weapons into their fighter jets in the near future. The bold idea of upgrading its military planes will definitely strengthen the defense of the country.

In the past, killer beams on machines flying around could only be seen in science fiction movies such as the Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Star Wars franchises. Now, because of creative imagination, innovation, and technology, the reality is close to catching up.

Recent reports suggest that the Air Force wants to install laser guns on their fighter jets that are meant to shoot anti-aircraft missiles out of the sky. Lockheed Martin, a global aerospace, security, defense, and advanced technologies company in America, is on board to help achieve this plan.

Lockheed won a $23.6 million contract in order to design, develop, and produce prototype laser beams that would fit on military planes. The deal is part of the USAF’s Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program, which falls under the Air Force Research Lab.

According to Peter Singer, a military analyst, “This technology has been described as ‘coming’ for so long – with it never actually arriving – that people took to believing that it would never happen. Well, now it’s happening. After many false starts, we’re seeing real breakthroughs that are starting to make the idea viable.”

The program is divided into three parts or subsystems:

  1. The Shield Turret Research in Aero Effects – Northrop Grumman will lead this system that focuses on the beam control system.
  2. The Laser Pod Research and Development – Boeing will lead this system that will power and cool the laser that is attached on the fighter jet.
  3. The Laser Advancements for Next-Generation Compact Environments – Lockheed will lead this system, which is the laser itself.

Lockheed Martin and the other companies involved are expected to finish the systems that USAF will test on a military plane by 2021.

The credibility of Lockheed to develop a laser beam for the USAF is as good as done. The defense contractor has already made the impossible seem possible when it introduced a system called Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) to the Defense Force.

ATHENA has the capability of destroying boats, drones, rockets, and vehicles. As long as there is power, this system has unlimited magazine, which is essentially the same thing they want to happen with the SHiELD program.

However, despite the solid similarities between ATHENA and SHiELD, the Army wants the new laser beams on fighter jets to be smaller. In addition, the USAF wants laser beams to be installed in all their fighter jets. It is still a matter of time if that is even possible, but these following models are sure fit for the job and can carry defensive lasers all the way.

  • The F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • The F-15E Strick Eagle
  • The F-15C

Fighter jets are not the only type of aircraft that can benefit to the SHiELD program, because transport planes like the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers could also benefit as well.

Technology is making a statement about the future of the military industry, which has come a long way. Because of advanced technology, laser beams on fighter jets are achieved in the best way possible.

Tesla Semi Trucks: Musk Has Done It Again

Every time technology meets a specific industry, innovation usually follows. Elon Musk is just one of many inventors who continue to challenge what people have now, to transform these into something else for the future.

The seasoned Tesla chief executive officer (CEO) feels like he is just getting started. From developing the Hyperloop to proposing the Musk electric jet, Musk is eager to create bold solutions.

During a launch event in Hawthorne, California, the well-known South African business magnate presented two new technological advancements, namely the Roadster 2.0 sports car and the Semi truck, both of which were described as heavy-duty and all-electric.

The creation of the Semi (in addition to the Roadster 2.0) can revolutionize the trucking industry and it also promises to compete with rail carriers.

Musk said, “We want a vehicle that feels incredible and accelerates like no other.”

Comparing and Contrasting

According to Musk, the traditional diesel trucks can be operated for $1.51 per mile, but when it comes to Tesla Semi, it will be cheaper for only $1.26. The operation price will get even lower once a convoy method is used.

For a convoy to work, Semi trucks are connected using their Autopilot technology system. The Autopilot system can do the following:

A good thing about the convoy method is that the operations will just cost $0.85 per mile. This is one of the reasons Musk mentioned that the Tesla Semi could compete and even defeat the rail system.

  • Match the truck speed to traffic conditions
  • Keep the truck within its lane
  • Switch lanes without needing the input of the driver
  • Let the truck exit the freeway whenever the drop off is already near
  • Park either through a nearby parking spot or through driver’s house garage

Tesla has indeed met many expectations as its Semi truck also delivers a better drag coefficient of 0.36 – a rate that beats several modern cars including the Bugatti Chiron hypercar.

Something About Tesla Semi Truck

Since both the Semi truck and the Roadster 2.0 are electricity-powered vehicles, they need to recharge in a special charging station called the “Megacharger.” This station provides an additional 400 miles of range on the trucks in just 30 minutes.

Reports suggested that production will start in 2019 and it will cost businesses $5,000 for just the reservation. It was also discussed that consumers will get the chance to choose the color of the truck.

Is There Stiff Competition?

Companies like Daimler, Cummins, and Bosch all announced plans to delve into creating small delivery vehicles and electric semi-trucks. There are also others such as Siemens, an electrical and electronics engineering services company, already trying to electrify commercial trucks.

Startups companies including Wrightspeed, Nikola, and Chanje are also on board to what seems to be a new trend in the transportation market.

The efforts of Musk to take on innovation must have come from his goal, which is to lessen global warming through the production and consumption of sustainable energy. Tesla still has a lot of tricks up its sleeve and people can’t wait for the next mind-blowing invention that will surely create a bold impact on the society.

Largest Marijuana Corporations Partner Up to Go Global

When marijuana first came into the market, the bold idea automatically separated society into two groups of people: those who were for and those who believed marijuana was a gateway drug. Now though, extensive scientific research has proved that the misunderstood plant is effective as a medicine and has many therapeutic uses.

The field of medicine eventually accepted the different and often unconventional solutions marijuana offers. It also became clear that the market of cannabis use will be based on demand, which is why businesses began to manufacture marijuana for medical purposes.

Now, the companies Canopy Growth, Organa Brands, and Green House plan to work together in order to sell some of the most recognizable brands of medical marijuana throughout Canada. These three big names in the cannabis industry are also aiming to export their marijuana brands in international markets. Experts are even calling this collaboration the “largest global cannabis partnership to date.”

Canopy Growth

The Ontario-based company is known as a medical cannabis firm that manufactures and sells marijuana edibles, oil extracts, and strains. Canopy Growth Corporation was established in 2015, formerly as Tweed Marijuana Inc., with Bruce Linton is the chief executive officer (CEO).

Canopy Growth has a market cap of $3.8 billion, making it the largest cannabis company in the world. Constellation Brands is the primary investor of the company.

Linton mentioned, “These individual businesses each bring an interesting combination of experience, brands, and entry points into the sector.”

Organa Brands

The ultimate goal of the Denver, Colorado-based company Organa Brands is to be the biggest and best cannabis firm in America. President Chris Driessen runs the company in the style of a tech startup.

Organa Brands makes vaping products and edibles. They also post top line sales of nearly $100 million in the year 2016. The firm is the only company focusing on cannabis with products on the market in 11 states in the U.S. where cannabis use is legal (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont).

Their 1,200 dispensaries have a variety of products under five distinct brands:

The Largest Global Cannabis Partnership to Date
  • Organa Labs™ – The first company under Organa Brands, and sells cannabis oil that has gone through a supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction process.
  • penVAPE™ – An online store that focuses on selling vape cartridges and vaporizer pens, with a reputation for being the best cannabis vaporizer in its class. It has won multiple awards, not only for the product itself, but also its marketing and branding.
  • Bakked™ – It offers only strain-specific, small batch distillates that highlights terpene and cannabinoid purification. Their flagship product, the Dabaratus, is their one-click solution for dabbing; Bakked’s cannabis oil is up to 98% potent.
  • The Magic Buzz™ – The product offers marijuana edibles and cannabis-infused drinks that are sweetened with without adding sugar. Their products provide relaxation, energy, or even a good night’s sleep.
  • District Edibles™ – Their products are quality, artisan-crafted marijuana gummy edibles in various flavors, for both medical and recreational use.

Organa Brands’ co-founder and CEO, Jeremy Heidl even mentioned that their company is working hard in order to expand to Switzerland, Germany and other European countries.

Green House

The Netherlands-based firm Green House Seed Company, together with their sister brand Strain Hunters, are known for their globetrotting documentaries, popular consumption clubs, and influential genetics. Founded by Arjan Roskam, the company is also considered a veteran in the industry and is one of the most successful cannabis businesses in the world.

Canopy Growth’s 20,000 sq. ft. federally-licensed Agripharm facility will be the location for the said collaboration. The Ontario-based company also issued shares to Organa Brands and Green House. The issuance is made in exchange for exclusive licenses in Canada for intellectual property, genetics, and proprietary technology.

Medical Cannabis in Canada

While Canada is famous for many things, the North American country recently turned heads because they legalized marijuana as of early 2017. For now, the country currently supports only medical marijuana, especially for people who have conditions under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

Peter Miller said that “These groups, we’re all entering into a partnership to explore the world. There’s an ambition to work together globally, similar to how we’re working together in Canada.”

How is Marijuana Helping People?

Marijuana first showcased its medical benefits when people reported relief from body pains. From there, its importance grew bigger, as researchers and experts found that the cannabis plant has the ability to cure or at least alleviate the symptoms of the following illnesses:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Right now, the ban on edibles and concentrates in Canada is a major obstacle to the joint venture of the companies. But recent reports have suggested that in late 2018 or 2019, the North American country might allow the manufacturing and sale of edibles and extracts.

The collaboration of the companies that produce medical marijuana is a bold idea and will definitely result in bold impacts for many people affected by diseases and chronic ailments. With the technology and innovation that people have now, there is no doubt that medical breakthrough will happen soon enough.

Square Cashless Register

Square, Inc., a mobile payment company based in San Francisco, California, introduced a complete cashless register – a step up from the white Square readers many have encountered in coffee shops and farmer’s markets. The innovation, if successful, can create a bold impact in the cashless revolution slowly taking over merchants around the country.

Square’s new product called Square Register is just one of many possible solutions to the demand of cashless and convenient payment needs. Square calls its most recent innovation a fully-integrated point of sale, the first of its kind. Banking on a complete software and hardware solution, Square Register makes things convenient for both the seller and the consumer.

A recent research by Total System Services, called the 2016 U.S. Consumer Payment Study, suggests cash is in decline. A team of researchers from the United States credit card processing company found that only 11 percent of American consumers prefer cash, while a whopping 75 percent prefer cards. The result was not surprising, and the trend is found to be true elsewhere as well. China is a good example where mobile payments are increasing.

While this pattern is spreading throughout the globe, there are still sectors, however, that remain heavily dependent on cash.

Certain industries and individuals including cab drivers, manual laborers, charity workers, the elderly, student workers (who are unlikely to have bank accounts at such a young age), and people in tip-based industries still depend on cash. Undoubtedly, beggars, homeless people, and those who ask for money on the streets also only use cash for survival. For others, cashless seems to be the way to go.

The same study revealed that consumers prefer different payment options, and which option they prefer often depends on the type of purchase. From credit cards, cash, debit cards, and mobile transactions such as PayPal, people want options. With globalization in mind, there are also those who are awake at odd hours of the night, so having a way to pay for things without carrying cash or interacting with another human is a convenient solution.

One of Many Cashless Solutions

Square launched their new product initially at a pop-up shop for Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), a record label that releases music from artists like Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, and many more. Square’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jack Dorsey, who is also Twitter’s CEO, explained how these new registers are a great alternative to tablets, mobile devices, and even Square’s own contactless chip readers.

“A built-in seller display means you don’t have to worry about iPad theft,” Square stated in the company’s blog. While many businesses are still free to use their mobile devices and iPads with Square’s software rather than buying the Register system, the company has made it clear that the all-in-one product is the wisest choice.

With a customer-facing display in addition to the cashier-side display, there’s no need to shift the same piece of hardware between people. There seems to be a solution for various potential issues, such as five universal serial bus (USB) ports, Wi-Fi connectivity, and an Ethernet cable slot for when Wi-Fi is not available. Cashless options let people swipe their card, insert a card with a chip, or tap for payment.

Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware product development, said that the current cashier technology is not great. “The world is still packed full of giant grey and beige towers that are between the buyer and the seller, and it’s terrible,” he said. Dorsey is confident the Square’s new system can easily compete against other touchscreen systems, saying most of them are not of good quality. “It should be pretty easy,” he asserted.