Courtesy UT Austin

Uber is moving full steam ahead on its plans to create flying rideshare vehicles and infrastructure in the United States. This week, the University of Texas at Austin announced a partnership between researchers from the Cockrell School of Engineering, the U.S. Army Research Labs, and Uber's Elevate program—which is spearheading the company's urban aviation rideshare network called UberAIR. Together, these teams plan to develop a new rotor technology for vertical take-off and landing aircraft that are projected to reach "a cruising speed of 150-200 mph, a cruising altitude of 1,000-2,000 feet, and the ability to complete trips of up to 60 miles on a single charge." according to a university press release. Uber plans to debut "demonstrator flights" by 2020, with plans for commercial use by 2023. [UT News]

The Andalusian region of Spain will soon be home to Europe's first Hyperloop development facility as part of an agreement between Virgin Hyperloop One and the administrator of railway infrastructures. Measuring around 205,000 square feet, the facility will house teams dedicated to the development, testing, and certification of components of hyperloop systems, and it will help bring economic growth and job creation to the region. According to current estimates, the new Advanced Technology Development and Testing Center will require an investment of $500 million by Virgin Hyperloop One, but around $146 million (€126 million) of that will be paid for with public loans and grants. The facility is currently scheduled to open in 2020. [Virgin Hyperloop One]

Researchers from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom have developed a cement-like material that can store electrical energy and monitor its own structural health. Comprised of flyash and chemical solutions that include potassium-geopolymetric composites, the substance is highly conductive and does not require expensive additives such as graphene or carbon nanotubes, which are used in other smart concretes. When applied to a structure, the material can store energy absorbed from solar panels and later discharge the energy back for use. [University of Lancaster]

Full-scale visual mock-up
Janis Rozkalns Full-scale visual mock-up

An honorable mention winner in our 2018 R+D Awards, Hydroformed Shading is the world’s first water-formed tensile façade developed by Behnisch Architekten for Harvard University's Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences building. It serves as a cooling mechanism and as a visual break in the building mass. [ARCHITECT]

This week, WeWork announced the launch of its "HQ by WeWork" program geared specifically toward mid-size companies with 11 to 250 employees. Advertised as an "adaptable, and cost-efficient office space," HQ provides businesses with private spaces collaborative and individual spaces and allows for company branding. [WeWork]