Tech Digest daily round up: Drones help to fight litter


A “ground-breaking” pilot scheme will use drones to fight a predicted surge in post-lockdown litter this summer. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council wants to collect data to inform bin locations, street cleaning schedules and change visitor behaviour. The authority said it aimed to create “the most scientifically robust litter survey ever undertaken in the UK”. The scheme is a partnership with fast-food giant McDonald’s and environmental charity Hubbub. BBC

Actor William Shatner, best known for forging new frontiers on the “Star Trek” TV series, has tapped new technology that will give current and future generations the chance to query him about his life, family and career. Shatner, who turned 90 on Monday, spent more than 45 hours over five days recording answers to be used in an interactive video created by Los Angeles-based company StoryFile. Starting in May, people using cellphones or computers connected to the internet can ask questions of the Shatner video, and artificial intelligence will scan through transcripts of his remarks to deliver the best answer. Fans may even be able to beam Shatner into their living rooms in future as Shatner was filmed with 3-D cameras that will enable his answers to be delivered via a hologram. Reuters

The government is facing fresh calls from the auto industry to introduce more generous incentives to drive consumer uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), in the wake of new statistics that underscore how fleet and corporate buyers are almost twice as likely to switch to electric models than private customers. Industry group SMMT has  called on the government to scrap VAT from the purchase price of EVs and maintain its zero emission vehicle subsidy grant scheme, the Plug-in Car Grant, beyond next year. The call for enhanced incentives is backed by an analysis that highlights how just 4.6 per cent of car registrations in the retail sector in 2020 were electric vehicles (EVs), compared to 8.7 per cent for fleets and businesses. Business Green. 

Android handsets and iPhones share data with their respective companies on average every 4½ minutes, with data being sent back even when idle in a pocket or handbag, according to a new academic study. The Trinity College Dublin research has raised fresh privacy concerns about smartphones, with the research claiming there was little difference between Apple and Google when it came to collecting certain data. The study, which was published by Prof Doug Leith at Trinity’s Connect Centre, claimed iPhones offered no greater privacy than Google devices. However, the study noted that Google handsets collected “a notably larger volume of handset data than Apple” with 1MB of data being sent from idle Google Pixel handsets every 12 hours, compared with 52KB sent from the iPhone. Irish Times

Thierry Henry will disable his social media accounts and says he will not return until those in charge treat racist abuse with the same seriousness as they approach copyright infringement. The former Arsenal and France striker is not the first high profile sporting figure to raise the issue of racist abuse online, but he is the first to announce he is walking away from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram until more is done to tackle the problem. Henry, 43, posted a statement on all his social media accounts on Friday. Sky

Chris Price
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