Tech Digest daily round up: Driverless shuttles hit Cambridge roads


The UK’s first driverless shuttles have taken to the road in Cambridge, carrying their first passengers in a trial alongside normal traffic. The autonomous vehicle took a 20-minute journey around the University of Cambridge’s West Cambridge campus in a test project which aims to assess whether the technology could one day join the UK’s public transport network. The 10-seater shuttles, created by Coventry-based engineering firm Aurrigo, are designed to run at a maximum of 20mph and are fully electric, with a range of 100 miles. Safety operators were on board during the tests and able to regain manual control of the vehicles at any time if required. Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), Smart Cambridge and Aurrigo worked on the project, which is supported by the Government’s Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV). Yahoo!

Twitter has listed a new subscription service on app stores, in an indication that the social media giant is preparing to trial the offering soon. “Twitter Blue” is listed as an in-app purchase, priced at £2.49 in the UK and $2.99 in the US. Twitter has given no further details, and declined to confirm online claims that the service could allow users to “undo” tweets. It previously said it was working on special features for paid subscribers. The firm wouldn’t comment directly on the listing but highlighted to the BBC that it had previously announced plans to diversify its revenue sources. Although “Twitter Blue” is now listed on app stores, it isn’t yet fully enabled for users. BBC 

Facebook says it will no longer remove claims that COVID-19 is human-made or manufactured “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts.” There is rising pressure worldwide to investigate the origins of the pandemic, including the possibility that it came from a lab. Since the pandemic began, Facebook has been changing what it allows on the topic and what it bans. In February, it announced a host of new claims it would be prohibiting — including that COVID-19 was created in a Chinese lab. Other claims it added at the time included the false notion that vaccines are not effective or that they are toxic. AP News 

SpaceX tycoon Elon Musk has shared a picture of his latest Starship prototype, the SN16, which is being readied for the project’s biggest test yet: the first orbital flight of a Mars-bound ship, due for blast off in July. The towering 50-metre-long stainless steel craft is seen in a hangar at Mr Musk’s Starbase facility at Boca Chica in Cameron County, Texas, its sci-fi nose cone and fins cast against the night sky. Starship’s development brings the Tesla billionaire closer to realising his dream of landing an astronaut on the hostile surface of Mars this decade, with a view to ultimately colonising the Red Planet and even constructing cities among its craters by 2050, a project that has already seen him secure a multi-billion dollar contract with Nasa. SpaceX has ambitions to launch crewed missions to Mars as early as 2024 and currently has the field to itself, with no government agency or rival private company on course to challenge it. Independent 

We’re about a week away from Google Photos turning off its most popular and unique selling point. Almost every user will soon lose out on unlimited backups and will either need to use up their existing cloud storage space or pay up for extra. As we approach this big change, there are a few smaller changes to look out for. If you need a refresher, photo and video backups made in high (slightly compressed) or express (compressed to 3MP) quality will begin to count against account storage starting June 1 — that means anything that has already been backed up is safe. Every user has 15GB of free space shared between Photos, Google Drive, and Gmail. If you’re bumping on that ceiling, you’ll need to pay for a Google One subscription to get more room. Android Police 


Chris Price
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