Tech Digest daily roundup: Sony gears up for EV launch

Sony unveiled the Vision-S 02 concept EV at CES 2022 (Image credit: Sony)

Sony, an iconic electronics company known for making video game consoles and televisions, is gearing up for a push into electric vehicles. Its EV program began two years ago, but the company is now attracting partners that can help it develop and actually build roadworthy cars. It’s still unclear how far Sony will go with these efforts, but the pieces are falling into place for the company to launch a competitive EV business. For Sony, the road to a viable electric vehicle runs directly uphill. The company faces all of the ‘normal’ struggles and roadblocks to building a successful auto brand, which include securing a functioning supply chain, manufacturing, testing, and more. Tech Radar 

Sir Richard Branson’s high-speed Hyperloop project has suffered an exodus of top executives as progress on the experimental transport technology appears to stall. A group of Virgin Hyperloop One’s most senior leaders, including successive chief executives, have left the company in the last year amid clashes over the company’s direction. They include its last remaining founder, Josh Giegel, and its top-ranking engineers who were seeking to turn the 760 miles per hour pod technology from theory into reality. The company has not made a substantial announcement since November 2020, when it said it had carried out the first tests of the system involving human passengers. Telegraph 

Elon Musk appears close to beginning the first-ever human trials of his brain-computer interface technology. A new job posting for a ‘Clinical Trial Director’ at Neuralink reveals that the neurotech startup is preparing to take its brain chip research to the next stage. Neuralink has already conducted trials on pigs and monkeys, including a successful experiment involving a nine-year-old macaque capable of playing video games using only its mind. The firm eventually hopes to use the technology to allow “human-AI symbiosis”. Early human trials, which Mr Musk said last month will take place in 2022, will likely involve people with paralysis using Neuralink’s interface to gain direct neural control of a computer cursor. Independent

Scientists have developed video games using AI technology to diagnose, monitor and treat depression. The platform, called Thymia, aims to make depression and other mental health conditions as measurable as physical ailments. Dr Emilia Molimpakis, CEO and co-founder of Thymia, told Sky News: “Right now the existing system is flawed in many ways, GPs don’t have time, the existing systems they have are subjective questionnaires that are incredibly biased and there’s no follow-up between appointments. Thymia is the first system that offers objectivity and uses several types of data in order to create a really accurate and robust model of depression.” Sky News 

The number of public EV chargers in the United Kingdom rose 37% last year, government data has revealed – but there are huge regional differences in the network. The latest Department for Transport (DfT) data is for 1 January 2022 and was drawn from charger-mapping firm Zap-Map. There were 28,375 public EV chargers available and operational in the UK on that date, which is 7600 more than on 1 January 2021. It also represents a rise of 9% from the previous DfT survey at the start of October 2021. Of that total, 5156 were rapid chargers, which are defined as being capable of charging at rates of 25kW or more. That represents a 33% year-on-year increase. Autocar

Chris Price
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