Tech Digest daily roundup: Toyota recalls first mass-market EVs

Toyota bZ4X SUV
Nearly 2,700 Toyota bZ4X SUVs have been recalled globally. Image: Toyota

Toyota Motor (7203.T) shares slipped after it recalled some of its first mass-made all-electric cars, launched two months ago, because of a risk of wheels coming loose, a setback to its ambitions to electrify its model range. Toyota, the world’s largest automaker by sales, said on Thursday it would recall 2,700 bZ4X SUVs globally. Subaru Corp (7270.T), in which Toyota has a nearly 20% stake, also said it was recalling about 2,600 units of the Solterra, a related model. The Solterra, Subaru’s first all-electric vehicle, was jointly developed with Toyota and shares major components with the bZ4X. The recall adds to problems at Toyota, which has been forced to cut production frequently this year due to the global chip shortage. Reuters 

Chinese electric carmaker Nio says that two people were killed when one of its vehicles fell from the third floor of its headquarters in Shanghai. One member of staff and a person from a partner company died in the crash. The incident took place on Wednesday at about 17:20 local time, the firm said. The people who died were inside the vehicle as it fell from the building. Nio says it immediately started an investigation into the incident in co-operation with government officials. The third-storey area from where the car fell has been variously described as a showroom, a testing facility or a car park. BBC

Terrorists could hijack remotely driven cars to use them as weapons, the Law Commission has warned. Remote driving – where a vehicle is steered by a person in a separate location – is being developed for off-road driving in difficult terrain such as mines or quarries, the delivery of rental cars to the doors of customers, and as a form of public transport to carry passengers. In a report on how the technology could be regulated, the Commission, which advises the Government, said the cybersecurity of remotely driven vehicles was an “issue of acute public concern” because of the risks that their control systems could be hacked, overridden or hijacked. Telegraph 

An Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, Alphabet Inc’s Google said in a new report. Milan-based RCS Lab, whose website claims European law enforcement agencies as clients, developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of the targeted devices, the report said.European and American regulators have been weighing potential new rules over the sale and import of spyware. “These vendors are enabling the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arming governments that would not be able to develop these capabilities in-house,” Google said. The Guardian

They don’t call Jupiter “King of Planets” for nothing. It’s massive, really heavy, and now scientists think it ate chunks of other planets to get as big as it is. That’s right, the gas giant named after Greek and Roman gods is thought to have absorbed a series of small “planetesimals” en route to claiming its place as the biggest planet in the solar system. The theory comes from an international team of astronomers led by Yamila Miguel from the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and is set out in an article in Astronomy & Astrophysics. It follows news last year that NASA scientists are baffled by the discovery that the planet’s Great Red Spot is accelerating. Sky News 

Chris Price
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