Tech Digest daily roundup: Royal Mail launches UK’s first drone delivery service


The UK’s first drone delivery service has launched in Orkney. The joint operation, by Royal Mail and Skyports Drone Services, will initially operate on the islands for three months. It will see letters and parcels transported from a delivery office in Kirkwall to Stromness, from where drones will take them to staff on Graemsay and Hoy to carry out their usual rounds. The drones, a Speedbird Aero DLV-2 model, can carry payloads of up to 6kg. It’s hoped it will significantly improve service levels and delivery times to the two islands. Sky News 

Elon Musk forced Ukraine to drop a planned naval drone strike in the Black Sea by refusing access to the Starlink satellite network, according to a US report. The Ukrainian military was not able to remotely pilot a drone laden with explosives into a Russian ship in occupied Crimea following the decision of the SpaceX chief executive. Mr Musk, the 52-year-old South African-born billionaire, has previously said he does not want Starlink used to conduct long-range offensive strikes. Telegraph 

Meta Platforms (META.O) is preparing to launch a range of artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbots that exhibit different personalities as soon as September, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. Meta has been designing prototypes for chatbots that can have humanlike discussions with its users, as the company attempts to boost its engagement with its social media platforms, according to the report, citing people with knowledge of the plans. The social media giant is even exploring a chatbot that speaks like Abraham Lincoln and another that advises on travel options in the style of a surfer. Reuters 

Image: Nintendo

Nintendo’s next-gen Switch console is currently set to debut in the second half of 2024, according to a new report. Development kits for the console have now been passed to third-party developers, VGC states, ahead of its debut next year. Eurogamer sources also expect a launch window in the latter half of 2024 for the next Switch console, which will remain playable in a handheld configuration. VGC’s report cites development sources which claim Nintendo is looking to debut its next console with an LCD screen rather than OLED in order to cut costs. Eurogamer

The owners of Twitter have been accused of trying to “bully” anti-hate campaigners into silence with letters threatening legal action. The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) said X Corp accused it of making “troubling and baseless claims” in its reports about the platform. Elon Musk bought the platform last year promising to defend free speech. Imran Ahmed, CCDH chief executive, said Mr Musk’s actions were “a brazen attempt to silence honest criticism”. Twitter was rebranded as X by Mr Musk just over a week ago. BBC 

A brightly flashing “X” sign has been removed from the San Francisco headquarters of the company formerly known as Twitter just days after it was installed. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection said Monday it received 24 complaints about the unpermitted structure over the weekend. Complaints included concerns about its structural safety and illumination. Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk bought the site for $44 billion last year before a brief stint as Twitter CEO. STV

The ban on TikTok from government devices in Australia should be extended to the devices of government contractors, and should also cover WeChat, a parliamentary committee has recommended. The Senate committee examining foreign interference on social media said in its report tabled on Tuesday that it had been “particularly concerned” with the “unique national security risks” posed by companies like TikTok and WeChat. The Guardian

Chris Price
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