BBC News


Military drone pilots could get medals - Michael Fallon

BBC News

Military drone pilots fighting so-called Islamic State could be awarded medals, the defence secretary has said. Sir Michael Fallon confirmed there would be a review of how servicemen and women were recognised for their contribution to UK operations. "As fighting has evolved we have adapted, ensuring our troops have cutting-edge equipment including unmanned systems operated from outside the battle space. Drones have been targeting Islamic State - also known as Daesh - in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Shader, for which Sir Michael announced a medal.


Nigel - the robot that could tell you how to vote

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The creators of a new artificial intelligence programme hope it could one day save democracy. "We want you to trust Nigel, we want Nigel to know who you are and serve you in everyday life," says Nigel's creator Mounir Shita. Shita's company, Kimera Systems, claims to have cracked the secret of "artificial general intelligence" - independent thinking - something that has eluded AI researchers for the past 60 years. "He might push you to change your views, if things don't add up in the Nigel algorithm.


Banksy donates funds from anti-arms artwork sale

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The artwork, Civilian Drone Strike, was on display at the Stop the Arms Fair art exhibition in east London. The exhibition was held alongside the world's largest arms fair, the Defence and Security Equipment International - both exhibitions closed on Friday. The money raised from the Banksy sale will be split between one of the exhibition's organisers, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), and the human rights group Reprieve. During last week's Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) fair, Mr Smith said it was "shameful that the government is welcoming despots and dictatorships to the UK to buy weapons".


Multi-million pound Army drones lost over sea

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Two multi-million pound British Army drones crashed after taking off from a base in mid Wales, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. The unmanned Watchkeeper aircraft were lost in the Irish Sea earlier this year, leading commanders to temporarily ground the entire fleet. Delays have been blamed on technical and safety issues and a lack of trained personnel. Harry Rogers, who runs Drones Campaign Network Cymru, is concerned about their safety.


Tesla Autopilot 'partly to blame' for crash

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The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that Tesla's Autopilot system was partly to blame for a fatal accident in which a Model S collided with a lorry. The NTSB found that both Mr Brown and the lorry driver had sufficient sight distance to afford time for either party to have acted to prevent the collision. The investigation found that Mr Brown's inattention and the lorry driver's unwillingness to give way were both primary factors of the crash. Following the meeting, the NTSB's report includes seven safety recommendations requiring car manufacturers to add safeguards to prevent automated vehicle control systems from being used outside the conditions for which they were designed.


Driverless buses tested in Olympic Park

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The Navya shuttle - previously operated in tests on the streets of Las Vegas - moves at only 2mph (3kmh), and shuttles passengers between four stops - taking around 12 minutes per trip.


Bid to rescue Ben Nevis weather data

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Scientists are seeking the public's assistance in rescuing a unique set of weather records gathered at the summit of the UK's highest mountain. From 1883 to 1904, meteorologists were stationed atop Ben Nevis, logging temperature, precipitation, wind and other data around the clock. A fresh analysis could possibly lead to improvements in the performance of today's forecasting models. "The data these men took is incredible, and it's arguably the most detailed mountain weather measurements we still have even today," said Reading University's Prof Ed Hawkins, who leads the Operation Weather Rescue: Ben Nevis project.


CEO Secrets: AI boss says build a smart, thinking machine

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Vishal Chatrath is the CEO of Cambridge-based artificial intelligence start up Prowler.io. He told #CEOSecrets that all bosses can strive to turn their businesses into smart, thinking machines.


What happens in the brain to make us 'catch' yawns

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The primary motor cortex also plays a part in conditions such as Tourette's syndrome. So the scientists say understanding contagious yawning could also help understand those disorders too. The urge to yawn was down to how each person's primary motor cortex worked - its "excitability". Various studies have proposed links between contagious yawning and empathy, yet the research supporting this connection is mixed and inconsistent.


Would you take a ride in a pilotless sky taxi?

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In June, its Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed an agreement with a German start-up Volocopter to test pilotless air taxis towards the end of this year. Dubai's RTA has also teamed up with China's Ehang and is testing the drone maker's single passenger Ehang 184 "autonomous aerial vehicle". It may take a long time for autonomous drone tech to win regulatory - not to mention public - trust. Uber's Mr Moore believes air taxis will have autonomous capability built in from 2023, but will have human pilots for the first five-to-10 years while enough data is collected to convince regulators that sky taxis are safe.