You could soon see self-driving buses and delivery vans on UK roads as the government launches a £40m ($50m) competition to bring this technology to the market. The funding to kick-start commercial self-driving services, such as delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles, will help bring together companies and investors so that sustainable business models to be rolled out nationally and exported globally. The Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility competition will provide grants to help roll out commercial use self-driving vehicles across the UK from 2025. Types of self-driving vehicles that could be deployed include delivery vans, passenger buses, shuttles and pods, as well as vehicles that move people and luggage at airports and containers at shipping ports. The competition aims to unlock a new industry that could be worth £42bn to the UK economy by 2035, potentially creating 38,000 new skilled jobs.
Google is being sued over its use of confidential medical records belonging to 1.6 million individuals in the UK. The company's artificial intelligence arm, DeepMind, received the data in 2015 from the Royal Free NHS Trust in London for the purpose of testing a smartphone app called Streams. The claim is being brought by Andrew Prismall in a representative action in the High Court. It alleges that Google and DeepMind "obtained and used a substantial number of confidential medical records without patients' knowledge or consent". Why did Google get access to patient records?
The UK's Royal Mail wants to set up as many as 50 drone routes over the next three years to make deliveries to remote communities. The plan, which requires approval from the Civil Aviation Authority, would see the service secure up to 200 of the autonomous devices from logistics drone company Windracers. The Royal Mail said the first communities to benefit would be the Isles of Scilly (off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England) and the Scottish islands of Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides. Test flights started last year. In the most recent one, held in April, the service was able to use a UAV to deliver mail to Unst, Britain's most northerly inhabited island, from Tingwall Airport on Shetland's largest island.
Royal Mail is building a fleet of 500 drones to carry mail to remote communities all over the UK, including the Isles of Scilly and the Hebrides. The postal service, which has already conducted successful trials over Scotland and Cornwall, will create more than 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years as part of a new partnership with London company Windracers. Drones, or UAVs (uncrewed aerial vehicles), can help reduce carbon emissions and improve the reliability of island mail services, Royal Mail claims. They offer an alternative to currently-used delivery methods that can be affected by bad weather – ferries, conventional aircraft and land-based deliveries. They can also take off from any flat surface (sand, grass or tarmac) providing it is long enough.
The Inspection and Maintenance (I&M) Industry represents a large economic activity spanning across multiple sectors such as energy, oil & gas, water supply, transport, civil engineering, and infrastructure. RIMA project aims at bringing together Digital Innovation Hubs and Facilitators operating under a common network that allow them to join forces and competences in promoting I&M robotics in Europe. The BIS Research projects' analysis of the Inspection and Maintenance Robot Industry forecasts that the I&M market will grow at a significant CAGR of 12.73% on the basis of value from 2020 to 2025. In 2019, Europe dominated the 40% of the global inspection and maintenance robot market (BIS322A, Mar 2020). Although the European Union hosts most of the I&M robotics offer – being France, Germany, and Spain (and U.K. until 2021 Brexit) the leading manufacturing countries, there is still a bottleneck connecting this offer to the market and high potential applications.
Just when you thought modern life couldn't get any crazier, a video emerged during the run-up to the recent UK election, in which the Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to endorse his political opponent Jeremy Corbyn. "Appeared" is the important word here, because this was actually just one of the latest in a steady stream of deepfakes – video and audio clips in which artificial intelligence simulates real people doing unreal things. Of course, humans have been faking it for centuries. From tattoos and piercings to face paints and wigs, we love altering ourselves and indulging in a bit of make-believe. My own little secret for years was that I wore green-coloured contact lenses. I did need them for short-sightedness – the colour was purely a personal choice.
This article is an extract from The Insurance and Reinsurance Law Review - Edition 10. The rapid development of converging technologies is bringing about fundamental changes to the insurance industry. In the long term, organisations that are slow to embrace these new technologies will struggle to compete and to retain their place in the market. In the insurance sector, the use of technology to innovate or disrupt is known as'insurtech'. This is an elastic term that takes in the use of new technologies by both start-ups and incumbent insurance companies to transform access to and analysis of data, build new products, drive customer engagement and squeeze inefficiencies from the current insurance model.
US surveillance-tech supplier Palantir has hired a one-time director of AI for NHSX – the former UK health service digital agency. Indra Joshi quit her role at the end of March as NHSX and NHS Digital were merged into NHS England, a non-departmental government body. Her arrival at Palantir will raise concerns among NHS watchers and privacy campaigners. Palantir largely carries out information analysis and processing work for the defense and intelligence communities, often creating bespoke solutions such as digital-profiling tools for organisations like the CIA and ICE. The firm was founded by prominent Donald Trump financier and PayPal investor Peter Thiel.
"Britain moves closer to a self-driving revolution," said a perky message from the Department for Transport that popped into my inbox on Wednesday morning. The purpose of the message was to let us know that the government is changing the Highway Code to "ensure the first self-driving vehicles are introduced safely on UK roads" and to "clarify drivers' responsibilities in self-driving vehicles, including when a driver must be ready to take back control". The changes will specify that while travelling in self-driving mode, motorists must be ready to resume control in a timely way if they are prompted to, such as when they approach motorway exits. They also signal a puzzling change to current regulations, allowing drivers "to view content that is not related to driving on built-in display screens while the self-driving vehicle is in control". So you could watch Gardeners' World on iPlayer, but not YouTube videos of F1 races? Reassuringly, though, it will still be illegal to use mobile phones in self-driving mode, "given the greater risk they pose in distracting drivers as shown in research".