This week’s technology news – 9th May 2014

Volvo gets its Batmobile out on show on the roads of Gothenburg
Volvo Car Group’s “Drive Me” project has started testing its automotive prototype on the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo stress the uniqueness of this project over the Google self-drive cars is that it involves all the key players: legislators, transportation authorities, a major city, a vehicle manufacturer and real customers.

The intention will be to have 100 such vehicles on the road by 2017. The self-driving cars use radar, camera and laser technology to monitor the nearby environment. Technical expert Erik Coelingh advises that “almost all collisions that occur are caused by human error so if you automate driving, you take away the causes of many accidents and you can make traffic safer.” Volvo’s self-driving cars use radar, camera to monitor traffic and infrastructure around the vehicle, as well as GPS in order to get the latest map data to the vehicle’s computer. Time is moving swiftly in the world of robotics – and whilst the thought of a driverless car fills most of us with terror, Volvo are clearly intent on demonstrating technical leadership.

With a long history of safety, they already have the credibility of their brand. It is just about making this new step acceptable in the eyes of the consumer. If you don’t want to get scared just yet, simply avoid Sweden’s 30 miles of selected roads during the test phase!

Sony’s new tapes beat storage record
Sony not content with the recently revealed Archival Disc, capable of storing 300GB per disc, has teamed up with IBM to also give storage tapes the modern treatment. Tapes store allot more data and hold it for longer than disc’s. The new Sony tapes can hold a staggering 185 terabytes of data per cartridge, the equivalent of 3,700 Blu-ray discs. In addition to storing an impressive amount of data per cartridge the density of data – 148 gigabits per square inch beats the world record more than five times over. This is definitely one to watch and could be the answer too many corporations’ storage needs, especially in an increasing cloud based, digital world.

Piracy alerts set for UK
Internet piracy is an issue all around the world, costing the entertainment industry billions. The entertainment industry bodies and UK ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) have completed a deal to help fight internet piracy. The ISP’s involved so far are BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. Right holders will be the ones listening in to traffic on bit torrent networks, this will form a Copyright Infringement Report which will be sent to the relevant ISP. The ISP will then verify these reports with their own records, if this matches up the ISP will send out an email/physical letter to the account holder. These alerts pinpoint the activity in question and suggest legal alternatives for users getting their entertainment online. The alert system is planned to run for three years with regular reviews on its effectiveness.

This is an interesting step if not a very late one and the approach could be considered very soft. Hopefully these alert messages will have the desired effect but we will have to wait for the first review to see what impact – if any, these have.


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