• UK to investigate the safety and potential of self-driving cars

    UK to investigate the safety and potential of self-driving cars

    The UK Transport Select Committee has opened an investigation into the potential of autonomous cars.  The committee will look into the research and trials that have been done into autonomous and connected vehicles so far, with the goal of better understanding the technology's potential uses for private motoring, public transport and commercial driving. To do so, it will assess possible safety issues and the perception of safety, as well as consider the relationship with other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and users of conventional vehicles. Once the investigation is completed, the committee might also request changes to be made to the current regulations regarding this technology, to introduce changes such as the vehicles’ legal status as well as create standard insurance and…

  • Hydrogen trains to replace diesel units in Berlin region

    Hydrogen trains to replace diesel units in Berlin region

    This is the train-builder’s first order for a hydrogen fleet. The Mireo Plus H trains will be equipped with fuel-cell drive systems and lithium-ion batteries. Siemens will also be responsible for service, maintenance and spare parts, with provision for “continuous further development and adaptation.” The order was placed by regional transport company Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB) for the Heidekrautbahn network (RB27) and the trains are due for delivery in autumn 2024 ready to enter service by the end of the year. The use of hydrogen-powered trains on the Heidekrautbahn is part of a pilot project funded by the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg. The project is focused on setting up a regional, sustainable hydrogen infrastructure that also includes a hybrid power…

  • Online Safety Bill could hinder free speech, research warns

    Online Safety Bill could hinder free speech, research warns

    The UK is facing calls to “slim down” its Online Safety Bill amid concerns over its impact on people’s freedoms and privacy. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has published a briefing paper in which think tanks warn about the risk that the bill could hand the Secretary of State and Ofcom “unprecedented powers to define and limit speech, with limited parliamentary or judicial oversight”. The authors of the research have also expressed their fears that the piece of legislation will lead digital platforms to use automated tools in a “cautious and censorious” manner against content that is “only reasonably considered to be illegal”. The Online Safety Bill has been presented by the government as a ground-breaking law that will protect the privacy and safety of children in the digital…

  • Compostable crop sensors aiming to keep fields green

    Compostable crop sensors aiming to keep fields green

    The £1.8m CHIST-ERA project - dubbed 'Transient Electronics for Sustainable ICT in Digital Agriculture' - is led by researchers from the University of Glasgow and supported by colleagues in Canada, Finland, Poland and Switzerland. CHIST-ERA is the coordination and co-operation activity of national and regional research funding organisations, supported by the EU's Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme. Over the next three years, the partners will work together to develop a new type of environmentally friendly modular sensor system. Their intention is to find ways to create devices built from sustainable and degradable materials, with the aim of cutting down on the growing problem of electronic waste. The devices in development will have two parts: a solar-powered…

  • US researchers look to 3D-print organic electronics

    US researchers look to 3D-print organic electronics

    A Texas research team has identified the possibility of utilising micro-scale organic electronics in the development of flexible electronics and bioelectronics, via multiphoton 3D-printers. The team, led by Mohammad Reza Abidian, introduced a new photosensitive resin doped with an organic semiconductor material (OS) to fabricate "highly conductive 3D microstructures with high-quality structural features via MPL [multiphoton lithography]  process".  To demonstrate the potential electronic applications based on the OS composite resin, the team fabricated various microelectronic devices, including a micro-printed circuit board and an array of microcapacitors. Their findings have been published online in the journal Advanced Materials .  The experiment demonstrated that the fabrication process…

  • View from India: Use digital tools to improve animal health

    View from India: Use digital tools to improve animal health

    Ancovax, India’s first Covid vaccine for animals, has been developed by Haryana-based Indian Council for Agricultural Analysis (ICAR)-National Research Centre on Equines (NRC). It is awaiting approval. This is an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 delta vaccine for animals. Its immunity neutralises both the delta and omicron variants of the coronavirus. The vaccine may possibly be used for animals in zoos and national parks. That could be because predators such as lions, leopards and tigers have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. A few such incidents have been reported during the pandemic. A Covid-19 vaccine for animals may be necessary because large carnivores or minks could get affected. Broadly speaking, animal-to-animal Covid transmission is as likely as animal-to-human transmission. Whether the virus…

    E&T Magazine
  • Cities of the future could be built with algae-grown limestone

    Cities of the future could be built with algae-grown limestone

    Global cement production accounts for approximately 7 per cent of annual greenhouse gas emissions, in large part through the burning of quarried limestone, and concrete is one of the most ubiquitous materials on the planet, a staple of construction around the world. It starts as a mixture of water and portland cement, which forms a paste to which materials such as sand, gravel or crushed stone are added. The paste binds the aggregates together and the mixture hardens into concrete. To make portland cement, the most common type of cement, limestone is extracted from large quarries and burned at high temperatures, releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide. The research team found that replacing quarried limestone with biologically grown limestone, a natural process that some species of calcareous…

  • Self-build homes scheme in England opening for applications

    Self-build homes scheme in England opening for applications

    The 'Help to Build' scheme will enable people to overcome prohibitive mortgage costs and build their own home, with just a 5 per cent deposit towards land and building costs, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Backed by £150m of Government funding, the scheme could help people with specific living requirements, creating homes that are more tailored to their needs, including those with disabilities or those who live with large families or elderly relatives. Many people have previously been priced out of the self-build option because it typically requires huge sums up-front. The scheme will allow applicants to borrow between 5 per cent and 20 per cent of their costs across England and up to 40 per cent in London. Total build costs cannot be over £600…

  • Time to connect smart manufacturing innovation with Nexus

    Time to connect smart manufacturing innovation with Nexus

    The world of manufacturing is fluid and ever-changing – and when technologists and engineers alike need to innovate to keep up with such changes within this sector, collaboration is key. So what if you could bring innovative minds together in one place? That is the goal of Hexagon’s new open platform for smart manufacturing, Nexus . The platform, announced at Hexagon’s HxGN Live Global 2022 conference in Las Vegas this week, will allow for the sharing of real-time data across different design, simulation, and production applications. It will also connect different applications to form workflows and combine technologies to develop unique solutions to engineering and manufacturing problems, from concept to delivery. Hexagon stressed Nexus will empower cross-functional teams to leverage fragmented…

  • Modern space race needs to be built on sustainability, study says

    Modern space race needs to be built on sustainability, study says

    Based on leading research and expertise on innovative and emerging technologies, experts are calling for sustainability to be at the forefront of humanity’s next phase of space exploration. In On Space , a new publication from the University of Manchester, experts ask policymakers to consider space debris, satellite orbits and the investment needed to roll-out sustainable space technology on Earth. Many technologies used to counter climate change, including solar panels, started out as space-age innovations. Future innovations in space technology could be used to further reduce carbon emissions here on Earth, the authors write. Dr Aled Roberts explained that one of the biggest challenges for off-world habitat construction is the transportation of building materials, which can cost upwards…

  • Manifesto for a fully decarbonised power system by 2035 published by RenewableUK

    Manifesto for a fully decarbonised power system by 2035 published by RenewableUK

    ' Roadmap to net zero: a manifesto for a fully decarbonised power system by 2035 ' urges the government to accelerate the pace and scale of decarbonisation dramatically, to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to the surging cost of gas by maximising the benefits of our cheapest sources of renewable power, and to rapidly develop a new green hydrogen industry. The wide-ranging recommendations include reforming 'Contracts for Difference' (CfD) to attract more investment, particularly in supply chains. The report notes that although the CfD mechanism has successfully delivered new renewable capacity, the current market set-up may not be enough to deliver the volume of projects needed to fully decarbonise by 2035, as surging global demand for offshore wind is increasing competition for investment and…

  • Digital rail signalling tested for hyperloop

    Digital rail signalling tested for hyperloop

    HyperloopTT and Hitachi Rail say they have achieved an important milestone towards the commercial running of the innovative system, which will be able to run at speeds of up to 1,200km/h, with the completion of proof of concept for a cloud-based ERTMS signalling system for HyperloopTT’s capsules. Hyperloops are intended to move passengers and cargo at high speed in vehicle ‘pods’ or capsules travelling through partially evacuated tubes. ERTMS, the European Rail Traffic Management System, is a set of standards originally designed to let trains run anywhere in the European Union, but it is now being deployed in many other parts of the world too. Working from Hitachi Rail’s site in Naples, Italy, the partnership has created a digital simulator that allows for the integrated testing of the…

  • Sponsored: A design guide for the future

    Sponsored: A design guide for the future

    Some of the most popular shows on television these days are around home improvement. But before any attempt to build or rebuild takes place you need the right tools and a blueprint. The same is true in data centres. Whether starting from scratch or upgrading and retrofitting, proper planning and design will safeguard speed, efficiency, flexibility and scale in your new data centre. Our practical guide to Data Centre planning and design has everything you need-from methodologies to at-a-glance calculators. Now is the time to tap into our design guide and ensure your data centre is ready for what’s next. It is becoming more critical all the time and trends such as the explosion of big data are only adding to the requirements that IT groups must meet. To keep up, companies often need to…

    E&T Magazine
  • Microsoft 365 users may be overestimating platform’s security, survey warns

    Microsoft 365 users may be overestimating platform’s security, survey warns

    While some users tend to overestimate the levels of protection provided by Microsoft’s flagship productivity platform, others are concerned about activating too many in-built features in case it results in a complex security management overhead that they don’t have the resources to maintain, leading to misconfiguration vulnerabilities. A global survey of more than 800 IT professionals by email cloud security and backup provider Hornetsecurity , launched this week at Infosecurity Europe 2022, also found that approximately 63 per cent of respondents indicated that the main roadblock to implementing security features within their organisation is not enough time or resources. “There could be multiple issues at play in the survey results,” said Andy Syrewicze, technical evangelist at Hornetsecurity…

  • How streaming services are building resilience for the future

    How streaming services are building resilience for the future

    Over the last decade, subscription-based business models became ubiquitous across all types of media companies. Their potential was quickly noticeable as revenue for advertising was diverting elsewhere and media consumption patterns were shifting. However, the latest industry news paints a different picture. During the first earnings call of the year, in April, Netflix announced that it had lost 200,000 paying customers, its first subscriber loss in over ten years. The information about the undisputed king of streaming services worldwide sent Wall Street into a downward spiral that resulted in its stock dropping over 20 per cent on the day of the announcement. Similarly, CNN+ – CNN’s streaming service – shut down less than a month after launching due partly to poor subscription numbers…

    E&T Magazine
  • ‘Stronger front door’ required to rebuff cyber HEAT attacks

    ‘Stronger front door’ required to rebuff cyber HEAT attacks

    Speaking at Infosecurity Europe 2022 this week, Mark Guntrip, senior director of security strategy at Menlo Security, said that so-called 'HEAT' (Highly Evasive Adaptive Threats) attacks require a renewal of the ‘strong front door’ model of threat blocking, as standard detect-and-respond techniques are proving unequal to their defensive role. HEAT attacks are a class of cyber threat that target web browsers as the primary attack vector. They go on to employ techniques to evade multiple layers of protection such as firewalls, secure web gateways, sandbox analysis, URL reputation and phishing detection. “HEAT attacks are used as the initial access point to deliver malware or to compromise credentials,” said Guntrip. “They allow cyber threats to deliver malicious content like ransomware to…

  • AI-based waste-sorting system wins Young Inventors prize

    AI-based waste-sorting system wins Young Inventors prize

    Imperial College London graduates Peter Hedley (27 years old) and Victor Dewulf (25) won the Young Inventors prize 2022 for their efficient AI-based waste-sorting system. The European Patent Office honoured the British-Belgian duo for their computer vision system that is trained to recognise waste items on a conveyor belt, equipped with a robotic arm to pick out valuable material. The invention increases the speed, accuracy and purity of waste-sorting. Their system has already been rolled out to recycling facilities in the UK and Europe through the inventor duo’s London-based start-up Recycleye, increasing the volume of recycled waste and making recycling more financially attractive. Image credit: European Patent Office / Joseph Thompson Dewulf and Hedley’s…

  • Electric ferry claims record for longest journey on a single battery charge

    Electric ferry claims record for longest journey on a single battery charge

    The vessel, Ellen, normally runs between the islands of Aero and Als, sailing 22NM (40km) from harbour to harbour before recharging. It made its record-breaking run on 9 June while returning from the International Energy Agency’s 7th Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, which was held in Sønderborg, Denmark. Henrik Hagbarth Mikkelsen, a senior lecturer at Marstal Naval Academy, who helped specify the technical solutions for the ferry during its design phase, was on board for the voyage. He explained: “The 92-kilometre trip on a single battery charge is the longest planned distance for an electric ferry capable of carrying both passengers and vehicles to date anywhere on the globe. We are talking about a clear record.” Ellen was developed under the EU-backed E-Ferry project, costing …

  • Organisations ‘wait for attack before defending themselves’, says security report

    Organisations ‘wait for attack before defending themselves’, says security report

    A survey, conducted by digital security provider Tanium, of UK IT decision makers who had recently experienced a cyber attack found that 86 per cent think that senior leadership is ‘only likely to invest in cyber security after suffering a damaging attack’. Of those polled, 75 per cent of respondents in Tanium’s ‘ Cybersecurity: Prevention Is Better than the Cure ’ report stated that ‘some cyber-security incidents needed to happen’ in order to get increased tech investment from their leaderships. “Net new funding is weighted more towards the remediation of breaches once they’ve happened,” said Oliver Cronk, chief IT architect EMEA at Tanium. “The situation is the equivalent of a business leaving the front door and windows of its offices open and only locking them after a burglary has taken…

  • Book review: ‘The Chemical Cocktail’ by Fiona Erskine

    Book review: ‘The Chemical Cocktail’ by Fiona Erskine

    It’s been a little over three years since we first met Jaq Silver, the central character in Fiona Erskine’s all-action debut novel ‘The Chemical Detective’. With a typewriter that clacks along at a similar pace to her plotlines, Erskine has delivered the third instalment of her series. And what a difference that short space of time has made. While here at E&T we’ve been devoted Erskine fans since day one, it’s hard to disguise the fact that her novels get better and better every time she goes to press. While we enjoyed book one and were impressed by the second, the third – ‘The Chemical Cocktail’ (Point Blank, £8.99, ISBN 9780861540334) – moves Erskine out of the ‘emerging’ category of thriller writer, beyond the velvet-covered ropes, and into the area reserved for those who have arrived. It…

    E&T Magazine
  • Five ways you can leverage IT outsourcing to release growth

    Five ways you can leverage IT outsourcing to release growth

    Over the past two years, a relentless focus on reducing cost throughout technology and business supply chains has enabled businesses to survive the Covid pandemic. With the crisis abating, businesses have switched their focus to growth and innovation. However, competition for IT talent in particular is fierce, and many organisations fear being unable to secure and retain the IT design and delivery skills they need to power transformation. This combination is driving growth in outsourcing intentions across the UK – particulalry in the manufacturing and chemicals sector. PA Consulting’s 2022 IT Sourcing Study , conducted in collaboration with Whitelane Research, found that one in two manufacturing and chemicals firms expect to outsource more over the next two years. And 60 per cent highlighted…

  • UK’s top 25 companies for senior leadership revealed, as rated by employees

    UK’s top 25 companies for senior leadership revealed, as rated by employees

    The list, compiled by Glassdoor economist Lauren Thomas, indicates that the technology companies on the list offer great culture and a good work-life balance, with tech now being the number one industry for work-life balance for the third year running. The research also revealed that tech talent is in high demand, giving candidates more leverage in contract negotiations. The survey also suggests that workers are twice as likely to talk about management when it’s poor, with anonymous employee comments such as “Neglectful, directionless and bullying” shared as part of compiling the study, indicating signs of toxic senior leadership. Post-pandemic, it is widely acknowledged that the shared experience has transformed the workplace, forcing senior leaders to redefine how they run their companies…

  • All data should be treated as sensitive by organisations, security expert warns

    All data should be treated as sensitive by organisations, security expert warns

    As dedicated industry expo Infosecurity Europe 2022 gets under way this week, Nigel Thorpe, technical director at SecureAge , has said that the traditional approach to giving the greatest cyber protection to ‘sensitive data’, while leaving other data types less well secured, has increasingly become a false ideal in a post-pandemic world. “The time has come to rethink what is meant by ‘sensitive’ data,” Thorpe said. “The reality is that an organisation should regard all of its data as potentially ‘sensitive’ information and protect it accordingly – ideally with file-level encryption. “We now see many instances of data that had been regarded as ‘non-sensitive’ being compromised and creating security alerts and reputational harm when it’s released out into the public domain.” Organisations…

  • MP who chairs plastic packaging lobbying group faces conflict of interest allegations

    MP who chairs plastic packaging lobbying group faces conflict of interest allegations

    The investigation, carried out by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), also found that some UK supermarket schemes are failing to adequately address the mounting problem of soft plastics and that a fund set up by some of the world’s largest brands to encourage UK soft plastic recycling has yet to pay out a penny. In a briefing, published this week, the EIA notes that Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby and Bulkington, has since 2020 had a second job outside Parliament as the £30,000-a-year chair of the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) lobby group. The FPA’s position is that people, not producers, are responsible for plastic pollution, and it has been pushing to pause the implementation of UK policies currently being developed, including extended producer responsibility for packaging…