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Driverless car tests at heart of 'upbeat' Budget

Driverless car tests at heart of 'upbeat' Budget

Technology
Billions of pounds for housing and high-tech industry are expected to be at the centre of Chancellor Philip Hammond's "positive and upbeat" Budget this Wednesday.Treasury sources say Philip Hammond will try to help start-up businesses which specialise in driverless cars and artificial intelligence develop into success stories of the future.He will remove regulatory potholes which prevent developers from road-testing driverless technologies without humans present, pump £400m into electric car charge points and invest £160m in 5G mobile networks.::Long read: One number towering over the BudgetThe Chancellor is also reportedly ready to find £5bn for housing schemes and underwrite loans to small home builders.This is part of a commitment to deliver 300,000 new homes every year, adding an extra
UK seeks future cyber-security stars

UK seeks future cyber-security stars

Technology
A £20m initiative to get schoolchildren interested in cyber-security has been launched by the UK government.The Cyber Discovery programme is aimed at 15 to 18-year-olds and involves online and offline challenges themed around battling hackers.It is one of several programmes trying to build interest in security work and help fill a looming skills gap. One industry expert said a broad strategy would be needed to address the widening gap.Hacker clubsThe free Cyber Discovery programme aims to "encourage the best young minds into cyber-security", said Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in a statement.Young people interested will be asked to enrol via an online assessment and the best performers in that test will then be put through a "comprehensive curricul
WATCH: Breakthrough as robot does backflip

WATCH: Breakthrough as robot does backflip

Technology
Scientists have released footage showing a new robot jumping and even doing a backflip as it performs a gymnastics routine.In the video, the latest version of Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot jumps between platforms and turns in midair before sticking the landing of a perfect backflip.The acrobatic display isn't just about putting on a show. Humanoid robots like Atlas are difficult to keep balanced and notoriously tumble over even when walking, so performing gymnastics is a huge technological leap.It's hoped the biped may be useful in search and rescue operations in the future, as it is designed to negotiate tough, outdoor terrain on two legs - leaving the upper limbs free for lifting and carrying.Image:Oops! Atlas fails an attempted jump. Pic: Boston DynamicsIt can open doors, stack shelves w...
20 years of changing seasons on Earth packed into 2½ minutes

20 years of changing seasons on Earth packed into 2½ minutes

Technology
NASA captured 20 years of changing seasons in a striking new global map of the home planet. The data visualization, released this week, shows Earth's fluctuations as seen from space. The polar ice caps and snow cover are shown ebbing and flowing with the seasons. The varying ocean shades of blue, green, red and purple depict the abundance — or lack — of undersea life. "It's like watching the Earth breathe. It's really remarkable," said NASA oceanographer Jeremy Werdell, who took part in the project. Two decades — from September 1997 to this past September — are crunched into 2 ? minutes of viewing. Werdell finds the imagery mesmerizing. "It's like all of my senses are being transported into space, and then you can compress time and rewind it, and just continually watch this kind of visuali
Elon Musk unveils Tesla Semi electric truck

Elon Musk unveils Tesla Semi electric truck

Technology
Electric car specialist Tesla has unveiled a prototype for a truck equipped with a semi-autonomous driving system that it will start producing in 2019.The company's chief executive, Elon Musk, revealed the big-rig truck, dubbed the Tesla Semi, to car owners and potential buyers at a Los Angeles airport hangar.He said the electric trucks were behind the car manufacturer's latest efforts to move industries away from using fossil fuels.Tesla's latest venture has been greeted with some trepidation from analysts, who fear it could be an expensive distraction for the company, which has never published an annual profit.It also has to convince the trucking business it can build an affordable electric truck with the cargo capacity to compete with cheaper diesel alternatives.Video:Tesla's electric t...