ShinyShiny tech roundup: Vauxhall backs ‘Build Back Greener’ strategy

Vauxhall Mokka-e. Image: Vauxhall

With the COP26 global climate summit around the corner, the UK government has announced another push towards electric vehicles (EVs) as part of an overall shift to a carbon-neutral economy.  Ministers are investing £620m in grants for electric vehicles and street charging points. Carmakers will also be forced to sell a proportion of clean vehicles each year. An extra £350m is promised to help the automotive supply chain move to electric. The new plan set out by the government is supposed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reach a target of net-zero by 2050. Says Paul Willcox, Managing Director, Vauxhall: “Vauxhall welcomes the UK government’s announcement to implement a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate which will provide clarity to the UK motor industry and the rest of the electric vehicle ecosystem, on the basis of a 360-degree approach.” Vauxhall has committed to only selling fully electric new cars and vans from 2028 – seven years ahead of the government’s deadline of 2035. Tech Digest 

Apple has launched its third-generation Apple AirPods. Image: Apple

A new range of laptops and the third generation of AirPods were the key highlights from Apple’s latest launch event. Chief executive Tim Cook announced Apple’s much-anticipated new Macbook Pro computers, with new screens and high-end M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, as the tech giant continues its switch from Intel. Mr Cook also announced the third generation of AirPods, five years after they were first launched, during the live-streamed event on Monday….The new AirPods have a similar design to the AirPods Pro, which has shorter stalks and squeeze controls. But they will not have silicone earbud tips or active noise cancelling. The wireless earbuds have improved speakers for better quality audio, longer battery life and a redesigned case. The third generation will also support head-tracking for Apple’s spatial awareness surround-sound feature. The third-generation AirPods will cost £169 and will ship on 26 October. Sky News 

Image: Tesco/ParsMedia

Tesco has opened its first checkout-free store in central London where people can shop without having to scan a product. The UK’s biggest retailer said its branch in High Holborn has been converted to allow customers to shop and pay without using a checkout. The new format, known as GetGo, follows similar stores opened by Amazon. Customers with the app will be able to pick up the groceries they need and walk straight out again. Tesco said “a combination of cameras and weight sensors” would establish what customers had picked up and charge them for products directly through the app when they left the shop. The technology is provided by Israeli tech start-up Trigo, which has similar partnerships with supermarkets in Germany and the Netherlands. BBC 

The Google Pixel 6 family is due to launch in just a few hours – we’ve already launched our event live blog, though we’ve also got a guide on how to watch it yourself if you prefer – with a kick-off time of 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST, or 4am AEDT on October 20. Someone missed that memo though, because the Google Pixel 6 Pro has already been listed on Amazon in the UK (via popular leaker Roland Quandt), and the listing includes a particularly in-depth specs list for the thing. This includes some details we’d heard before, like its 6.7-inch screen size, 1440 x 3120 display resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, or its combination of a 50MP main, 48MP telephoto and 12MP ultra-wide camera. Tech Radar 

The Government is teaming up with Bill Gates to invest in early stage technologies to help tackle climate change.  It will invest £200m alongside Gates’s clean energy fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures which also plans to invest a further £200m over 10 years.  The investment from the fund’s Catalyst division will focus on projects to scrub carbon emissions out of the air, clean up jet fuel, green hydrogen and battery storage. The pair announced the funding at this morning’s Global Investment Summit, where the UK is seeking to attract billions of pounds in investment. Telegraph

Chris Price