ShinyShiny snippets: Royal Mail wants fleet of 500 drones

Image: Royal Mail

The Royal Mail wants a fleet of 500 drones to help deliver the mail to remote communities across the UK. In the next three years it hopes up to 200 drones will help carry the mail on 50 new routes with the Isles of Scilly, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Hebrides the first to benefit. The new services need approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).  It says that the new routes will depend upon the “ongoing planned improvement in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle economics”. Royal Mail has been testing the use of drones for some time, with the most recent trial held in April on the Shetland Islands. BBC 

The installation of new safety equipment on smart motorways will be completed within the next five months to help ensure drivers “feel safe” on the roads. National Highways said it is on course to upgrade 95 cameras to enable automatic detection of vehicles ignoring red X lane closure signals by the end of September. The cameras give police the ability to issue £100 fines to offenders without spotting them in the act, as was the case previously. The upgrade is aimed at reducing the number of motorists who ignore the signs, which are used when lanes are closed due to a broken-down vehicle or roadworks. Yahoo!

Google Pixel Watch. Image: Google

Google has confirmed it will launch its first own-made smartwatch later this year as a new competitor for the Apple Watch. The Pixel Watch will be released alongside Google’s next flagship smartphone, the Pixel 7 – a direct rival for the iPhone – with both going on sale in the autumn. The new devices were previewed during the technology giant’s annual Google I/O developer conference.. Google said the Pixel Watch – which has been much rumoured – will be made from recycled stainless steel and fashioned into a circular design. Evening Standard

At the Google I/O 2022 keynote, CEO Sundar Pichai debuted a new feature coming to Google Maps that gives users a drone-level aerial view of cities, offering a helpful middle ground between satellite and street views. Immersive View, as the new mode is called, uses “billions of photos” to model buildings and trees in 3D using machine learning. The new view lets users understand a city’s topography, rotate their perspective to look between buildings, and see traffic and weather conditions at different times of day. CNet

Google will roll out virtual credit cards for Pay on Chrome and Android later this year, in an effort to better protect users’ financial information during online transactions. Virtual cards are randomly generated 15 or 16 digit numbers that can be used to obscure your true card information when making online payments. The idea is that if a business you transact with has a data breach or suffers a cyberattack, hackers will only be able to swipe your “virtual” number, not your real one. There are a number of companies, like BlurStripe, and banks, that provide these kinds of services—often for a price. Gizmodo

Just hours after we got our first glimpse at the potential design of Samsung’s Z Fold 4, unofficial renders of its smaller sibling — the Z Flip 4 — have also leaked via 91Mobiles and OnLeaks. But while the next Fold might get a redesigned camera bump, the Z Flip 4’s design looks almost identical to its predecessor. Externally it still has a two-tone color scheme with a pair of cameras and small notification display, while inside there’s still a 6.7-inch foldable display with a hole-punch selfie cutout in the top middle. The Verge 

Having huge social media platforms controlled at the “whim of billionaires” is “wholly undemocratic”, a former vice president of Twitter has told Sky News. Bruce Daisley spent eight years working for the US tech giant between 2012 and 2020, and was speaking after Elon Musk agreed a $44bn (£35.6bn) deal to buy it. He said: “Billionaires’ whims controlling media is something we’ve always been subject to and something we’ve witnessed in press and broadcast. But now it’s coming to social platforms and the danger is it feels wholly undemocratic.” Sky News 

Chris Price