Welcome to our latest round-up of news from the technology and hosting world. Here’s what we’ve discovered this month.
Drone’s dirty work
In an effort to get rid of a job that no one would really choose to do, Scottish Water has begun to use drones for its sewer inspections. Apart from saving people from having to trudge around in slurry for hours on end, the other main benefit is that drones can provide Scottish Water with more accurate data about the condition of the sewers. This can result in more cost-effective maintenance and repair work while helping to minimise the risk of flooding and pollution.
Kitted out with the latest laser scanning technology, LiDAR, and hi-spec cameras, the drones can detect a range of issues, including holes, cracks, fat burgers and collapsed brickwork. What’s more, one camera can do the same work that traditionally takes a team of 15 people. This reduces the burden on Scottish Water’s human resources while cutting the amount of time workers have to spend in potentially hazardous environments. The drones are expected to be used in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Tesla’s humanoid robot
Elon Musk has unveiled Tesla’s prototype humanoid robot, Optimus, at the Tesla AI Day in California. According to the maverick entrepreneur, the company is seeking to create a useful robot that’s easy to mass produce and which will be both reliable and inexpensive. Indeed, he expects it to sell for around $20,000 (USD) – less than the price of a Tesla car.
They are not for sale just yet though. Although Optimus can walk, wave, bounce around to music and do basic lifting tasks, its developers say it needs a better brain and improved dexterity to navigate in and interact with the world. In its progress to that point, Optimus will learn to carry out jobs that are either tedious or hazardous at the Tesla factories. Eventually, however, Musk wants future versions to live in people’s homes, doing the washing, cooking the food, looking after elderly people and being companions for the lonely.
Council’s Russian cyberattack
Gloucester City Council is the latest local authority to be hit by a cyberattack – one that investigators suspect is linked to Russian cybercriminals. The malware which infected the council’s system had been embedded in an email received by an employee and this remained dormant in the system for quite some time before becoming active.
The attack had a significant impact on the council. In the immediate aftermath, it resulted in delays to benefit payments, planning applications and property sales, while the longer-term consequences include the need to rebuild all the council’s servers to remove the malware. The estimated cost of restoring the system is around £800,000.
eukhost customers are reminded of the need to keep their systems secure, including using tools like SpamExperts to block the malicious emails that caused the problems at Gloucester.
Scotland’s first driverless bus, currently being tested in Inverness, has suffered software issues that forced its backup human driver to take over. The autonomous vehicle, which has been given the humorous nickname ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney’, is currently being trialled along a three-kilometre route between the Inverness Campus and the city’s retail and business park.
Able to carry up to 15 passengers, the bus uses cameras, guidance and detection systems, and a deep learning application to help it navigate the route safely. As this is a trial, most of the route the bus takes is only for use by pedestrians, cyclists and public transport to reduce the risk of collision with other vehicles. Additionally, a real driver is on board to take over if issues, like the recent software problems, arise.
The project is being undertaken by Hitrans in partnership with Inverness Campus, the Stagecoach bus company and autonomous vehicle developer, NAVYA.
Technology manufacturers’ profits are taking a hit after consumers across the globe are buying fewer electronic devices as a result of the recent rise in both inflation and interest rates. Samsung, one of the world’s biggest tech companies, estimates profits will drop by a third this year.
Both Samsung and American microchip maker AMD have also said that falling demand for microprocessors has impacted their businesses. They are selling fewer chips as the manufacturers that buy them are still using up their existing stocks. This lack of demand also means that prices for computer and smartphone chips have dropped significantly, further denting Samsung and AMD’s income. AMD predicts its revenues for the latest quarter will be $1 billion less than estimated.
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