Futurism:
this week

Airbus' Drone Taxi Takes Maiden Flight

Vahana, the autonomous vertical take-off and landing craft developed by Airbus has flown for the first time. A prototype of the flying taxi flew for just under a minute at a height of 16ft, at a test site in Silicon Valley, California. Airbus plans for the drone taxi to eventually be in operation in cities, where it will allow passengers to avoid traffic.

Source: TechCrunch

BP to Install Electric Chargers at UK Petrol Stations

BP has announced that it will install electrical vehicle charging points at a selection of UK petrol stations this year. The plan is part of a trial to see how conventional fuel forecourts can be expanded to host the growing number of electric vehicles in the country. If successful, it may lead to a rollout of charging points at all of BP's 1,300 UK locations.

Source: Auto Express

3D Printed Implant Can Turn Into Bone

Scientists have developed a ceramic 3D printed implant that can be used to hold broken bones together before turning into natural bone during the healing process. The technology, which has already been used to heal bones in rabbits, could prove to be a key breakthrough in treating of complex breaks, which currently require the implantation of screws and pins.

Mole Rats Don't Age, Scientists Discover

Scientists have discovered that naked mole rats don't age. An exhaustive study of the animal found that they don't have an increased risk of death with age, making them unique among mammals. The discovery could have significant impact on ageing research, much of which is focused on preventing the ageing process in humans.

Source: Science

Self-Driving Companies Push for Ownership Ban in Cities

A selection of car hire and hailing services, including Uber, have signed a document calling for the ban of privately owned self-driving vehicles in cities. The document, Shared Mobility Principles for Sustainable Cities, is aimed at improve the quality of life in urban areas, but has attracted criticism from some who consider it an attack on freedoms.

Source: Reuters

Cancer-Killing 'Vaccine' Successful in Mice

Scientists have developed an injection that has successfully eliminated all traces of cancer in animal trials. The highly targeted treatment is injected into a tumor site, which it destroys, along with any other tumors in the body. If can be made to work in humans, it would be a huge moment for cancer treatments, improving outcomes while reducing side-effects.

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC