Futurism:
this week

Gatwick Airport closes runway after spotting rogue drone

Gatwick Airport closed one of its runways and diverted five flights because a drone was spotted flying around in the area. An airport spokesman said the runway had been closed for two periods on Sunday – of nine and five minutes – after the drone was sighted.

Source: BBC

Elon Musk confirms arrival plans for the Tesla Model 3

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed in a tweet that "all regulatory requirements" for the Tesla Model 3 have been passed, two weeks ahead of schedule. Musk also said that the first 30 customers would receive their Model 3s on 28 July at a handover party.

Source: Wired

Virgin Galactic will take passengers into space by the end of 2018

2-and-a-half years after the fatal breakup of Virgin Galactic’s experimental rocket plane, Virgin's founder Richard Branson has said powered tests are set to resume. The test flights will hopefully lead to commercial passenger flights beginning by late 2018.

Source: Bloomberg

Apple planning to replace Touch ID with 3D face-scanning

Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face. The tech will be powered by a new 3D sensor, and Apple is also testing eye scanning tech, which would work alongside the face scanner.

Source: Bloomberg

France wants to ban sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040, end coal by 2022

France’s environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, has said that the country will aim to phase out electricity from coal-fired plants by 2022 and end the sale of gas and diesel internal combustion cars by 2040. Hulot also noted a law would be proposed later this year to end any new operating licenses for oil, gas, and coal mining.

Source: Ars Technica

Snooper's Charter is being taken to court

Human rights group Liberty has been granted permission from the High Court to challenge the UK Investigatory Powers Act, better known as the Snoopers' Charter. Director of Liberty, Martha Spurrier, said: "The Government doesn’t need to spy on the entire population to fight terrorism."

Source: The Inquirer

China planning to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles

Xin Guobin, China's vice minister of industry and information technology, has said the government is working with regulators to put in place a timetable to end the production and sale of cars powered by fossil fuels. It's hoped the move will accelerate the expansion of the electric car market.

Source: Bloomberg

Limited Tesla Autopilot was "partly to blame" for crash

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that Tesla's Autopilot system was partly to blame for a fatal accident in which a Model S collided with a lorry. The safety board concluded that Tesla allowed the driver to use the system outside of the environment for which it was designed,

Source: BBC

Chelsea Manning warns about the risks of AI

During a conversation at Noisebridge hackerspace, Chelsea Manning commented on some of the inherent risks of AI. "We’re now using huge datasets with all kinds of personal data, that we don’t even know what information we’re putting out there and what it’s getting collected for," Manning said.

Source: Ars Technica

US government bans Kaspersky software from its agencies

The Department of Homeland security has ordered government agencies to stop using software products made by Kaspersky Lab because of possible ties between Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence. The process of discontinuing Kaspersky products is expected to begin within 90 days.

Source: Ars Technica

Hyperloop One selects ten possible routes for the first hyperloop

Hyperloop One has announced that it has selected ten proposed routes for the first hyperloop. The company also announced that it would “commit meaningful business and engineering resources and work closely with each of the winning teams/routes to determine their commercial viability”.

Source: Inverse

Artificial 'skin' gives robotic hand a sense of touch

A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a breakthrough in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold, while also offering advantages for a wide range of biomedical devices.

Source: Science Daily

The plan to make every surface inside the car of the future smart

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) has revealed a vision for the future of cars where every surface inside the vehicle can become a smart surface.

Launched at the International Auto Show, YFAI’s activeSkin concept will turn the largely decorative surfaces inside cars, including the door trim, floor console and instrument panel, into smart interior surfaces, which YFAI says will be “fully interactive” and could be ready by 2022.

“The future generation of surfaces will be smarter than ever. Just by passing your hand over a upholstered surface of the car will appear an interactive surface or dynamic decorative ambient light. Surfaces interact with us, “says Han Hendriks , YFAI’s chief technology officer.

“This technology is impressive.”

Images courtesy of YFAI

YFAI says its customisable 3D glass surfaces could benefit drivers by replacing some of the current operating elements in traditional cars.

However, If no information is called up by the driver, integrated screens and operating surfaces would remain invisible as purely decorative glass surfaces, so drivers would not be distracted by unnecessary information popping up.

“We offer on-demand functionality, so it will only be visible when you need it. In this way we will be able to customise features on interior surfaces,” said Hendriks. “With activeSkin we can achieve a 3D effect that gives a feeling of amazing depth.”

This isn’t the first time YFAI has tried to predict what cars of the future will be like.

The company’s XiM17 concept car was designed with autonomous driving in mind and helped answer the question, “What will people do in their vehicle, if they no longer have to drive?”

YFAI’s XiM17 allows passengers to switch between a number of different modes to allow passengers a number of different ways of engaging.

For example, in family mode all four seats in the car are positioned facing each other, whereas in meeting mode the rear seats are folded away. so that the driver and passenger seats face each other. and a floor console rises to form a desk.