Self-driving cars potential £8bn boost to UK economy

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 30 Mar, 2017) London, Uk – –

Self-driving cars could deliver an £8bn a year boost to the economy by giving people with disabilities the ability to travel more freely, increasing their education and earnings potential.

New research on so-called “autonomous” cars has found that vehicles that do not need a human at wheel could open up opportunities for people with disabilities that limit their mobility.

Instead of having to rely on inflexible public transport, self-driving vehicles would give freedom to an estimated 1m people, offering them the opportunity to boost qualifications and increasing their earnings by an average of £8,500 a year.

The findings tie in with Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) Connected Car conference on Thursday, which explores how the technology will transform the industry and the opportunities it presents.

“The benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles are life-changing, offering more people greater independence, freedom to socialise, work and earn more, and access services more easily,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the trade body, which predicts that self-driving cars will be commonplace by the 2030s.

“Fully autonomous cars will be a step change for society, and this report shows people are already seeing their benefits. The challenge now is to create the conditions that will allow this technology to thrive.”

The research also found that six out of 10 people believe self-driving cars will improve their quality of life, with this rising to seven out of 10 for people aged 17 to 24.

The high cost of insurance is seen as a hurdle to young people driving, but when computers are controlling vehicles this is no longer a factor.

Older people also identify the benefits of autonomous cars, with half of them saying it would make their day-to-day lives easier, as aged-related issues such as failing eyesight limit their ability to drive themselves.

Across the board, stress-free driving is perceived to be the biggest attraction of self-driving technology, with computers taking the pressure off and the cars parking themselves once at their destination.

On-board technology that self-diagnoses problems is also expected to ease motorists’ minds.

Britain is aiming to be at the forefront of developing autonomous cars, with the Government having made it a priority with legislation and funding to encourage research in the UK.

The potential payoff for establishing Britain as a world leader in the sector is massive. The SMMT valued autonomous cars and the systems that connect them to the internet as being worth £51bn a year to the UK economy by 2030. Success in the field could also see 320,000 jobs created.

The latest research into the impact of autonomous cars was conducted by Strategy&, a unit of global consultants PwC.

“There is a real risk that this momentum and competitor advantage in the UK will stall if we don’t do more to create positive public perception, overcoming our inherent risk averse culture,” said Mark Couttie, a partner with Strategy&.

“Expanding people’s horizons about the advantages of fully autonomous cars is a vital first step. This means better communicating the art of the possible to increase social acceptance and dispel concerns that our survey identified relating to cost and safety.”

By Alan Tovey

Large electronic device ban comes into force on UK airlines

 

A ban on large electronic devices in aeroplane cabins has come into effect on several airlines flying “into the UK and US”.

Citing attacks on aircraft and in airports in recent years, the US has applied the restrictions to nine carriers from eight countries: Turkey; Morocco; Jordan; Egypt; the United Arab Emirates; Saudi Arabia; Qatar; and Kuwait. The UK ban covers six nations, excluding the UAE, Morocco and Kuwait, but including Lebanon and Tunisia.

New fuel-efficient planes about to shift global aviation map

 

The global aviation map is about to shift in a way we've not seen in three decades. New fuel-efficient planes mean that we could see a lot more long-haul direct flights. Bloomberg Gadfly's David Fickling explains why that could be bad for the airlines.

Electric black cab manufacturer opens a £300m plant in Coventry

 

The black cab manufacturer London Taxi Company has opened a £300m plant for its new electric cab.

The plant in Coventry, which has created more than 1,000 jobs, will produce the electric taxis by the end of the year.

The company is owned by Chinese carmaker Geely. Chief executive Chris Gubbey told Ian King Live there may yet be more investment.

Uk follows US by imposing ban on larger electronic devices on flights

Britain has followed in US footsteps by imposing a cabin baggage ban on larger electronic devices on passenger flights from several Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Direct inbound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are affected by the new restrictions, amid terrorism fears.

Passengers won't be allowed to bring phones, laptops or tablets over 16 cm in length, 9.3 cm in width and with a depth of over 1.5 cm into the cabin.

Malaysia Develops World’s First Digital Free Trade Zone

 

The development of the Digital Free Trade Zone would offer a conducive environment for digital companies to carry out their business, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during his opening address at the Global Transformation Forum in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Google’s European Boss Apologised Over Extremist Content

(qlmbusinessnews.com via yourlocalguardian.co.uk – – Tue, 21 Mar, 2017) London, Uk – –

Google’s European chief has publicly apologised after online adverts for major brands appeared next to extremist material, but declined to say whether the company would begin actively seeking out such content and taking action against it.

Matt Brittin, Google’s head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told the Advertising Week Europe conference in London on Monday: “I want to start by saying sorry to the brands affected by this. I take the issue very seriously and I apologise in the instances where that may have happened.”

But his response was deemed inadequate by Yvette Cooper, Labour MP and home affairs select committee chair, who said the company was “failing to do enough” to weed out extremist content.

Brittin told an audience of advertising industry figures that the company would improve its ad placement system, which has seen ads attached to videos by extremists, including hate preachers and the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The ads help fund payments to the people who post the videos, with every 1,000 clicks worth about £6.

Brittin insisted the sums involved had been “pennies not pounds” but admitted,“clearly we need to do more on that”.

He declined three times to say whether Google would start actively seeking out extremist content, rather than investigating only after users flag up inappropriate material, such as videos on YouTube, which it owns.

“Of course we’re looking again at how we improve what we’re doing on enforcement. That’s a question of resources and technology and community,” he said.

Cooper, who last week accused the company of “profiting from hatred” said she was not satisfied with Brittin’s response to the issue.

“This apology from Google doesn’t go far enough,” she said. “They need to say whether they will be paying back any of that advertising revenue and to answer our questions on what more they are doing to root out extremism or illegal activity on YouTube because they are still failing to do enough to remove illegal or hate-filled content from YouTube.

“They still don’t seem to have woken up to the seriousness and toxicity of some of the videos they are still hosting and their own responsibility to deal with that. And they still haven’t agreed to use any of their much-feted search engines to identify illegal content such as National Action videos and remove them.

“It isn’t enough for Google to respond only when their advertising revenues take a hit. They are one of the biggest and most powerful companies on the planet. They can afford to do far more, far faster to deal with illegal and hate-filled content online.”

Brittin admitted that the company “need[s] to do better” but also appeared to blame advertisers for failing to deploy tools designed to ensure their ads do not appear next to extremist content.

“What we found is that there are many controls available but they’re not always being used so we need to make sure they’re simpler and easier to use,” said Brittin.

Google executives have been summoned to the Cabinet Office later this week to explain to ministers what they plan to do about extremist content and ads attached to it on YouTube and Google’s wider network.

But a date for the meeting has yet to be arranged, according to Whitehall sources, while Brittin was unable to say what measures the company will promise to take.

“You’ll have more detail from us very soon on that. We’re working to get it right and if we need some improvement we will do,” he said.

The government and several high-profile companies have suspended adverts, or are reviewing whether to do so, after it emerged that extremists including Duke were able to profit from adverts on Google’s network.

Marks & Spencer became the latest company to pull advertising from Google on Monday, adding its name to a growing list that includes government departments, major advertising agencies and well-known companies. McDonald’s, the BBC, L’Oréal, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, the Guardian, Audi and Channel 4 are among the firms to suspend advertising.

BT and Sky said they were reviewing their relationship with Google.

Unilever’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, who was speaking alongside Brittin at the Advertising Week Europe seminar, said the consumer goods company has not pulled its adverts from Google and had not yet been affected.

Brittin’s public apology comes after he was urged to do so by Rob Norman, chief digital officer at GroupM, part of the world’s largest advertising group WPP.

While Brittin admitted that Google had work to do to mend fences with advertisers, he also pointed out that it handles a huge volume of content, including 400 hours of YouTube video uploaded every minute.

By Rob Davis

Vodafone to merger with India telecoms operator Idea Cellular

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 20 Mar, 2017) London, Uk – –

shibainu/flickr

Vodafone has announced the merger of its Indian business with rival mobile operator Idea Cellular to create one of the world’s largest telecoms operators.

The announcement ends months of speculation over a possible tie-up.

The combined company will have an enterprise value of around £19bn and be the biggest telecoms operator in India with almost 400m customers and a market share of 35pc.

The deal, which means that Vodafone has gone into business with the powerful Birla dynasty, has been triggered by a mobile price war that was kickstarted by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, and his new operator Reliance Jio.

Following the merger, which is expected to close in 2018, Vodafone will own 45.1pc of the combined company, while the Aditya Birla Group will own 26pc.

The Aditya Birla Group, which is Idea’s parent company, has the right to acquire more shares from Vodafone “with a view to equalising the shareholdings over time,” the companies said.

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive, added: “The combination of Vodafone India and Idea will create a new champion of Digital India founded with a long-term commitment and vision to bring world-class 4G networks to villages, towns and cities across India.

“The combined company will have the scale required to ensure sustainable consumer choice in a competitive market and to expand new technologies – such as mobile money services – that have the potential to transform daily life for every Indian.”

The companies said they expect cost and capex synergies of about £8bn after integration costs, with operating cost savings representing 60pc of the expected savings.

The Aditya Birla Group has the sole right to appoint the company’s chairman, which will be Kumar Mangalam Birla, the group’s chairman. Vodafone will appoint the chief financial officer, while the two groups will jointly agree on the appointments of the chief executive and the COO.

Shares in Idea rose almost 15pc immediately after the announcement of the news but quickly reversed, plummeting back down by around 15pc.

By Sam Dean

Dawoon Kang Coffee Meets Bagel Co-Founder

 

Dawoon cofounded Coffee Meets Bagel along with her sisters Arum and Soo. As COO & Head of Marketing, Dawoon oversees the company’s overall vision, strategy, branding, and marketing. Dawoon explains why her sisters started Coffee Meets Bagel and how their dating service empowers women. She also tells the story of rejecting Mark Cuban’s 30 Million Dollar offer on Shark Tank and the up’s and down’s of starting a business with her family.

Intel Buys Mobileye Tech Firm For $15.3

 

US microchip maker Intel is about to be the new company behind the wheel at the driverless technology firm Mobileye.

Intel has agreed to buy the Israeli tech firm for $15.3 (14.3 billion euros) which could give it a dominant role in the autonomous-driving sector.

It is the biggest technology takeover in Israel's history and the largest purchase of a company solely focused on self-driving. The price represents a premium of around 33 percent to the Friday closing price of Mobileye's shares.

Nintendo’s Switch early sales in Europe and United States strong

 

Nintendo's shares rose on Wednesday following reports of strong sales of its Switch games console.

The hybrid home and mobile device is essential for Nintendo's future profitability after the poor performance of its previous offering the Wii U.

Japanese video gaming magazine Famitsu said an estimated 330,637 Switch units were sold in Japan in the first three days after its release on March 3.