Catch up on this week’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
Within the next two years, the UK will have the biggest automated drone highway on the planet. 164 miles in length, the government-funded Skyway project aims to connect the cities of Cambridge, Coventry, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading and Rugby.
One of the project’s chief short-term aims is to build on the many drone trials that have recently been held across the country, in an attempt to see if they can be rolled out successfully on a bigger scale. To accomplish that, the government is spending £105 million on funding for integrated aviation system projects that make use of new vehicle technologies. This will see unmanned drones being used by businesses to deliver products, and by organisations like the NHS to deliver medicines and medical equipment.
To ensure the Skyway operates safely, a drone-focused air-traffic control is to be developed that will guide the vehicles on route along the highway, making use of ground-based sensors positioned along the flight corridor to provide real-time tracking.
Submarine drugs drone
Unfortunately, it’s not just the good guys that are making use of drones to ship their products. The technology is now being used by drug cartels, some of which are now using miniature drone submarines to smuggle drugs between countries. In recent weeks, police in Spain have captured three such underwater vessels which were being specially manufactured to transport narcotics consignments across the Straits of Gibraltar, from Morocco to the Spanish mainland, from where they were to be distributed throughout the rest of Europe.
Able to carry up to 200kg of narcotics, the unmanned submarines were capable of being operated remotely, from anywhere in the world, simply by using a smartphone or tablet app to control their GPS navigation systems. With their small size making it difficult for border control teams to spot them on sonar, they make it far easier for gangs to import drugs into Europe without being caught. Additionally, as the vessels are unmanned, even if they were seized, it is almost impossible to trace which cartel was running the smuggling operation.
UK IT talent shortage
With a staggering two million unfilled IT posts, the UK tech sector had more vacancies than any other last year. This is in addition to the 12 million employees across all sectors that business leaders say are lacking in important technology skills. This shortage, the leaders add, is hindering companies and holding back the recovery of the UK economy.
Though the government is promoting apprenticeships as a way to remedy the shortage, the figures for last year showed that over half of apprentices dropped out. What’s more, in addition to the lack of new talent being trained, concerns over job security and the state of the economy mean experienced IT professionals within the industry are increasingly wary about moving jobs.
While hybrid cars are the stepping stone to net-zero road traffic, one UK start-up is applying the same principle to passenger air flight. The company, Faradair, aims to create a short-haul, hybrid-electric passenger plane capable of carrying up to 19 passengers and crew.
Using a gas turbine, electricity would be generated to power the fan-driven motor and propel the plane forward, while the lift would be provided by a ‘magnificent men in their flying machine’ style triple-level wing. Despite sounding rather old-fashioned-looking, the triple-wing actually provides the optimal aerodynamics that the plane needs for taking off on short runways at low speeds.
Aside from reducing emissions, which is one of the biggest issues with air travel, the Faradair plane would also be quieter and, having fewer moving parts than traditional aircraft, be cheaper to operate and maintain.
From wi-fi to li-fi
Scottish company, pureLiFi, is about to expand its light-based wireless communications systems worldwide, following significant investment.
Unlike conventional wi-fi systems that use radio waves, a li-fi network utilises the light emitted from LED lamps to send data to devices. The system has some significant advantages that can help solve the main challenges faced by 5G networks, for example, li-fi can transmit data at multiple gigabits with virtually no interference, and it is more reliable and more secure than radio-based wi-fi or cellular networks.
The company has already secured a contract to supply an optical wireless communications system to the US military and is now seeking to expand its li-fi network for use with smartphones, wearables and other connected devices.Visit the WHUK website for more news, knowledge base articles, blog posts and information on our wide range of hosting services.