Weekly News Update 13.04-19.04

A news highlight about what’s new with the tech industry, smart cities and smart mobility in the past week.

New time travel feature on Google Earth

Google Earth has launched a new time-lapse feature that lets users view the ways in which Earth has changed over the years with the use of satellite images, emphasising the effects of climate change and other environmental dangers. Read more here.

US announces sanctions against Russia

The US has announced sanctions against Russia in an executive order signed by President Joe Biden, and are in response to cyber-attacks and other hostile actions that the US claims Russia is behind. Read more here.

Instagram for kids faces a lot of opposition

Facebook’s plans to make an Instagram for kids under 13 faces a lot of backlash due to the concern that the platform will put kids’ health and safety at risk and increase their obsession with self-image. Read more here.

EU seeks to ban certain AI systems

The EU has proposed new regulations for the use of AI, which include banning the use of AI for surveillance, social scoring and manipulation of human behaviour, opinions or decisions. Read more here.

Irish party Sinn Féin questioned on use of Facebook data

Ireland’s political party, Sinn Féin, has been contacted by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission and questioned over their use of Facebook data to target voters. Read more here. 

Irish Data Protection Commission to launch investigation into Facebook

The £31bn merger between Virgin Media and O2 has been officially approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is the UK’s competition watchdog. The merger is expected to make one of the UK’s largest entertainment and telecoms firms. Read more here.

New 3D printing technique makes water filters

An engineering team from the University at Buffalo has created a new 3D printing technique based on the use of graphene aerogels, which filter out contaminants in water. Read more here.

Robot dragon gifted to teenage cancer survivor

Belle Cress, a 14-year-old cancer survivor, has received a robotic dragon that had been personally designed for her. Her wish was granted by Make-a-Wish Foundation and Arrow Electronics. Read more here.

Honda collaborates with AutoX to test autonomous vehicles

Honda has partnered up with AutoX to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, an initiative meant to help Honda further its understanding of China’s traffic environment and increase the public’s sense of safety when it comes to autonomous vehicles. Read more here.

Yandex to launch online grocery delivery in Paris and London

Russian corporation Yandex has announced it will be launching its online grocery delivery service, which uses dedicated warehouses that cater only to online clients, in Paris and then London. Read more here.

Verizon to launch 5G Business Internet in 21 US cities

Verizon has announced they will be launching their 5G Business Internet in 21 cities in the United States, including Chicago and Houston. The 5G Business Internet offers a 10-year price lock for new customers, no data limits and a selection of different plans suited to the needs of customers. Read more here.

Co-founder of Adobe who helped develop PDF dies

Charles Geschke, the co-founder of the company Adobe who helped develop the Portable Document Format (PDF) in 1982, died this past Friday in California at the age of 81. Read more here.

Ocado partners with Oxbotica to build self-driving vehicles

Online grocery retailer Ocado has teamed up with Oxbotica, a firm specialising in autonomous vehicle software, to build hardware and software for self-driving vehicles. Read more here.

New walking app brings history to life

A new mobile walking app is aiming to bring history to life for people walking around the Somerset coast in England. The app features 12 “Storywalks” which are unlocked as the user walks around the coast. Read more here.

Tesla Model S crash leaves 2 dead

A fatal car crash involving the Tesla Model S which was not being driven by either of the two people in the car occurred when the Tesla crashed into a tree and caught fire. The car might have been in autonomous driving or self-driving more. The crash is currently being investigated. Read more here.

Facebook creates its version of Clubhouse

Facebook has announced that they will be launching a series of audio features that include Live Audio Rooms, their version of the popular app Clubhouse, where users can listen to and participate in live conversations and Soundbites, which allows users to create and share short audio clips. Read more here.

AI-Powered Albert Einstein interacts with fans

The company UneeQ has used their Experiential AI technology to create a digital Albert Einstein. Digital Einstein has the look and the voice of the famous scientist and can answer questions about his life, work and theories and even quiz people on various topics. Read more here.

Klaudia Żychowska

Klaudia Żychowska is a Polish native who grew up in Chicago. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a double concentration in Creative Writing and Professional Writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she decided to move back to Poland to reconnect with her roots. She is fascinated by smart cities and innovative technologies and is responsible for content strategy at NaviParking.

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