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Uber has unveiled plans to partner with plane manufacturers to develop and test a network of flying cars by 2020. The ride-sharing company said it will run trials in the US city of Dallas and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The flying electric taxis are being developed with aviation companies including Embraer and Bell Helicopter. While the technology is largely unproven, Uber believes the service will eventually cost about the same as its car rides.
A consortium of British companies has unveiled a plan to test driverless cars on UK roads and motorways in 2019. The Driven group also plans to try out a fleet of autonomous vehicles between London and Oxford. The cars will communicate with each other about any hazards and should operate with almost full autonomy – but will have a human on board as well. Previous tests of driverless vehicles in the UK have mainly taken place at slow speeds and not on public roads. The Driven consortium is led by Oxbotica, which makes software for driverless vehicles.
More than half of small firms employing workers from the EU are worried that Brexit will stop them recruiting sufficiently skilled staff. A report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that only 21% of small firms currently employ staff from an EU country. But of those, 59% are concerned they will not be able to recruit the right staff in the future.
The Daily Telegraph
Volkswagen is under renewed pressure to pay compensation to British motorists caught up in the “dieselgate” scandal, as well reveal the findings of the huge investigation into how the company deliberately cheated emissions controls. The calls came from MPs on the Transport Select Committee (TSC) who say the company is treating the British public with “complete disregard”. Members of the committee say owners of the 1.2m VW cars in the UK affected by dieselgate are being treated like “poor relations” compared to their peers in the US, where billions are being paid to owners of affected cars.
The Daily Express
There is set to be an increase in the amount of cars that are bought on a lease or financing deals because of the increasing fees motorists are expected to pay. A new study by Servicing Stop has found that despite only 18 per cent of motorists financing their cars, more than a third are more likely to finance their next vehicle rather than rent or buy. Over 10 per cent of drivers said that the higher insurance premiums on new models has completely put them off buying altogether. Half of UK drivers said they couldn’t afford to buy a new or used car outright. Almost 40 per cent said that the attraction of financing a car was the low down payment they had to make on the car.
The MOT system will be overhauled amid alarm at the number of unsafe cars on the roads. Under the plans, motorists will be provided with tailored guidance warning them which parts of their vehicles are most likely to break between their annual MOT checks. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said that the advice should be used by motorists to avoid faults rather than waiting for garages to detect them. Official figures show that 36.7 per cent of cars, more than ten million, were found to be unroadworthy after being subject to MOTs in 2015-16. Problems with lights and signals were the most common faults, followed by suspension issues, brakes and steering.
Britain’s car factories have not been as busy since the turn of the millennium as a recovering European sales market and export-boosting fall in sterling sent production to a 17-year high. A 7 per cent surge took car assembly output in March to 170,691, the equivalent of 230 cars every hour, the highest since 2000 when Longbridge was still producing Rovers and the country built 183,787 vehicles. The figure for the first quarter, 471,695 cars, is also the strongest opening three months since 2000.
The CBI has urged the government not to get bogged down in bickering over the Brexit divorce bill, arguing that it is dwarfed by the half a trillion pounds of goods and services traded each year between Britain and the EU. Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the business lobby group, will emphasise in a speech today that it is in Britain’s interests to reach an agreement with the EU27 on the divorce settlement as quickly as possible so that it can focus on “the real prize” of securing the best possible access to the single market. Britain’s bill has been calculated by some to be in the region of €60 billion.
Scientists have proved that deadly particles of pollution can get into the bloodstream by asking volunteers to breathe in microscopic specks of gold. Research has shown that particles a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair can pass through the lungs. It was demonstrated for the first time that they gather in the most vulnerable areas of blood vessels. Experts said that the study provided the “missing link” between airborne nanoparticles, often generated by vehicle emissions, and the increase in levels of poor heart health as pollution levels rise. Campaigners said it added fresh weight to their calls for government action on air quality. Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, said it was “further evidence” that toxic air was the biggest environmental health…
The introduction of tougher punishments for the most serious speeding offences has been welcomed by motoring groups. Drivers caught at speeds excessively above legal limits face higher penalties in England and Wales from Monday. Under new guidelines for magistrates, fines for motorists caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of their weekly income, rather than the previous level of 100%. AA president Edmund King described the changes as “an effective way to penalise offenders”.
The Daily Mail
One in six motorists admit to illegally using their phone while driving despite the introduction of tougher punishments last month, according to a report. Penalties and fines for illegal phone use doubled to six points and £200 respectively on March 1. The crackdown by ministers was announced just two days after the Daily Mail launched a hard hitting campaign revealing the often tragic consequences of people using their mobile phone at the wheel. Transport secretary Chris Grayling has said he aims to make this dangerous habit as socially unacceptable as drink driving. But there are worrying signs that the message is still not hitting home with many motorists.
A new study shows that drugged driving kills more motorists in the US than driving drunk does.
Data from 2015, the most recent available, shows that 43 percent of driver fatalities who were tested had drugs in their system, eclipsing the 37 percent of dead drivers who had been drinking. The study revealing these findings was released Wednesday by the Washington, DC-based Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
Members of the public could be able to summon driverless cars in two years’ time after the Government backed a consortium looking to test the technology in London. The Departments for Business and Transport have handed the group £12.8m to research and develop self-driving technology ahead of a trial in the capital. FiveAI, a Cambridge-based artificial intelligence firm, is developing the trial with Direct Line, the University of Oxford, Transport for London and the Transport Research Laboratory.
The Daily Mirror
Major roads should be sponsored by sports teams, supermarkets and technology firms, according to a motoring expert. Bringing in adopted highways such as the Man United M6, Morrisons M1, the Microsoft M4 and the Adidas A1 would help to tackle traffic jams, says Edmund King, president of the AA. Cash from roadside advertising could see fuel duty drop from 58p per litre to 47p within five years, and bring in £3billion for investment, he said. This could be used to fill potholes.