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Newspaper UpdateBack

UK facing ‘digital skills crisis’ warn MPs

It is thought 12.6 million adults lack basic digital skills, while 5.8 million have never used the internet at all. “Stubborn digital exclusion and systemic problems” need to be urgently addressed or the country’s productivity and competitiveness might be damaged, warn MPs.

The report found that:

  • 22% of IT equipment in schools is ineffective
  • Just 35% of computer science teachers had a relevant qualification
  • Only 70% of the required number of computer science teachers have been recruited
  • The UK needs another 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017
  • 90% of jobs require digital skills to some degree
  • Skills gap costs economy around £63bn a year in lost income

The report calls for businesses to invest more and better training at all levels of education.

The Financial Times

China carmakers tie up with local tech companies

China’s largest automobile makers are starting to collaborate with Chinese technology groups on the future shape of the car, in the hope of strengthening their positions against foreign rivals.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles last month struck a partnership with Google parent Alphabet on self-driving vehicles, however some other western carmakers including Ford have been wary of such collaboration. One of the concerns seems to be that some western tech companies could relegate established automakers.

The Times

Drivers still on their phones despite increase in fines

Fines for using mobile phones behind the wheel should be raised as high as £450 because some motorists are addicted to using apps while driving, ministers were told. The current standard fine of £100 and three penalty points is said to be no longer a deterrent at a time when the use of smartphone technology.

The RAC says that the use of in-car apps has reached saturation point, with drivers using handheld devices to make calls, navigate, stream music and even check Facebook. Ministers are poised to increase the fixed penalty for mobile phone use from £100 to £150.

Congestion ahead as commuters get back in their cars

Rising numbers of commuters will travel by car over the next 25 years as fewer journeys are made by foot, bicycle, bus and train, according to an official analysis.

The government admitted that all modes of transport apart from cars would decline in popularity between now and 2040. Forecasts by the Department for Transport suggest a 24 per cent decline in bus journeys, a 7 per cent drop in cycling and a 1 per cent fall in the number of trips by train.

The Evening Standard

Electric cars: the benefits in London

In January London officially became a ‘Go Ultra Low City’ after winning a government competition and £13m to prioritise electric vehicles (EV) across the capital. The aim of the scheme – also spearheaded by Bristol, Nottingham and Milton Keynes – is to boost the take-up of plug-in electric cars both in the capital and across the country.

Electric car owners also benefit from lower running, maintenance and repair costs, zero road tax and lower fuel costs, as well as get 35 per cent off the cost of a car up to £4,500 under the government’s plug-in car grant scheme. Electric cars are also exempt from the £11.50-a-day congestion charge and can park for free in many boroughs.

In addition to these benefits, the new Go Ultra Low City work will deliver a range of measures to encourage take up of EVs, such as: a single residential chargepoint offer to London EV owners that don’t have off-street parking and new commercial rapid chargepoint infrastructure to provide speedy charging for businesses and fleet vehicles.

The Daily Mail

Ford develops a fake car revving sound to pipe IN to vehicles because modern engines are now too quiet

Fake reviving sounds are being pumped in to cars because modern engines are too quiet.  Manufacturers have developed new technology to make drivers think their cars are louder than they really are. Ford, Peugeot and Toyota already use a similar technology so when a driver hits the accelerator they are impressed with the apparent engine noise.

But the new Ford patent, if successful, should encourage more manufacturers to use the technique.

Ford has gone to the US Patent and Trademark Office with their electronic method which they say helps drivers to change gears efficiently.



Posted by Sue Robinson on 17/06/2016