Week Ending: 4th June - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Can you believe it’s June already? With a welcome heatwave sweeping the country this week, the news may have been the last thing on your mind! But don’t worry, we’re here to bring you up to date on the headlines from the world of tech and I.T.

This week we look at why Tesla prices are expected to rise, a robot dog which is helping us understand hazardous environments and the merging of two household telecoms brands.

Let’s catch you up.

Elon Musk warns of rising Tesla prices

Tech giant and entrepreneur, Elon Musk, has warned the public that the price of Tesla cars is likely to rise due to a global shortage of computer chips. According to a tweet at the beginning of the week, Elon said

“there has been global supply chain disruptions in the auto industry, particularly with raw materials, which will mean Tesla prices will have to increase.”

With Tesla models having such high specifications and needs, these past few months have proven difficult as carmakers scramble to obtain the crucial chips needed to produce the vehicles. Elon Musk has therefore raised the price of the Model 3 and Model Y electric cares by $500, which is the fifth price increase in the past few months.

Many factors have led to the shortage of materials, including the pandemic causing many Asian factories to shut down, alongside the severe weather in the US and factory fires in Tokyo causing the price of computer chips to skyrocket whilst production drops.

Elon Musk commented

“We’ve had some of the most difficult supply-chain challenges that we’ve ever experienced in the life of Tesla. A global chip shortage is disrupting Tesla’s supply chain, companies over-ordering microcontrollers is comparable to when people hoarded toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic.”

In an attempt to help relieve the issue, Elon Musk is considering paying upfront for the supplies of chips, alternatively he is considering purchasing Tesla’s own semiconductor factory. These plans are at a very early stage and won’t be able to reach full production capacity for many years.

Read more here.

Robot ‘dog’ is helping scientists understand hazardous environments

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have created a four-legged robot ‘dog’ that’s been fitted with telexistance technology to help understand how humans working in hazardous environments such as oil platforms and refineries can be supported.

Using devices such as microphones and cameras to capture sound and video, the £60,000 robot gives humans access to dangerous environments without actually being present.

The robot, which is part of the “Spot” range created by Boston Dynamics, is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland. It has also recently hit the headlines by dancing on YouTube!

Professor Yvan Petillot, a professor of robotics and autonomous systems at Heriot-Watt University commented

“Fitting this robot with our telexistence technology means we can carry out a range of experiments. In search and rescue operations or following accidents, Spot robots fitted with our sensors could monitor a casualty’s vital signs and transmit images and sounds back to a hospital, allowing doctors to offer advice on treatment or decide when it’s safe to move a patient.”

These clever robots are designed to climb over rubble, walk up and down stairs and be able to cope with dust and rain. It sounds like we all need one.

And there are plans for “Spot” to venture into construction by using lidar which is similar to radar but uses light instead of radio waves. This will allow the robot to build a picture of the surroundings whilst spotting obstacles like rubble on construction sites. It has the potential to speed up construction processes, reducing the cost of re-work and improve quality control.

Discover more here.

Virgin Media O2 pledges to create ‘unbeatable choice’ as merged brand launches

Two big household names, Virgin Media and O2, have recently launched their merged brand Virgin Media O2, retaining both names and unifying as one. The company will not be changing any of their existing services, but plans are under way to offer seamless broadband, entertainment and mobile services all in one place this year.

Creating one of the UK’s largest entertainment and telecoms firm, Virgin Media O2 could become a major rival to BT, however it could also be a great benefit to consumers. However, some consumers are concerned they will lose the high standards of service that each company provided previously, whilst others have said there is potential for greater choice of entertainment and faster speeds.

Virgin Media O2 has promised to create 4,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships to support this new launch, alongside pledging to increase its fibre footprint by an additional one million premises within 12 months of the merger.

Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media O2 CEO commented

“We are ready to shake up the market and be the competitor the country needs at a time when choice has never been more important. Through investment and innovation in cutting-edge infrastructure and future technology, we will connect more people to the things they love, support communities across the country, help businesses to grow and power the UK economy.”

This merger will result in better quality connectivity for consumers and businesses and deliver innovative new products that will hopefully aid the UK’s economic recovery following the pandemic.

Explore more here.

Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech, but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.