The Morning After: NASA's air taxi testing

·Bureau Chief, UK
·4 min read

Good morning! I hope all our US readers are having a great Labor Day weekend, but you know how it is: Tech news doesn’t stop. But before we get into NASA and air taxis...

Over the weekend, a group of 11 House Republicans sent letters to the leaders of 13 tech companies, threatening legal action if they comply with a request for records related to the January 6th Capitol attack. However, the letter they sent to Yahoo (Engadget's new parent company) is addressed to Marissa Mayer, who hasn't been CEO of the company since 2017.

The ups-and-downs of Yahoo aside, it’s a reminder that Congress' general lack of tech knowledge creates problems, whether it's a letter to a long-gone CEO or law change proposals that could produce easily foreseen complications.

Note that none of the letters went to Telegram, Reddit, TikTok and other influential tech companies and platforms.

— Mat Smith

NASA starts flight testing with Joby's electric air taxi

The dry runs could help rethink the future of airspace.

NASA’s air taxi tests are moving forward with Joby Aviation's electric VTOL aircraft to help model and simulate a future that might involve flying cars. The dry run began quietly, on August 30th, and will last through September 10th. The effort includes noise checks using 50 microphones to gauge the "acoustic profile" of the air taxi throughout a flight.

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An 'Alan Wake' remaster may be coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X in October

The classic thriller won't be an Xbox console exclusive.

'Alan Wake' for PC
'Alan Wake' for PC

Those longstanding murmurs of an Alan Wake revival might just have some merit. Well-known sleuth Wario64 has spotted Rakuten listings for an Alan Wake Remastered title that would launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on October 5th.

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Study says Europe is 21 years behind its emissions reduction goals

The continent's largest utility wants officials to pick up the pace.

Europe’s largest utility company, Enel, doesn't think EU officials are moving quickly enough to tackle reducing emissions. Its study warns that Europe could be late on reducing greenhouse gas emissions if it continues at its "current pace." The European Union wants to reduce those emissions by 55 percent by 2030, Enel said, but it reportedly won't reach that target until 2051 without substantial changes.

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Apple is delaying its child safety features

The CSAM detection tools were supposed to arrive with iOS 15.

Apple says it's delaying the rollout of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) detection tools "to make improvements" following pushback from critics. The features include one that analyzes iCloud Photos for known CSAM, which has caused concern among privacy advocates.

Apple claimed the approach would provide "privacy benefits over existing techniques since Apple only learns about users’ photos if they have a collection of known CSAM in their iCloud Photos account." However, privacy advocates have suggested that CSAM photo scanning could lead to law enforcement or governments pushing Apple to look for other types of images to perhaps, for instance, clamp down on dissidents.

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Segway's robot mower uses GPS to stay on your lawn

There's no need to install a perimeter wire with the Navimow.

Segway Navimow robot mower
Segway Navimow robot mower

Segway is moving into the robot mower market with the Navimow — and it doesn’t need boundary wire. Instead, Navimow uses GPS and other sensors to stay within the perimeter of your lawn.

Its Exact Fusion Locating System can maintain Navimow's position accurately to within two centimeters, according to Segway. If the GPS signal ever dips, the company says the device's array of sensors and data ensure it will still work. You can tell Navimow where to mow, define the boundaries and instruct it to avoid certain parts of your garden via an app.

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Smart's Mini-like EV concept shows off its larger vehicle ambitions

It's designed by Daimler and built on Volvo-owned Geely's EV platform.

Smart's Mini-like EV concept shows off its larger vehicle ambitions
Smart's Mini-like EV concept shows off its larger vehicle ambitions

Mercedes teamed up with Volvo automaker Geely to transform Smart into an EV-only brand a few years ago, with new vehicles to arrive in 2022. We're starting to see the fruits of this collaboration with the unveiling of Smart's Concept #1.

Given Smart’s past, the Concept#1 appears relatively large. Designed by Mercedes, the four-seater has roughly the same dimensions (and kind of a similar look, to be honest) as Mini's largest vehicle, the Countryman. Smart and its Daimler/Geely parents are planning to turn this concept into a production vehicle. The aim is to make multiple versions, including a long-range model, while offering the "highest level of dynamic handling" for enthusiasts.

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