Plans for a ten mile test track in Wiltshire have been unveiled by Dyson, where new electric cars will be put through their paces. The track is part of a plan to start selling a ‘radical’ electric car from 2021. Dyson bought and then renovated the disued airfield at Hullavington two years ago. The redevelopment has cost £84m and the next phase of the airfield’s development would take Dyson’s total investment to £200m. About 400 automotive staff are now based at Hullavington and a further three buildings will open in the next few months, meaning there will be testing space of 15,000 sq m. ‘We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organisation,’ said Jim Rowan, chief executive of Dyson.
Any details about the electric car are yet to be revealed, and no prototype has been built. It is expected to be aimed at the upper end of the market and may not even look like a conventional vehicle. ‘What we are doing is quite radical,’ said Rowan. The hints suggest that the Dyson vehicle is more likely to rival Elon Musk’s electric carmaker Tesla, rather than the likes of Toyota or Volkswagen.
Dyson came under fire in 2002 for its decision to move production of its vacuum cleaners from the UK to Malaysia at the cost of 560 jobs. Dyson, which made its 100 millionth machine last year, posted a 40% rise in turnover to £3.5bn as sales soared in Asia, while profits jumped by a third to a record £801m.
It has more than 12,000 staff, including 4,500 engineers and scientists, with 4,800 employees in the UK.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (30th August 2018)
Facebook’s Watch video-streaming service is being rolled out worldwide, just over a year after its launch in the US. Users will be able to choose from a range of shows – from both established brands and new players, as well as being able to have the ability to view clips saved from News Feeds.
The firm plans to allow all content creators to feature advertising breaks, so long as they hit certain criteria. Until now, only select publishers had been given the opportunity. To start with, only videos shown to audiences in the UK, US, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand will have this facility. The revenue split will be 55% to the creators and 45% to Facebook.
Watch is often portrayed as a rival to Google’s You Tube, but it also competes for attention against traditional TV channels as well as other online outlets like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
A report noted that although some Watch shows had attracted audiences numbering in their millions, they often struggled to retain them. Even so, some big name stars have been involved in original programming made for the platform.
Facebook claims that its advantage against other platforms is the ways Watch helps viewers interact with others. “It is built on the notion that watching video doesn’t have to be a passive experience,” explained Fidji Simo, Facebook’s vice-president of video. “You can have a two-way conversation about the content with friends, other fans or even the creators themselves.”
She added that a Watch Party feature lets users co-ordinate themselves to watch a show together, while an Interactivity Platform allows creators to run polls, challenges and quizzes to boost engagement.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (29th August 2018)