Investigating new and future technology. This episode showcases transport tech and explores whether its possible to turn off the internet.
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Hello, Tech fans. This is Technobytes,
here to serve finger-food-sized Technobabble morsels
that satisfy even the biggest of tech appetites.
Let's see who's first to the tech buffet today.
Via our randomly named messaging app.
Vlogster, how will transport change in the future?
Oh, good one.
But if you're not all travelling around in wormholes like me,
I don't want to know. I'll send Lucy today,
this one's right up her street.
I'm sending Lucy to visit a car-maker
who's developed one of the first self-driving cars
to be allowed on UK roads.
She's meeting techspert Laura Hardy,
who is going to teach her all there is to know
about this impressive vehicle.
So, Laura, I believe you're going to show me a car that drives itself.
And I'm assuming this good-looking machine is it.
It's a little normal looking, though. I'm not going to lie,
I was expecting something a little bit more futuristic looking.
Yeah, it does look pretty normal. But if you take a look around,
I think you'll notice some major differences.
Let's take a look.
OK. It's empty. Where's the engine, Laura?
Where's the engine?
Well, why don't you take a look at the back?
OK. Let's go to the boot.
OK. Now, I'm really confused.
All I can see are car seats.
Still no engine.
Laura, how on Earth does this car drive?
If you want to press the button to shut the boot, I'll explain.
I'll press the button.
And this is the chassis. And here's the motor.
Oh, my gosh, it's tiny.
Yes. It doesn't need much. Just a rotor, and then it's powered
by the batteries in the floor of the car.
So, this thing is 100% electric and powered by batteries.
That's right. And thousands of these little cells.
Amazing. So, how do you charge one of these?
Well, you can charge them anywhere.
There's thousands of charging points all over the country.
And you can also charge in your house overnight.
That's amazing. So, I can park this in my garage
and have the comfort of charging it in my own home.
Yes, and 300 miles ready to go the next day.
-That's a pretty long journey.
OK, I'm ready to see one of these things drive themselves.
-Shall we do it?
-Let's do it.
Whoa, that is a whopping great display on the dashboard.
-This thing is huge.
-Oh, I likey.
This is the sort of screen I could get used to.
Jog on, Vlogster. I'm about to look at some serious hi-tech,
and I'm going to need that screen. So, I'm ready to drive.
Let's get going.
So, we're just coming onto the motorway now.
And you can set the speed now.
So, the top speed that you want to be going at.
It's not going to go any faster than that.
And then we can activate the auto steer.
-And that means that the car is now braking,
accelerating and steering for you.
Does this car actually drive on its own?
No, you still need to be behind the wheel.
Oh, so no naps in the back.
No, definitely not. Definitely not.
I am so impressed with the self-steering.
I like the fact that I can just quickly scratch my ear,
then scratch the other one and the car's looking after me.
And it's really smooth, as well.
As I'm driving, I can feel it altering the speed.
How is it able to do that? In fact, now, we're slowing down.
Now, we're speeding up. It's blowing my mind.
So, it's keeping track of the car in front.
If that car slows down, you'll slow down.
And if that car speeds up,
it will speed up to your top speed that you've set.
Obviously, we're staying within the lane.
How is it able to do that? Is that via sensors?
Yes, so the car has got 12 sensors around it.
So, it is able to sense vehicles around you,
objects around you, and also it's looking at the white lines.
And it's keeping us within the white lines and in a safe distance.
Talk to me about the tech inside this thing.
-What else can it do?
-The technology, it is updatable at all times.
So, we can change the user interface. People can download new
functionality overnight on their driveway.
So, in a way, this car's a bit like a smartphone.
I think that's really cool.
-Do you see cars being completely driverless in the future?
At the moment, the safest combination is you and the driver
assistance system. As soon as the car is safer than the driver,
then we've got more chance of tipping that the other way.
That is insane.
I think my mind has actually just been blown.
What do you think about that then, Vlog?
Well, I'm a very good driver.
But how about one for the road?
This is not Transformers, but it is Motobot.
A robot that can ride a motorbike all on its own.
Designed to perform better than a world-champion racer,
this Robo rider will one day race
around the track at more than 125mph.
Talk about putting you in the driving seat, Vlogs.
-What else have you got for me?
-Ever wanted to float in thin air?
A bit like yours truly?
Then this future concept hover car could be for you.
Using electromagnetic road networks,
the car travels a couple of feet in the air.
It has a series of onboard sensors
and a computer to take you safely from A to B.
Time to put the brakes on, Lucy.
Consider yourself parked.
Let's just hope she doesn't get a parking ticket.
Meanwhile, down the road, we've got another techie quandary.
Vlogster, could you turn off the internet?
Whoa! What's the internet ever done to you, Kamal?
Apart from show you how to bite Charlie's finger.
The internet is very robust because it doesn't rely on just one
supercomputer or giant cable.
It's a network of other computer networks, all working together,
crossing over continents, under oceans and even through space.
When you connect to the internet,
data follows one of millions of pathways.
And if a particular connection is damaged,
the data finds a different route to your device.
Trying to turn off all these pathways would be a bit like
herding one million cows.
Come by, come by.
It's a messy business, I can tell you.
The internet was first switched on in 1990, and since then some nations
have intentionally switched it off in their own countries.
They can be lots of reasons for this, but it's usually
in times of crisis, like a threat to national security
or during conflict.
But clever people can find quick fixes.
Landline phones could still make international calls
to logon to dial up Internet in the outside world.
And voicemail services might be used to turn spoken messages
into text and tweets on social media.
Something that could turn off the internet
with disastrous consequences is an electromagnetic pulse or EMP.
A large enough EMP could make all electronic equipment useless.
And giant pulses happened during solar storms created by the sun.
The last one struck in 1859,
when a mega flare hurled around one trillion kilograms
of charged particles towards the Earth.
Thankfully, it's unlikely a solar pulse
would cover the entire planet, and the countries that weren't affected
would send supplies to the areas that were
and rush to repair communication networks.
So, the internet would be back.
Quicker than the Terminator.
You see, it's not as easy as you think to plunge the world
into techno chaos. Phew. Ciao for now!
Technobtyes is the snack-size version of CBBC's Technobabble which investigates new and future technology. This episode showcases transport tech and explores whether its possible to turn off the internet.