A UK first for Oxford University robotics spinout Oxbotica which sees its driverless car carry passengers on the roads around Milton Keynes.

The car will test how pedestrians and other road users react to driverless vehicles.
“Today’s first public trials of driverless vehicles in our towns is a ground-breaking moment,” Britain’s business minister Greg Clark said at the start of the trial this week.
“The global market for autonomous vehicles presents huge opportunities for our automotive and technology firms and the research that underpins the technology and software will have applications way beyond autonomous vehicles,” he said.
The two-seater pod will operate fully without human control, using data from cameras and radars to move around pedestrianised areas.
Organisers in Milton Keynes ran a number of exercises ahead of the trial including mapping the town and conducting safety planning with the local council ahead of the trial.
Milton Keynes was selected alongside three other locations for autonomous technology projects partly because of its wide pavements and cycle-path network.

Global engineering firm Renishaw has cut the ribbon on a new healthcare manufacturing facility that sees the company return to its roots in the medical field.
The Renishaw Healthcare Centre for Excellence was formally opened on September 29 in the Welsh town of Miskin, near Cardiff.
The new building is a combination manufacturing facility and training center, with highlights that include a mock operating theatre where surgeons can be trained in complex stereotactic neurosurgery procedures using Renishaw’s neurological projects.
The theatre includes all the features of a real-life operating theatre, including lead lining for X-ray protection, so surgeons can train in a realistic setting without having to worry about maintaining a sterile environment. Video and audio technology is also installed for the purpose of live streaming training procedures to anywhere from the adjacent operating theatre to an overseas neurological support team.
Stereotactic neurosurgery is a minimally invasive technique of operating on the brain, commonly used in deep brain stimulation, biopsies and stereoelectroencephalography. It’s an area of specialty for Renishaw, which produces a wide range of medical and dental tools and devices, many of them additively manufactured. The company is a leader in metal additive manufacturing, and the new facility will include a manufacturing center for the production of Class 3 custom 3D printed medical devices under an ISO13485 quality management system. 3D printed parts will include patient-specific cranio-maxillofacial implants, jigs, guides and dental frameworks.
The Renishaw Healthcare Centre for Excellence is adjacent to the company’s main Welsh manufacturing operation, a 450,000-square-foot facility that was purchased from Robert Bosch Limited in 2011, refurbished and opened in October 2012. The facility is where the manufacture of Renishaw’s metal 3D printing systems takes place, as well as additional healthcare research and development and the manufacture of metal components and electronic sub-assemblies.
A new, worrying survey from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) among its members shows confidence in the industry waning in a post-Brexit economy.
The survey coincides with quarterly figures from UK retailers showing food sales at their highest levels since 2013, suggesting a disparity between business and consumer confidence levels.
Following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (EU), a majority of food and drink companies responding to FDF’s survey report increased ingredient prices, a drop in product margins, and concerns for the future raised by their EU workforce. More than two thirds (69.5%) of respondents are less confident about the UK business environment, with only around one in 10 (11.2%) more confident.
FDF is calling for an industrial strategy partnership with Government to support the development of food and drink manufacturing, a sector in which the UK has a competitive advantage.
Food and drink manufacturing supports 3.9 million jobs across the £108 billion UK food chain and employs 400,000 people directly. Of these, almost a third (29%) are non-UK EU nationals. A large majority (71%) of companies surveyed employing EU staff report their EU employees have expressed concerns about the Referendum outcome, with around one in 12 (8.7%) reporting that EU employees intend to leave the UK. FDF is calling for urgent assurances for the industry’s workforce from the EU that they will have leave to remain in the UK.
Food and drink producers face tough trading conditions, with three quarters of companies seeing ingredient prices increase largely as a result of the weak pound, with product margins falling for most survey respondents. This trend is expected by most companies to continue over the next 12 months. Urgent action from Government is needed to ensure essential imports of ingredients and raw materials from the EU and EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries do not face tariffs or costly non-tariff barriers.
FDF’s survey results reflect the sentiment of one third of its full membership including micro, small, medium and large food and drink manufacturers.
Ian Wright CBE, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “We share Government’s view that we need to make the best of Brexit. Food and drink industry confidence is low. Slower revenue growth, coupled with prolonged business uncertainty, is affecting the industry’s ability to invest.
“The assurances we heard from Government last week must be underpinned by credible plans for restoring confidence and negotiating a workable future relationship with the EU. Working with Government through an industrial strategy partnership, we believe we can counterbalance uncertainty arising from the EU exit process and secure world-class status for the sector.”
Manchester-headquartered internet infrastructure and hosting company M247 has been acquired by private-equity-backed Metronet UK for £47.5m to support its international expansion plans.
M247 was founded in 2000 by school friends Jonathan Buckle and Chris Byrd initially as a web hosting services business before David Buckle, Jonathan Buckle's father, decided to co-invest in the business to purchase a web hosting company named Open Hosting. Open Hosting was then incorporated into Jonathan Buckle and Chris Byrd's existing business before being rebranded as M247 in 2003.
Today the business provides a range of services including web hosting, network and data security and 24/365 technical support. The firm operates from Manchester and Bucharest with clients including On the Beach and Warburtons.
Lee Perkins, chief executive at Metronet (UK), said: "M247 is an excellent fit for us as it provides the scale and reach to build upon our existing momentum and the expertise and infrastructure to provide richer solutions to our combined customers.
"In addition to further acquisitions of similarly high-quality businesses to M247, we are making significant investments in our systems and people to facilitate a smooth integration for our customers and to support further organic growth."
Metronet (UK) currently employs 150 staff across two sites in Manchester and works with more than 2,500 businesses including Intu, Sofology and AO, delivering a turnover of £21.5m in the financial year to 2016. The newly combined business will have three datacentres, more than 200 staff and EBITDA in excess of £12m.
Following the acquisition of M247, Metronet (UK) will be able to offer a combined portfolio of connectivity and content services including wireless network services, datacentres and managed hosting services across the UK and Europe.
David Buckle, managing director at M247, said: "We have known the Metronet (UK) team for some time and feel they are a perfect fit for our business. They are the ideal home for M247 and we are extremely excited about what the future holds for our combined businesses."
Livingbridge invested in Metronet (UK) in June 2014 as part of a £45m secondary buyout of the firm.
Matthew Caffrey, partner at Livingbridge, said: "This is a fantastic step forward for Metronet (UK) as it continues to expand its footprint across the UK and eventually into Europe.
"This acquisition is the start of a journey to build an international, multi-offering internet service provider and hosting business and we are delighted that M247 will be part of that process. Metronet (UK) has an exciting time ahead as it actively looks for similar acquisition opportunities and we look forward to seeing the business build on its success to date."
A legal firm’s newspaper advertisement depicting ballerinas with their arms crossing their chests – with the tagline ‘Protect your assets’ – has been cleared by authorities.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found Dorset firm Humphries Kirk LLP was not in breach of rules concerning harm and offence.
One complainant had objected to the advertisement, which appeared in the Bournemouth Daily Echo in June, on the grounds it was sexist and objectified women, challenging whether it was offensive.
The family law firm stated that its intention was to cause a ‘double take’ and create a ‘gentle innuendo’ to depict the practice in a more human and approachable way. Another advertisement in the campaign featured male rugby players in an equivalent pose.
The advertisement itself showed just the torso of the four dancers, with the full text saying: ‘Protect your assets… Our solicitors are on hand to give you expert advice about divorce, finances, prenups, property disputes and children issues’.
The firm said its advertisement did not contain any type of nudity or focus on the dancers’ bodies in a sexual manner. It further argued the ballerinas were not shown in a demeaning, subservient or exploitative way, or use stereotypes, and that the people depicted were real dancers who had volunteered for the shoot.
The faces of the dancers were omitted, the firm explained, because they might be recognisable to local people and it wanted to preserve their anonymity and not detract from the ‘essence of the image’.
The ASA stated: ‘Humphries Kirk believed that a reasonable person would see the ad as light hearted rather than offensive, and they believed that the innuendo was neither vulgar nor degrading to women, and was linked with any sexual activity.
The Bournemouth Echo further stated the advert was ‘demurely executed’ and the presentation was respectful of women and the image used was acceptable.
‘Whilst there was a slight edge to the wording used in that it could be considered as "laddish", they did not believe that it could be taken as offensive,’ added the ASA.
The ASA agreed the dancers were not featured in a sexually suggestive or explicit pose, and the focus was on the balletic pose and the dance formation, rather than any specific part of their bodies.
Its ruling, published today, added: ‘Although we acknowledged that some might find the reference to women’s chests or breasts as ‘assets’ distasteful, we considered that the reference in the ad was not used in a salacious or lewd manner, but rather it was a mild innuendo.’
Given that the innuendo was light hearted, the advert was considered unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and was cleared.
Time Out Group has signed a conditional lease agreement for a new Time Out Market at 106 Commercial Street in London's Shoreditch district.
Subject to planning permission being received on the site, this will be the first Time Out Market in London, following the success of its flagship market in Lisbon which opened in May 2014.
In the first six months of 2016, the Lisbon market reported year-on-year proforma revenue growth of 106%, 1.3 million visitors, and positive EBITDA in each month of the current financial year.
Time Out said the new outlet will bring together under one roof some of London’s best restaurants, bars, shops and cultural experiences based on Time Out's editorial curation.
The London location is expected to have a footprint of 19,250 square feet. Time Out Group will provide tenants with the facilities, equipment and support services in exchange for a share of revenues, while bars will be directly managed by the group.
The site is expected to open during the second half of 2017. The group is also working to open Time Out Markets in Porto, New York and Miami.
Julio Bruno, chief executive of Time Out Group, said: "I'm absolutely delighted to announce that we will be bringing our unique Time Out Market format to London. This is not only one of the world's most vibrant and exciting cities, but also the birthplace of our iconic brand. Opening a Time Out Market here is an incredible milestone for our brand and our growth strategy.”
Boparan Holdings, the owner of food giant 2 Sisters has announced the acquisition of the Ed's Easy Diner brand and more than 30 of its American-themed eateries.
Ranjit Boparan made the swoop via giraffe Concepts Ltd, part of Boparan Restaurants Holdings, which also comprises Harry Ramsden's, FishWorks and The Cinnamon Collection.
The deal includes the Ed's Easy Diner brand, its head office team and 33 of 59 restaurants, securing about 700 jobs.
Tom Crowley, managing director of giraffe Concepts Ltd, said: "Ed’s Easy Diner has been an integral part of the UK casual dining scene for the past four decades and we are very excited about the business joining the group and the opportunities ahead."
As part of the sale process, Rob Croxen and Blair Nimmo from KPMG were appointed joint administrators to Ed’s Easy Diner Group, Ed’s Easy Diner Holdings and Ed’s Easy Diner Overseas. Immediately upon their appointment, the joint administrators concluded a pre-packaged sale of the business and certain of its assets to the purchaser.
A further 26 diners will close with immediate effect, resulting in 379 redundancies.
VisitBritain and Expedia are launching a multimillion-dollar, three-year partnership to market Britain to Americans.
The campaign aims to generate over $165 million of additional visitor spend to the UK economy. The U.S. is considered Britain’s most valuable inbound visitor market. Visits from the U.S. grew 10% to 3.3 million in 2015.
The multi-phase campaign introduces Americans to 365 Days of #OMGB British travel moments on a bespoke content platform ( A TV campaign will be launched in the U.S. in January.
The content platform allows for other partners, including airline partners, destination management organizations and travel suppliers to provide detailed local information about places that are not so well known by international visitors.
The campaign will also leverage influencers and social media to encourage visitors to share their own moments using #OMGB, which trended on Twitter earlier this month as part of teaser activity.
Developing products that make it easier for overseas visitors to navigate Britain and experience more of what the nations and regions have to offer is central to the partnership, which has already seen the integration of bookable rail products fast-tracked onto the Expedia platform.
“This partnership with VisitBritain, which builds on our successful collaboration together over the last five years, will influence travelers across the purchase journey by highlighting the many hidden gems across all parts of the country throughout the year with easy ways to book a trip to Britain,” says Noah Tratt, Expedia media solutions global senior vice president, in a release.
The campaign is part of the UK Government’s global GREAT Britain campaign, which showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer as a place to visit, study and do business.
Nescafe has debuted a new commercial and strapline – ‘Leave like a Legend’ for an advert called ‘Swooshy Man’.
The campaign aims to engage a younger generation of coffee lovers and continues to celebrate Nescafé Original as the UK’s biggest and favourite coffee brand. The idea dramatises the feeling Nescafé Original’s new ‘double filtered, fuller flavour’ provides. Nothing sets the scene for the day quite like a coffee made in your own kitchen; then you’re out of the house, ready to take on whatever the world throws at you.
With a swoosh of his flowing locks and under a deluge of coffee beans, Swooshy Man leaves his house for work and nothing can get in his way.
Richard Howatson, Nescafé Marketing Director said, “To celebrate the launch of our fullest flavoured Nescafé Original yet, we’re excited to share the ‘Leave Like A Legend campaign. We want to empower the nation to feel that they can leave the house like a legend every morning after a cup of Nescafé Original.”

HMV has appointed R.O. Eye as its digital marketing agency for reaching niche audiences online.
The agency will help HMV to target online fan communities to promote its 'Steelbook' exclusives - new releases and re-released classic films on Blu-Ray in commemorative tins.
"R.O. Eye is helping HMV reach niche online communities to drive DVD sales, " said Steve Partridge, head of eCommerce at HMV.
"We're using a lot of social channels to educate appropriate audiences about new, exclusive and relevant releases."
HMV is also using Facebook to re-engage with customers who browse on the site but abandon their baskets.

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