Fully Charged: Cumberbatch plays Assange, driverless cars on UK roads and Google Maps hits iPad

Your morning techfast buffet
The Fifth Estate

Good morning to you! Today we've got a veritable smorgasbord of tech news for you, from Google Maps for iOS to driverless cars in the UK. And Benedict Cumberbatch in a silly wig.

Cumberbatch plays Assange

TV's Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, is playing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in upcoming DreamWorks film The Fifth Estate – and the first trailer for the film has hit the interwebs. Giving the WikiLeaks story a Hollywood gloss with dramatic music and sweeping shots of cars whizzing past doesn't seem to have gone down well with the real Assange, though – he's called it "a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff." Maybe he's just annoyed that he won't be able to make it to the premiere.

Source: The Verge

Driverless cars coming to UK roads this year

The Department for Transport has unveiled a blueprint for the future of Britain's roads, revealing that driverless cars are expected to begin test drives on Britain's public roads by the end of 2013. Previous tests have all taken place on private land, but now Oxford University researchers will be able to take their RobotCars on lightly-used rural and suburban roads – with a human along to take the wheel, just in case. We recently took a spin in Volvo's self-driving car – find out what we thought of it here.

Source: BBC

Google Maps hits iPad

Google Maps for iPad
NASA 3D printed rocket engine (Image: NASA Glenn Research Center)

Google has rolled out an update for Google Maps that brings its new design – seen on Android devices last week – to iOS users. It also adds support for the iPad for the first time, as well as live traffic updates, an Explore function with Zagat ratings for restaurants and indoor mapping for shopping centres, public transport stations and airports.

Get it here

3D printed rocket engine fires up

NASA engineers at the brilliantly-named Game Changing Technology Program have been playing with 3D printers – and they've managed to make a key engine component called a rocket injector using the additive manufacturing method, proving that it's good for something other than flimsy plastic toys and Christmas ornaments. Using lasers to fuse metal powders, NASA managed to make the component in just four months (as opposed to the year it takes using conventional methods) and for 70 per cent less.

Google Street View scales the Eiffel Tower

Not content with scaling the Burj Khalifa, Google has sent its Street View cameras up the Eiffel Tower in Paris, filming 360-degree views of the monument and the views over Paris so that you can enjoy the view for yourself. French writer Guy de Maupassant – who reputedly hated the Tower so much he ate there, so that he wouldn't have to look at it – would not be impressed.

Source: Google Blog via Engadget

Xbox One games can be played while you download

When Sony announced the PS4, one of the console's key features was its ability to let you start playing games as you download them. Not to be outdone, Microsoft has revealed that the Xbox One has the same ability – once "a fraction of the entire game" has been downloaded, you'll be able to plunge into the action while it downloads in the background.

Source: The Verge

Why Thom Yorke dumped Spotify

A little birdie tells us that Thom Yorke's taking part in the launch of a new music platform next week. Could that have anything to do with his well-publicised decision to pull his tracks from Spotify? You mean it's got nothing to do with a principled stand over artist royalties? Heaven forfend!