Best Tech Stories around the web #119

On the program this week: flying cars before the end of this year, Google Maps help us to find car park spaces, the first green-energy boat and researchers warn of fingerprint theft from selfies.

Airbus wants to test autonomous flying cars sometime this year by

French aerospace giant Airbus wants to have an autonomous car in the air by the end of the year, according to the group’s chief executive, Tom Enders. Airbus claims the autonomous flying car will alleviate traffic problems in major cities and could reduce infrastructure budgets for city planners, who won’t have to worry about bridges, traffic lights, or concrete roads. Read more

Google Maps beta is starting to show parking availability to beta users by

There’s nothing worse than driving to a busy downtown megaplex and coming to the sudden, horrifying realization that there aren’t any parking spaces in sight. It can easily ruin a night if you’re pressed for time, and that’s why the ever-astute Google is prepping salvation: Parking availability alerts in Google Maps. Read more

World’s first green-energy boat prepares for a six-year voyage around the world by

The first self-sufficient boat powered only by clean, emission-free energy — and not just the wind in its sails — will start a six-year trip around the world in the spring. Energy Observer, a former race boat now equipped with solar panels, wind turbines and hydrogen fuel cells, will use sun, wind and self-generated hydrogen to power batteries that run the boat’s electric motors. Read more

Researchers warn of fingerprint theft from ‘peace’ sign by

Could flashing the “peace” sign in photos lead to fingerprint data being stolen? Research by a team at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) says so, raising alarm bells over the popular two-fingered pose. Fingerprint recognition technology is becoming widely available to verify identities, such as when logging on to smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. But the proliferation of mobile devices with high-quality cameras and social media sites where photographs can be easily posted is raising the risk of personal information being leaked, reports said. Read more