The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has blasted the execution of Australia's Biometric Identification Services (BIS) project, labelling it deficient in almost every way. The BIS project, awarded to NEC Australia, kicked off before the July 2016 creation of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's (ACIC), which was formed following the merger of the CrimTrac agency, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC). All the big questions answered on Australia's encryption laws answered. It had an initial budget of AU$52 million. The project, ANAO said, was meant to replace the existing National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) and provide facial recognition capabilities to enhance law enforcement's biometric capabilities.
In a world first, an undersea robot has dispersed microscopic baby corals (coral larvae) to help scientists working to repopulate parts of the Great Barrier Reef during this year's mass coral spawning event. Professor Dunbabin engineered QUT's reef protector RangerBot into LarvalBot specifically for the coral restoration project led by Professor Harrison. The project builds on Professor Harrison's successful larval reseeding technique piloted on the southern Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017 in collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (QPWS), following successful small scale trials in the Philippines funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. "This year represents a big step up for our larval restoration research and the first time we've been able to capture coral spawn on a bigger scale using large floating spawn catchers then rearing them into tiny coral larvae in our specially constructed larval pools and settling them on damaged reef areas," Professor Harrison said. "Winning the GBRF's Reef Innovation Challenge meant that we could increase the scale of the work planned for this year using mega-sized spawn catchers and fast track an initial trial of LarvalBot as a novel method of dispersing the coral larvae out on to the Reef. "With further research and refinement, this technique has enormous potential to operate across large areas of reef and multiple sites in a way that hasn't previously been possible.
The Victorian government has given approval to Bosch to test automated driving systems on the state's rural roads. With a AU$2.3 million grant, awarded under the AU$9 million Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Trial Grants Program, Bosch will be the first to use automated vehicles for testing and development on Victorian roads. The state in September finalised regulations to support the new Automated Driving System (ADS) permit scheme, which authorises the operation of an automated vehicle. With an ADS permit, parties can test the operation of the vehicle in automated mode, test the safety of automated capabilities, and assist the development of automated capabilities, enabling road authorities to also monitor and manage the use and impacts of automated vehicles on roads. VicRoads in late 2017 called for expressions of interest from companies, industry bodies, and other transport technology organisations to apply for funding to spur the development of automated vehicle technology, specifically if it had the potential to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the state's roads.
Victoria has sanctioned a trial of driverless cars on rural roads in a bid to improve the dramatically more dangerous conditions outside urban areas. People are five times more likely to be killed on a Victorian country road than in the city. The automated vehicle technology is being developed by Bosch as part of a $2.3m state government grant and will be tested on high-speed rural roads later this year. "This trial is an exciting step towards driverless vehicles hitting the road," the acting premier, Jacinta Allan, said. Bosch has been granted the state's first permit to allow automated vehicles for on-road testing, with other successful applicants to be announced soon.
A decade in the making, Rio Tinto's driverless train system, called AutoHaul, now manages roughly 200 locomotives that move iron ore from inland mines to coastal ports in Western Australia. The trains are operated hundreds of miles away, in an office block in Perth. Rio Tinto's network, which began formally operating in driverless mode late last month, is the first fully autonomous, long-haul freight railroad. Rail-company executives from countries including the U.S. and Canada have visited to see the technology in action, said Ivan Vella, Rio Tinto's head of iron-ore rail services. American companies say automating tasks once handled by crew will create fluid networks more akin to a model train set.
The South Australian government has launched a six month trail of a new autonomous bus and smart transit hub in Adelaide. The trial involves a driverless shuttle, known as Olli, and two transit hubs, called Matilda. Olli will drive from Mosely Square in Glenelg to the Broadway Kiosk, and back, with a statement from SA Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, and Local Government Stephen Knoll pointing to the trial as showing how technological developments could improve the state's transport system and customer experience. Transportation is about to get a technology-driven reboot. The details are still taking shape, but future transport systems will certainly be connected, data-driven and highly automated.
As I look out at 2019, there's certainly plenty to be optimistic about – revolutionary new technologies are fueling the 4th Industrial Revolution and positively impacting how we work, live, connect and play. It's exciting to see technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mixed Reality (MR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming key drivers for digital transformation and making a positive and lasting impact on our society and environment. In Australia, for example, the Department of Primary Industry and Resources for the Northern Territory Government is using AI and IoT to identify and analyze hundreds of precious fish species in one of Australia's largest harbors. This massive undertaking will ensure fisheries' resources are sustainably-managed, protected and developed for future generations. Although there is good reason to be generally optimistic about economic and societal prospects for 2019, some business leaders have also confided in me that they see significant challenges ahead.
CANBERRA: Five car manufacturers would have level three and four autonomous vehicles available by 2020, rising to 14 by 2022, the Australian National Transport Commission (NTC) said Monday, warning lawmakers must prepare for an autonomous vehicle boom. In a submission to the parliamentary infrastructure and transport committee, the NTC said that there could be between 740,000 and 1.7 million autonomous vehicles on Australian roads by 2020 and 9.5 million by 2030. Michael McCormack, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister (PM), said that the government was working with industry groups to prepare for the rapid rollout. "I want to ensure these new technologies are deployed in a manner which improves safety, productivity, accessibility and liveability for Australians in both urban and regional areas," he told News Corp Australia on Monday. Level three autonomous vehicles are vehicles that can drive themselves but require a driver capable of taking control at all times while level four vehicles can perform all driving functions autonomously with the option of driver control.
Technology is critical for innovation, yet schools struggle to get students interested in this area. Could teaching robotics change this? The Queensland government has just announced plans to make teaching robotics compulsory in its new curriculum – aimed at students from prep through to year 10. Robotics matches the new digital technologies curriculum, strongly supported by the university sector and states, including Victoria. But while, worldwide, there are increasing initiatives such as the Robotics Academy in the US to teach robotics in schools, Australia isn't doing enough to get it taught in schools.
The world's largest robot has been unveiled and it is a completely autonomous railway system. AutoHaul has been developed by a mining firm and is being used to transport iron ore from mines to shipping ports 500 miles away (800 km) in Western Australia. This journey can be completed in just 40 hours, including the loading and dumping of the ferrous cargo. Its deployment is the end result of a project which has so far cost $940 million (£740 million). Rio Tinto, the corporation that built the infrastructure and hardware for the locomotive, says this could be the first step in transforming the firm's 1,000-mile (1,700-kilometre) network connecting 16 iron ore mines and two ports.