Surf Life Saving Australia extends drone operations this summer

ZDNet

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and Westpac have teamed up to deploy 51 drones around Australia during the nation's beach-going months. The drones are intended to provide aerial vision and surveillance to help spot rips and swimmers in distress, and could in future drop buoyancy devices to swimmers, the pair said. Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) President Graham Ford said the drones will be "hugely beneficial". "There is no better time than now to welcome new technologies that can help us protect more Australians," he said. The drones will be located throughout the New South Wales and Queensland coasts; at St Kilda and Frankston in Victoria, as well as a mobile unit; Semaphore Beach and Christies Beach in South Australia; at Frederick Henry Bay in Tasmania; at Cottesloe, Fremantle, Meelup, Smiths Beach, Secret Harbour, City Beach, Trigg, and Mullaloo in Western Australia; and one unit in Darwin.


Domino's partners with Flirtey for pizza drone delivery

ZDNet

Domino's and Flirtey have launched the first commercial drone delivery service, aiming to soon deliver pizza via remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) straight to a customer's front door. Although headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, Domino's has chosen to kick off the DRU Drone initiative in Auckland, New Zealand, as the country's current regulations allow businesses to utilise unmanned aircraft. The demonstration was conducted under Civil Aviation Rules Part 101 and marks a final step in Flirtey's approval process. Domino's said it then expects to be able to trial store-to-door drone deliveries from a selected Domino's New Zealand stores with flights to customer homes tabled for later this year. "We are planning a phased trial approach which is based on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) granting approval, as both Domino's and Flirtey are learning what is possible with the drone delivery for our products, but this isn't a pie in the sky idea.


Australian government invests AU$6m in EV charging network

ZDNet

The Australian government has announced a AU$6 million investment in an "ultra-rapid" electric vehicle (EV) charging network powered by renewable energy across the nation under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). According to the federal government, the EV charging network will be deployed around Sydney and Melbourne; between Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, and Adelaide; and across Western Australia. Euroa, in Victoria, and Barnawartha North, outside Albury Wodonga on the New South Wales-Victorian border, will be the first sites to gain charging areas thanks to a grant from the Victorian government. The AU$15 million EV charging network is being built by Chargefox, with plans to develop 21 charging stations across the nation, each around 200km apart. The charging stations are designed to provide a range of 400km or up to 80 percent capacity within 15 minutes of charging, with the network to be worth AU$15 million.


Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano

#artificialintelligence

People get up to weird things in New Zealand. At the University of Auckland, if you want to run hours upon hours of experiments on a baby trapped in a high chair, that's cool. You can even have a conversation with her surprisingly chatty disembodied head. BabyX, the virtual creation of Mark Sagar and his researchers, looks impossibly real. The child, a 3D digital rendering based on images of Sagar's daughter at 18 months, has rosy cheeks, warm eyes, a full head of blond hair, and a soft, sweet voice. When I visited the computer scientist's lab last year, BabyX was stuck inside a computer but could still see me sitting in front of the screen with her "father." To get her attention, we'd call out, "Hi, baby. Look at me, baby," and wave our hands. When her gaze locked onto our faces, we'd hold up a book filled with words (such as "apple" or "ball") and pictures (sheep, clocks), then ask BabyX to read the words and identify the objects.


Project Wing now delivers burritos by drone in Australia

Daily Mail - Science & tech

In the hope of making drone deliveries even more accurate, Project Wing has started making deliveries directly to people's houses in southeastern Australia. The firm announced that it will deliver food from Mexican food chain, Guzman y Gomez, and medicines from Chemist Warehouse pharmacies to customers in rural areas on the border of the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. Project Wing, which is run by Google parent Alphabet, hopes the trials will help to fine-tune how its drones move goods from where they're located to where they're needed. In the hope of making drone deliveries even more accurate, Alphabet's Project Wing has started making deliveries directly to people's houses in southeastern Australia Project Wing's aircraft has a wingspan of approximately 1.5m (4.9ft) and have four electrically-driven propellers. The total weight, including the package to be delivered, is approximately 10kg (22lb).