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.


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).


Australia buys high-tech drones to monitor South China Sea, Pacific

The Japan Times

SYDNEY – Australia will invest 7 billion Australian dollars ($5.2 billion) to develop and buy high-tech U.S. drones for joint military operations and to monitor waters including the South China Sea, it said Tuesday. Canberra has been embarking on its largest peacetime naval investment through a massive shipbuilding strategy that includes new submarines, offshore patrol vessels and frigates to shore up its defense capabilities. As part of this, the government will spend AU$1.4 billion to buy the first of six MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance drones, with the aircraft to enter service from mid-2023, complementing seven P-8A Poseidon planes currently in use. "Together these aircraft will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability, as well as our search and rescue capability," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement. "This investment will protect our borders and make our region more secure."


Is 'killer robot' warfare closer than we think?

BBC News

More than 100 of the world's top robotics experts wrote a letter to the United Nations recently calling for a ban on the development of "killer robots" and warning of a new arms race. But are their fears really justified? Entire regiments of unmanned tanks; drones that can spot an insurgent in a crowd of civilians; and weapons controlled by computerised "brains" that learn like we do, are all among the "smart" tech being unleashed by an arms industry many believe is now entering a "third revolution in warfare". "In every sphere of the battlefield - in the air, on the sea, under the sea or on the land - the military around the world are now demonstrating prototype autonomous weapons," says Toby Walsh, professor of artificial intelligence at Sydney's New South Wales University. "New technologies like deep learning are helping drive this revolution.