The Queensland government has announced it is deploying Ergon Energy internet-connected meters in the state's northern region as a "significant" step towards helping local farmers minimise the spread of Panama disease, a fungus that affects the tissues of the banana plant. Up to 600 meters will be installed in the Tully and Innisfail areas, where a majority of Australia's bananas are produced. Due to Panama TR4 biosecurity concerns and strict quarantine measures, Ergon -- a subsidiary of government-owned power company Energy Queensland Limited -- made the decision to stop all entry of their contract meter readers onto farms and install digital meters that could be read remotely, Energy Minister Mark Bailey has said. "Digital meters will avoid the need for meter readers to enter properties and therefore prevent the spread of the disease," the minister said in a statement. There will be no cost to banana farmers for switching to digital meters; however, all affected farmers will be required to accommodate the switchover in the upcoming months.
South Australia may have gotten a head start with trials in 2015, but New South Wales (NSW) is also committing to a driverless car future. Automated cars without drivers could be on NSW roads within five years, the state's minister for transport, Andrew Constance, predicted at a summit on the future of transport in Sydney Monday. "We're going to have driverless cars on our streets, in our suburbs," he told reporters. In his opinion, the South Australian government may have "jumped the gun a little bit" with its initial road tests last year. To support its own rollout of driverless cars, the NSW State Government announced the creation of a Smart Innovation Centre in western Sydney.
Tesla founder Elon Musk believes he can rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid. Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during a news conference at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia on July 7, 2017. Tesla will partner with French renewable energy developer Neoen to build the world's biggest Lithium IIon Battery, a 100MW battery that will be built in James Town, the South Australian government announced on the day. SAN FRANCISCO -- Elon Musk has so many irons in the fire, you can't see the fire. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted Friday that he is delaying the unveiling of a self-driving truck in order to focus his attention on smoothing out Model 3 production issues and helping devastated Puerto Rico switch over to solar power.
The New South Wales government has welcomed the first passengers on its Driverless Smart Shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park, with the service set to officially start next week, marking stage two of the state's driverless trial. Through its Smart Innovation Centre -- a hub for the "collaborative" research and development of safe and efficient emerging transport technology -- the NSW government in August last year partnered with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG, and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to conduct a two-year trial of the shuttle. Legislation was passed alongside the formation of the hub to approve trials of automated vehicles. The hub has since added the University of Technology Sydney, to enable the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. The legislation allows government to partner with industry, researchers, and universities to be a testing ground for automated vehicles, with the trial touted as bringing driverless cars a step closer to reality in Australia.
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.