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.
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).
Seven in 10 Australians trust autonomous vehicles to take over when they feel tired, bored, or physically and mentally incapable of driving manually, according to a study by the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI). More than 5,000 Australians aged 18 and over were surveyed by ADVI and its academic partners, including the University of New South Wales, through an 80-question survey designed to help guide research, marketing, and vehicle design efforts. According to ADVI's preliminary findings, 69 percent of survey respondents said they would rather a driverless car take the lead when driving was "boring or monotonous", and 60 percent said they would prefer an autonomous vehicle during traffic congestion. Participants said the most likely activity they would spend their time doing in driverless cars was observing scenery at 78 percent, followed by interacting with passengers on 76 percent, resting came in at 52 percent, and doing work-related activities polled at 36 percent. Almost half, 47 percent, of Australians surveyed felt self-driving vehicles would be safer than human drivers.
But it could be a real threat, warn researchers at the recent World Economic Forum. Unlike today's drones, which are still controlled by human operators, autonomous weapons could potentially be programmed to select and engage targets on their own. "It was one of the concerns that we itemized last year," Toby Walsh, professor of artificial intelligence (AI) at the school of computer science and engineering at the University of New South Wales, told FoxNews.com. "Most of us believe that we don't have the ability to build ethical robots," he added. "What is especially worrying is that the various militaries around the world will be fielding robots in just a few years, and we don't think anyone will be building ethical robots."
Artificial intelligence researchers from nearly 30 countries are boycotting a South Korean university over concerns a new lab in partnership with a leading defence company could lead to "killer robots". More than 50 leading academics signed the letter calling for a boycott of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and its partner, defence manufacturer Hanwha Systems. The researchers said they would not collaborate with the university or host visitors from KAIST over fears it sought to "accelerate the arms race to develop" autonomous weapons. "There are plenty of great things you can do with AI that save lives, including in a military context, but to openly declare the goal is to develop autonomous weapons and have a partner like this sparks huge concern," said Toby Walsh, the organiser of the boycott and a professor at the University of New South Wales. "This is a very respected university partnering with a very ethically dubious partner that continues to violate international norms."