A revolutionary healthcare technology with the potential to save millions of lives globally is poised to enter mass-production following the announcement of a $30 million deal in Australia. The project will fund an advanced technology facility in Brisbane, Australia – a critical step to WearOptimo making and distributing its MicrowearableTM sensor health technology worldwide.
WearOptimo’s inexpensive, pain-free wearable devices can give patients and their doctors’ early warning of life-threatening events such as heart attacks, heatstroke and other conditions. They represent a breakthrough in personalised medicine.
A partnership between the Queensland Government, The Australian National University (ANU), WearOptimo, and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) will invest $30 million in a globally-competitive, high-tech manufacturing facility – based in Australia – for the production of Micro wearable sensors to reach into key healthcare markets.
WearOptimo’s “sticker-like” Micro wearable sensors provide real-time monitoring and fast, accurate reports on a patient’s health to enable timely medical care. Potentially they can replace frequent blood tests for some of our most serious diseases.
The WearOptimo Founder and CEO said the new devices are designed to vastly improve the lives of seriously ill patients.
He said, “Our Micro wearable sensors are at the cutting-edge of personalised treatment and healthcare. The Microwearables we’re working on is designed to empower individuals and their healthcare providers – to put them in charge of tailored, rapid treatment and recovery.”
For example, the project team is developing Microwearable sensors to detect and alert to dehydration while people are on the job, or to dehydration in the elderly. Another type of their Microwearable sensor is being developed to help with the early detection of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for 20 million deaths per year.
The team is also working on tackling some of the biggest killers on the planet, so it is a real thrill to receive this support for their important work. The ANU Vice-Chancellor stated that WearOptimo was a shining example of how university-backed research delivers significant outcomes for all Australians.
He noted, “One of our key missions is to help develop and deliver the products and industries of tomorrow that will make our lives better and power our prosperity as a nation. WearOptimo is taking the latest breakthroughs in health and transforming them from bold ideas into everyday innovations that will make a major difference.”
It was noted that the funding is a welcome boost to that mission and will ensure Australia is a global leader in healthcare for decades to come. Founded in 2018, WearOptimo is based in Brisbane and became The Australian National University’s first innovation company. In 2020, WearOptimo signed a deal to export their wearable health sensors to markets all over the world.
Wearable technology market projected to grow
According to recent research, the global wearable technology market size was valued at US$32.63 billion in 2019 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.9% from 2020 to 2027. The growing popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices and the rising technically sound population is expected to drive the demand.
Other research indicated that the wearable market in Australia is expected to register a CAGR of 14.5% during the forecast period from 2021-2026.
Smart wearables offer a multitude of features, which include fitness tracking, managing daily tasks, checking emails and making contactless payments, and more. Hence the change of consumer lifestyle and rising awareness of advanced technology will influence the growth of this market.
The Australian wearable market is multiplying due to the faster adoption of advanced technologies into wearable objects such as eyewear, wristband, and watch. These technologically advanced products are used in military, health, and wellness, the fitness of general people.
Moreover, the rising awareness about health consciousness among Australian people is fuelling the growth of this market. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has expanded the role of wearable technologies in the healthcare sector. These wearable products can offer different types of information, which include blood pressure, oxygen levels, quality and quantity of sleep, calorie intake, cholesterol levels, etc.
On 20 April 2021, Army will launch its Quantum Technology Roadmap. The launch will occur during the Quantum Technology Challenge 2021 (QTC 2021) at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and will include presentations from Australia’s Chief Scientist as well as the Chief Defence Scientist.
Quantum technologies have been identified as having substantial disruptive potential across defence. However, their true capabilities, limitations, countermeasures and most disruptive applications are still being discovered.
Army aims to leverage Australia’s national strength in quantum technology research to gain and retain an early quantum advantage. The Roadmap provides the framework to achieve this through partnering with broader Defence, Australia’s academia and emerging quantum industry, and aligned nations. The Roadmap adds to Army’s accelerating engagement with emerging technologies and evolution, as described in Accelerated Warfare, Army in Motion and Army Objective Force.
Whilst the launch event is restricted to defence personnel and select guests, the Roadmap and a recording of the launch will be published on the Land Power Forum after a short delay on 20 April 2021. To be alerted of the publication and to view the recording, audiences are to register via the website.
QTC 2021 is a key first step in the Roadmap and will see teams of Australia’s world-leading quantum scientists and engineers compete to show how quantum technologies can deliver Army unprecedented capabilities. Pitches from each of the remarkable teams competing in QTC 2021 will be included in the launch recording.
About QTC 2021
The first Army Quantum Technology Challenge (QTC 2021) will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 20 April 2021. The Challenge will see teams of Australia’s world-leading quantum scientists and engineers compete to show how quantum technologies can conceptually deliver Army unprecedented capabilities, including:
- Making the ground transparent: imaging what is hidden subterranean
- Resupplying troops in battle quickly, safely and efficiently: optimisation of large-scale resupply by squads of autonomous uncrewed ground vehicles.
- Denying the enemy secure communications: countermeasures quantum encryption.
QTC 2021 will be the first in a regular series of challenges that will enable Army to leverage Australia’s national strategic strength in quantum technology to rapidly identify the most disruptive and advantageous applications of quantum technologies for the land domain.
Future challenges will respond to opportunities and problems identified by members of Army and the wider quantum technology community.
The challenges are a key component of Army’s Quantum Technology Roadmap, which will also be launched at QTC 2021. The Roadmap also contains plans for the development of the high-value applications and technologies identified by the challenges, focused on Army’s needs. The Roadmap, a recording of the launch and recordings of the pitches by each of the QTC 2021 teams will be published.
The need for quantum technologies
According to an earlier article by Army, quantum technologies exploit the fundamental laws of nature to reach the ultimate limits of sensing, imaging, communications and computing, and thus promise otherwise impossible capabilities.
They are no longer scientific speculation; substantial public and private investments around the world are driving these technologies out of laboratories.
This acceleration will see quantum technologies transform our lives over the next 20 years. This will be even more evident when combined with other emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, space technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Now is the time that Defence must begin to understand, explore and exploit quantum technologies throughout its operations if it is to gain and retain a quantum advantage.
The Principal Scientific Adviser to the government, K Vijay Raghavan, virtually launched the Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System (MANAS) mobile app to promote health and wellbeing in the country. MANAS was endorsed as a national programme by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
MANAS is a comprehensive, scalable, and national digital wellbeing platform designed to augment the mental well-being of Indian citizens. The app integrates the health and wellness efforts of various government ministries. Also, scientifically validated indigenous tools with gamified interfaces were developed and researched by several national bodies and research institutions.
The pandemic has forced people to spend more time on their screens and with little feedback available, there are issues of health being raised, Raghavan said. As per a news report, though the app is still to undergo field trials and is not available for public use as yet, it will be a platform catering to the overall wellness of people of all age groups and genders. The application can be used for a person’s overall wellbeing and is supported with teleconsultation, especially for mental health-related problems. There will be health tracking and data records will be maintained, which will help users during future consultations. Such interventions can help policy developers understand the health of the user.
According to the scientist that conceptualised and led the execution of the mission, MANAS intends to build a healthier, happier, and more self-reliant community. MANAS is based on augmenting life skills and core psychological processes and is universally accessible. It delivers age-appropriate methods and promotes positive attitudes that focus on wellness. Catering to the overall wellbeing of people of all age groups, the initial version of MANAS targets promoting positive mental health in citizens aged 15-35 years.
MANAS was initiated by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the government. It is a mission-mode initiative and a joint venture by Pune-based Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru. The application has been developed by the Bengaluru centre of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).
Raghavan outlined the future directions for the app’s development, noting MANAS must be integrated with public health schemes like the National Health Mission, Poshan Abhiyan, and e-Sanjeevani. It also must be made multilingual. Shortly, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), which supports the Aarogya Setu and CoWin portals, will extend support to the MANAS app.
Last year, the government launched Aarogya Setu, which enables people to assess their health and the risk of catching COVID-19. It is able to calculate this based on their interaction with others, using cutting-edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms, and artificial intelligence.
After installing the Aarogya Setu app, the user is asked to answer several questions. In case some of the answers suggest COVID-19 symptoms, the information is sent to a government server. The data will then help the government take effective steps and initiate the isolation procedure if necessary. It also alerts the user if they come in close proximity with a person who has tested positive. The app is available on both Android and iOS. It is available in 11 languages-ten Indian languages and English.
The government also launched an Interactive Voice Response System for citizens that use only feature phones and landlines. The service is available across the country and toll-free. Citizens are asked to give a missed call to the number, and they will get a call back requesting inputs regarding their health.
A new investment from the Government will make Australia home to the world’s largest radio telescope that will put the country at the cutting edge of science and technology research while creating hundreds of new jobs during the construction phase.
The Prime Minister stated that the Government’s $387 million investment to build the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope in Western Australia’s Murchison region would help astronomers learn more about our universe while creating more than 350 jobs during the 10-year construction phase and a further 230 ongoing positions over the 50-year life of the project.
He noted that this $387 million investment highlights that science and advanced manufacturing are at the heart of my government’s National Economic Recovery Plan from the COVID recession. The investment in the construction and operations of the SKA will build our manufacturing capacity within the highly skilled technology sector and enable major scientific breakthroughs to be made right here in Western Australia.
The SKA will help the nation’s scientists make more discoveries. Whether it’s better understanding the origin and future of our stars and galaxies to how gravity works across the universe. The SKA means more jobs for Australia and it puts us in the driver’s seat for scientific discoveries, he added.
The $387 million Budget commitment includes $64.4 million to establish a specialist super-computing centre, to be based in Perth, to process the unprecedented amounts of data that will be generated by the SKA.
The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology said that processing this data onshore would secure opportunities for Australian organisations and scientists to innovate at the cutting edge of computing and modern manufacturing.
He said that modern manufacturing employs tradespeople, engineers and scientists, and is the core of an advanced economy.
“In fact, several Australian companies have already developed and manufactured components for the telescope prototypes and precursor telescopes.
“This new investment will build on our $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy and be a significant boost to the space sector, which is one of the strategy’s six priority sectors. It will strengthen our efforts to develop cutting edge industries with a global reach,” he added.
As well as creating hundreds of local jobs, the Government’s economic modelling indicates the project will attract an estimated $1.8 billion in foreign income flows into Australia as a result of the SKA’s first 30 years of operations.
“I am very pleased that the development of the SKA in my home state will also benefit local communities. Our funding includes the provision of fibre-optic connectivity to communities near the SKA, which is at CSIRO’s Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory.
“This high-speed connection will support local economic development while reducing radio interference around the telescope,” the Minister added.
The SKA is an international collaboration between 16 member countries, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Australia will build and host the low-frequency part of the telescope (SKA-Low), which includes up to 131,072 individual SKA antennas, shaped like Christmas trees. The mid-frequency element (SKA-Mid) will be hosted by South Africa.
Global construction activities are expected to begin in the second half of this year, with work expected to begin in WA from early next year.
An Indigenous Land Use Agreement is currently under negotiation and it will focus on, among other things, the protection of Indigenous heritage.
The Victorian government plans to invest a total of AU$30 million to upgrade and modernise the IT infrastructure of 28 of the state’s hospitals and health services in a bid to guard against further cyber-attacks.
The AU$30 million will be divided amongst hospitals across Melbourne and regional and rural health services. Melbourne hospitals will receive a majority share of nearly AU$22 million, while the remaining AU$8 million will be split between regional and rural health services.
As part of the state government’s Clinical Technology Refresh program, the funding will be used specifically to replace older servers and operating systems with new infrastructure.
The state government touted the new infrastructure will reduce IT outages, improve network speed, support the rollout of Wi-Fi at the bedside of patients, as well as enable the loading and viewing of high-resolution medical imaging, telehealth, and access to clinical support and pathology results from other hospitals.
Victoria’s Minister for Health stated, “We are helping hospitals and health services across Victoria upgrade computers and IT infrastructure to strengthen reliability and cybersecurity. This is about protecting our health services from cyber attacks.”
Last month, surgeries operated by Eastern Health in Victoria were forced to cancel some patient appointments after experiencing a “cyber incident”.
Eastern Health operates the Angliss, Box Hill, Healesville, and Maroondah hospitals, and has many more facilities under management. In a statement, Eastern Health said it took many of its systems offline in response to the incident.
The statement noted that many Eastern Health IT systems have been taken off-line as a precaution while we seek to understand and rectify the situation. It is important to note, patient safety has not been compromised, it added.
Back in 2019, a similar incident affecting Victoria’s hospitals occurred, which resulted in them disconnecting themselves from the internet in an attempt to quarantine a ransomware infection.
At the time, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet revealed the impacted hospitals were in the Gippsland Health Alliance and the South West Alliance of Rural Health.
The incident occurred shortly after the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) labelled the state’s public health system as highly vulnerable to cyber attacks, with a report flagging that security weaknesses within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) own technology arm are increasing the likelihood of a breach in 61% of the state’s health services.
“There are key weaknesses in health services’ physical security, and in their logical security, which covers password management and other user access controls,” VAGO had written. “Staff awareness of data security is low, which increases the likelihood of success of social engineering techniques such as phishing or tailgating into corporate areas where ICT infrastructure and servers may be located.”
In its audit, VAGO probed three health providers and examined how two different areas of the DHHS – the Digital Health branch and Health Technology Solution – provide health services in the state.
In probing the health services, VAGO said it was also able to access accounts, including admin ones, using “basic hacking tools”. The accounts had weak passwords and no MFA.
The report said that all the audited health services need to do more to protect patient data. It also found that health services do not have appropriate governance and policy frameworks to support data security.
Researchers at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute have developed a promising new process that could eliminate water stress for millions of people, including those living in many of the planet’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. A team led by Associate Professor Haolan Xu has refined a technique to derive fresh water from seawater, brackish water, or contaminated water, through highly efficient solar evaporation, delivering enough daily fresh drinking water for a family of four from just one square metre of source water.
At the heart of the system is a highly efficient photothermal structure that sits on the surface of a water source and converts sunlight to heat, focusing energy precisely on the surface to rapidly evaporate the uppermost portion of the liquid. While other researchers have explored similar technology, previous efforts have been hampered by energy loss, with heat passing into the source water and dissipating into the air above.
“Previously many of the experimental photothermal evaporators were basically two dimensional; they were just a flat surface, and they could lose 10 to 20 per cent of solar energy to the bulk water and the surrounding environment,” Dr Xu says. “We have developed a technique that not only prevents any loss of solar energy but actually draws additional energy from the bulk water and surrounding environment, meaning the system operates at 100 per cent efficiency for the solar input and draws up to another 170 per cent energy from the water and environment.”
In contrast to the two-dimensional structures used by other researchers, the team developed a three-dimensional, fin-shaped, heatsink-like evaporator. Their design shifts surplus heat away from the evaporator’s top surfaces (i.e., solar evaporation surface), distributing heat to the fin surface for water evaporation, thus cooling the top evaporation surface and realising zero energy loss during solar evaporation.
This heatsink technique means all surfaces of the evaporator remain at a lower temperature than the surrounding water and air, so additional energy flows from the higher-energy external environment into the lower-energy evaporator.
The team are the first researchers in the world to extract energy from the bulk water during solar evaporation and use it for evaporation, and this has helped their process become efficient enough to deliver between 10 and 20 litres of fresh water per square metre per day.
In addition to its efficiency, the practicality of the system is enhanced by the fact it is built entirely from simple, everyday materials that are low cost, sustainable and easily obtainable.
The main aim of their research was to deliver for practical applications, so the materials we used were just sourced from the hardware store or supermarket, Assoc Prof Xu said. “The only exception is the photothermal materials, but even there we are using a very simple and cost-effective process, and the real advances we have made are with the system design and energy nexus optimisation, not the materials.”
In addition to being easy to construct and easy to deploy, the system is also very easy to maintain, as the design of the photothermal structure prevents salt and other contaminants building up on the evaporator surface. Together, the low cost and easy upkeep mean the system developed by the team could be deployed in situations where other desalination and purification systems would be financially and operationally unviable.
In remote communities with small populations, for example, the infrastructure cost of systems like reverse osmosis often too great to justify. However, the team’s technique could deliver a very low-cost alternative that would be easy to set up and essentially free to run. Moreover, as the system is simple and requires virtually no maintenance, there is no technical expertise needed to keep it running and upkeep costs are minimal.
Assoc Prof Xu stated that the technology has the potential to provide a long-term clean water solution to people and communities who can’t afford other options, and these are the places such solutions are most needed. In addition to drinking water applications, the team is currently exploring a range of other uses for the technology, including treating wastewater in industrial operations.
Federal, state and territory leaders have agreed to create an intergovernmental agreement to facilitate greater data sharing between all levels of government. The plan for the high-level agreement, which is still to be developed, was endorsed at a meeting of the national cabinet on 9 April 2021.
The Prime Minister stated that the national cabinet agreed that jurisdictions will work together to capitalise on the value of public data to achieve better outcomes for Australians. He noted that to achieve this, first ministers [and state and territory premiers] committed to developing an intergovernmental agreement which will be considered at a future national cabinet meeting.
While details are limited, the pact will likely make it easier for federal, state and territory government to share data, building on efforts with health and travel data during Covid-19.
The planned agreement would likely work alongside the Data Availability and Transparency Bill, which is currently before federal parliament. The legislation aims to streamline data sharing between governments and the private sector, overriding some 500 provisions in 175 pieces of existing legislation.
However, it faces calls for amendments from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Australian Medical Association and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.
The Australian Financial Review is also reporting that the agreement can be expected to lay the foundations for linked-up government services around key life events or journeys.
It means citizens could interact with government services across all tiers using one-stops shops like the federal government’s myGov or the NSW government’s MyServiceNSW.
myGov is already undergoing a major overhaul – for $35 million to date – to align services more closely with life events while offering a personalised view of interactions.
Data sharing has long been a focus of discussion for federal, state and territory digital ministers at the data and digital minister’s meeting.
At the last meeting in February, discussions centred on “how to meet the data needs of decision-makers across jurisdictions, including through better data sharing”.
The communique notes that improved data sharing can boost the economy and lead to better service design and delivery.
One dataset that is advancing the conversation is the national disability data asset, which is paving the way for a federation-wide view of the disability sector.
The asset – which digital ministers agreed to established in September 2019 – incorporates datasets from the federal, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australian governments. Other areas front of mind for data sharing include emergency services, with the recent commitment to develop a national multi-hazards warning service for natural disasters.
Demand for smart city initiatives rising
Enhanced data sharing capabilities between various governmental levels and departments is key to creating smart cities and a smart nation overall.
An earlier article notes that despite posing significant hurdles to cities worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a wave of innovation that will continue after the crisis, according to research from a global think tank.
The ‘Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World’ study underscores the vital role that technology, data, cybersecurity and public-private partnerships play to ensure a healthy, safe and prosperous future for citizens after the pandemic.
The research, conducted in August and September 2020, included a survey of senior officials from 167 cities across 82 countries, including Asia, North and Latin America, MENA, Europe and Africa. The cities represented 526 million people or 6.8% of the world’s population; 53% of these cities are in emerging markets and 47% in developed countries.
The survey categorises cities based on progress in two categories: progress in applying smart solutions, with cities classified as either ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘leader’; and progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with cities classified as either ‘implementer’, ‘advancer’ or ‘sprinter’. Cities that excelled in both areas were considered Cities 4.0 — hyperconnected cities that are sustainable and well ahead in the use of technology, data and citizen engagement.
For 65% of city officials, the pandemic underscored the importance of smart city programs, while 43% learned the importance of operational continuity and agility. For 37% of city leaders, the pandemic also highlighted the need to invest more in upgrading core infrastructure.
For 88% of city leaders, investing in cloud platforms is urgently needed to deliver critical and non-critical citizen services. The survey also found that 66% of cities are investing heavily in AI, with 80% forecast to do so over the next three years, especially in the area of digital assistants and chatbots. Meanwhile, 30% of cities will invest in digital twins, marking a 300% increase from the 11% currently investing in this technology. Research also indicates that 100% of Cities 4.0 have already invested in cloud; based on reported ROI estimates, the average return on digital infrastructure investments made by Cities 4.0 is 5.74%.
Transport for NSW has enlisted the help of a Sydney-based quantum computing start-up to tackle transport network management and congestion problems across the state’s public transport network. The research project with the University of Sydney’s first quantum spin-off company will investigate ways the technology can be used to “create and manage a more resilient transport network”.
The region’s Transport Minister stated that the partnership was a “rare opportunity” to work with quantum experts to “tackle complex future network management and congestion problems”.
While details on the project are scarce, one of the possibilities being considered is dynamic scheduling, whereby schedules are updated in real-time based on crowding across the network. TfNSW is already using native machine learning technology in the Web Services ecosystem provided by the world’s largest e-commerce platform to predict delays across the network using weather, Opal card and special event data.
The Transport Minister stated, “Future applications… could include mapping all transport modes and crowd movements simultaneously in real-time, and automatically updating the schedule to solve disruption issues. We could see all trains, busses, ferries, trams and motorways essentially ‘talking to each other’ to find out where customers are and deploy resources where needed. It could be used for massive public events, like New Year’s Eve or Vivid Festival.”
Speaking at the launch of NSW’s future transport technology roadmap last month, the quantum tech firm’s Founder stated that the project will involve building a “world-first prototype of a product [called] Fire Opal”.
The Founder said the work would “take all of the capabilities that we have developed and validated on real world-leading quantum computers, and deploy this to give completely new tools to data scientists and analysts at TfNSW”.
“As the industry evolves, and as we cross the threshold of quantum advantage, we find ourselves in a position where TfNSW is in an enviable position of being quantum ready,” he said.
“So right now we’re moving forward with this relationship. We’re very excited to see the way that the government has embraced the role of an enabler of advanced technology.
It was noted that quantum could solve problems that are “endemic” to transport such as when “you get off one mode of transport… [and] you end up waiting for 15 minutes for the next bus because you just missed the bus that was scheduled before.”
Technology’s use to create safer roads is something that the Australian government is looking into. According to another article, Professor Michael Milford, a robotics expert and Acting Director of the QUT Centre for Robotics, believes that high-definition (HD) map creation could be Australia’s chance to lead a core aspect of the autonomous vehicle technology space, supported by government-industry collaboration.
Professor Milford has conducted research projects into mapping for autonomous cars and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to see how autonomous cars could handle Australian roads.
“Map updating is a major challenge to autonomous vehicle adoption everywhere, including Australia, but it’s not yet a mature field globally so there’s [an] opportunity for us to catch up quickly,” he said.
Professor Milford noted that current European mapping solutions don’t recognise unique Australian signs or infrastructure and require customisation. He noted that although widespread autonomous vehicle use is some time away, the primary aim now is to ensure that the digital, physical and regulatory infrastructure is ready to go.
“We need to plan and design technology that is fit for purpose from the very beginning, not shoehorn it in at the very end when we realise the tech doesn’t do what it’s meant to do,” he said.
Collaboration between map creators, localisation services and governments for infrastructure updates and privacy regulation would be the ideal solution. Current maps do not have all the information necessary to be full HD maps or links to information about infrastructure changes. Unless a car knows explicitly about environmental changes like road works, for example, positioning systems will find it hard to work well, he said.
Government notifications around these events could be very important, with Professor Milford adding that meaningful government involvement or oversight is vital due to the significant data and privacy implications of these maps.
While positioning is a core part of the technology offering from autonomous vehicle companies, it may also need improving to provide accurate services in Australia. Professor Milford notes that while current positioning systems work well most of the time, there are failure points, like heavy rain and tunnels, where the technology is not reliable enough.
QUT, which specialises in robotic and autonomous vehicle positioning research, is working with the government and industry on the future of HD maps and investigating the ideal models for government-industry collaboration.
“If we started a staged approach toward this collaborative model now, within two years we would have a working prototype for how information from private map providers, the government, and possibly from vehicles on the road could be shared between all of those key stakeholders to ensure maps are as accurate and up to date as possible,” Professor Milford said.