Industry The Brave New World of Digital Australia

Australia is being rapidly transformed by digital innovations. Robots are flying over our heads, sailing underwater, and roaming the ground in Australia. Digital transformation is already impacting on employment skills and will create many new job types in the future.

The AIS lndustry Skills Forums being held around the country are exploring the changing employment and skills landscape. The next three forums will be held in Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart during September and October. Here is a snapshot of how new technologies are revolutionising different industries in these cities.


sept1aSlocum: Autonomous Underwater Glider

The Ocean Gliders facility operates Slocum, a remotely controlled underwater ocean glider that can navigate through complex pathways between reefs in Queensland’s waters. It can make observations in places difficult for ships to access and can stay at sea for several weeks. It navigates by waypoints fixing its position via the Global Positioning System (GPS). Each time the glider surfaces, collected data and new waypoints can be relayed via satellite. Slocum can also collect high resolution profiles of physical and chemical features of water. sept2a

Australia Post’s Robot

Australia Post conducted a four-week trial of a delivery robot in Brisbane. The small self-driving robot, called “Billy the Box”, took packages door to door. The recipients of the mail unlocked the box using a unique code Australia Post had sent them by text.

sept3aQueensland Robotics

Queensland is becoming Australia’s robotics hub. Last year, Brisbane was the focus of international attention hosting the first ever World of Drones Congress. The city also hosted the International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Around 3000 experts saw a demonstration of a range of robots used in different industries to perform manual or dangerous tasks. 


New South Wales

ROC Robot in Sydney Harbour Bridge sept5a

University of Technology Sydney has developed CROC, a climbing robot with magnetic feet which can scale the complex passageways of the bridge that are too dangerous for human workers. The robot uses a three-dimensional sensor to create a map of the dark tunnels inside the bridge, and then moves through the space. It sends back real-time information to engineers who can use a camera to assess any damage. 

sept4aAutomated Bus in Sydney

Transport’s Smart Innovation Centre is conducting a two-year trial of an automated passenger shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park. This technology has the potential to reduce death and injuries that result from factors such as driver fatigue, driver distraction, speed and inexperience. Findings from the trial will help to further the understandings of the system requirements of automation within the Australian context. 

Sydney’s Driverless Trainssept7a

NSW Government has unveiled Sydney’s first driverless train which successfully completed a trial this year. A fleet of 22 driverless trains will carry passenger in parts of Sydney early next year. Sydney Metro is due to open in the first half of next year in the north west – with 13 stations and a train every four minutes in peak hours. The network will be the first fully automated metro rail system in Australia. 


sept6aUnderwater Robot in Tasmania

An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in Tasmania is helping scientists at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies answer important questions about the Antarctic. The robot is capable of diving to depths of 5,000 metres and travelling more than 100 kilometres under metres of thick ice. The data collected by the robot will help scientists to predict sea level rises.