Industry Insights: 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. Forums have already been held in Canberra, Brisbane,  Sydney and Hobart, and will be held in Darwin, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide during October and November. Here is a snapshot of how new technologies are revolutionising different industries in these locations.

Northern Territory

Utility Inspection by Drones in Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, Power and Water Corporation is using drones to carry out asset inspections. Drones can greatly minimise risk to humans, streamline and enhance inspection processes, especially over a network of more than a million square kilometres.

Drones in utility inspection. Photo credit: Drone Life

Driverless Bus in Darwin

The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics and the Darwin Waterfront Corporation are jointly bringing new technology to Darwin. Driverless Bus trials have been conducted on the Darwin Waterfront. The trial continued for approximately six months and almost 6000 passengers rode the bus. The Driverless Bus does not require additional infrastructure and operates autonomously following a virtual line mapped and loaded in the software of the vehicle.

Driverless bus in Darwin. Photo credit: Financial Review


World’s First Fully Automated Terminal in Melbourne

Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) is designed and equipped to be fully automated, making it the most advanced container terminal in the world. The 35-hectare terminal can move more than one million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually. With a 660-metre straight berth, two large ocean vessels can load simultaneously.

Fully automated port. Photo credit: Kalmar Global

Virtual Power Plant

Origin Energy has revealed plans to establish Victoria’s largest virtual power plant – a $20 million cloud-based platform that will distribute 5MW of the battery-stored solar power of up to 650 customers during periods of peak power demand. Origin will trade this network of up to 5MW into the National Electricity Market to boost grid stability, reduce grid costs and push down power prices.

Virtual power plant. Photo credit: IBEX Mag.

Western Australia

Driverless Bus in Perth

Autonomous Bus trials are already underway in Western Australia by The Royal Automobile Club. In Perth, the driverless bus program (Intellibus) has completed more than 14,000 km in autonomous mode and more than 4,000 thirty-minute rides. Automated Vehicles (AV) are growing and becoming more popular. They offer numerous benefits such as improved mobility, independence, and reduced crash risk by removing human driving errors.

Intelbus in Perth. Photo credit: Bus World.

Autonomous Truck Platooning in WA

Truck Platooning is a group of two or more wirelessly-connected trucks that travel near to each other. This configuration significantly reduces wind resistance, which leads to fuel savings and reduced transport costs. The lead truck sets the speed and road manoeuvres followed by other vehicles. Other vehicles can wirelessly connect and seamlessly join or leave the platoon at any time. Main Roads WA announced in 2017 a plan to launch the first trial of autonomous heavy vehicle platooning in Australia.

Truck Platooning. Photo credit: Supply Chain 247

South Australia

TRITON Unmanned Aircraft System to be based in South Australia

The Royal Australian Air Force will use the Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for maritime patrol and other surveillance roles. The Triton is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings for over 2000 nautical miles. The Triton will be flown by qualified pilots from a ground station. Information gathered by the Triton will be analysed and communicated by operational staff such as aircrew, intelligence, operations and administration officers, engineers, and logisticians.

Drone in SA. Photo credit: The Daily Telegraph.

Police Drones in SA

South Australian police will use sophisticated remote-controlled drones to investigate crimes. The stealthy miniature unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be equipped with still, video, and infra-red cameras.

Police Drone. Photo credit: Steve Lodefink.

Unmanned Helicopter in SA

The Yamaha RMAX UAV is a large unmanned aerial vehicle configured to spray weeds or drop fertiliser on places hard to access on foot or too small or uneconomical for a larger rotary or fixed wing aircraft.

Unmanned helicopter. Photo credit: Cootamundra Herald.