Australia’s Customs and Border Protection will install 92 facial recognition terminals in international airports as part of an $18 million deal with Portuguese smart-gate manufacturer Vision-Box. The contract represents a switching of smart-gate vendors for Customs – Vision-Box rival Morpho had been the provider of choice to date for the agency. Morpho delivered around 61 electronic gates at arrival terminals as part of a $53 million agreement with the border security agency that is due to continue out to 2019.
Qantas has begun the process of transitioning its entire website to the Amazon Web Services cloud, CTO Chris Taylor revealed this morning at Sydney’s AWS Summit. The airline began exploring cloud computing as a platform for Qantas.com – which takes up to a million bookings every day – more than a year ago. Taylor said the shift has now begun in earnest after he became “absolutely confident” that it would not fail once it was deployed.
Qantas will hold its first-ever weekend coding event next month, in which app developers will use public flight and travel data to come up with solutions to travelling problems. Fifty developers will hack it out in Qantas’ centre of service excellence facility in Alexandria, Sydney, between May 30 and 31 at the airline’s Codeshare event. The developers will be given access to flight and travel data to build apps.
NEW DELHI: Starting today, several Delhi Metro commuters would be able to download new free apps from an application, which would also offer them redeemable points for recharging their smart cards. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has entered into a tie-up with ‘Offer World’, an application for Android users, that in turn will reward users, who will download apps available in its kitty.
Foxconn Electronics has signed a strategic agreement with China-based Internet service provider Tencent Holdings and luxury auto dealer China Harmony Auto Holding for tapping the Internet-connected smart electric vehicle market. However, the companies did not reveal much detail of the cooperation project. The coalition efforts will draw on Foxconn’s manufacturing expertise, Tencent’s Internet platform and China Harmony Auto’s dealership networks, according to industry sources.
The federal government is attempting to expand the amount and type of biometric data it collects on Australian citizens and foreigners – including minors – at the country’s airports through new legislation. The Coalition Government had initially attempted to include an expansion to biometric data collection in its ‘foreign fighters’ bill last year. It was knocked back by the parliamentary committee reviewing the bill, which said the collection of additional types of biometric data should by covered under entirely new legislation given the sensitive nature of the information involved.
More than 100,000 people have been fooled by a fake Qantas Facebook page offering free first-class flights. The like-farming scam promises free first class flights in return for liking and sharing an image of what purports to be a complimentary invitation to the airline’s first class lounge. The post claims the reward is a celebration of the airline’s achievement in seating more than three million passengers since the start of January this year.
Baidu is preparing to launch an autonomous car this year. The internet search giant has been working on a variety of innovative ideas including smart bikes, augmented glasses and other hardware centric ideas in the past two years. Launching the car this year would be an interesting proposition, considering China has not regulated autonomous cars and most automotive companies are holding off on making a car until 2020.
The bigger they get, the harder they stall. Such appears to be the case for Uber, the app-based transportation service, as it falls under increased scrutiny from government regulators across the globe. In Japan, where bureaucracy can run deeper than the Mariana Trench, it should come as no surprise that the government’s transport ministry has moved to suspend Everyone’s Uber – a free ridesharing pilot program that launched last month in Fukuoka.
The Victorian government will soon start accepting applications from providers interested in operating the state’s smartcard public transport ticketing system Myki. Myki was introduced as a replacement for Metcard in the Melbourne metropolitan area and paper tickets for V/Line commuter services when the contract for the ticketing solution was first awarded in 2005.
Australia’s aviation services body Airservices Australia has partnered with mobile satellite comms provider Inmarsat and two local airlines to trial improved flight tracking services on commercial flights. Airservices started working with Inmarsat, Qantas and Virgin last month to develop the operational concept for the trial, which uses Inmarsat’s automatic dependant surveillance – contract (ADS-C) satellite-based positioning and messaging technology on flights within Australia’s oceanic regions.
Jakarta’s public bus operator TransJakarta will develop a mobile app for people to track the arrival times of buses at bus stops. The app will allow people to track the location of bus drivers and estimate when buses will arrive at the bus stops, said Steve Kosasih, CEO of TransJakarta. The city will work with the makers of a popular delivery tracking app, Go-Jek, and will use the same system for the bus app. Go-Jek allows people to track the location of their deliveries through the GPS on the drivers’ smartphones.
Singapore is setting aside space to test autonomous vehicles (AV) on public roads and has set rules for how this technology can be tested safely. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and industrial estate planner JTC Corporation have selected a 6-km route in the One-North business park where applicants will be able to “test their vehicles’ navigation controls in a real-world environment”.
Chinese New Year starts on Wednesday, but many people are already hitting the road to return to their hometowns. Each year it results in the world’s largest human migration. China’s top search engine is tracking many of those journeys and has created an amazing, real-time heat map showing the exodus from the major cities.
In a shock move, China’s two biggest taxi-hailing apps, Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, earlier today announced their merger. It’s surprising not only because the new company will have an almost total monopoly on the market, but also because it’s a very rare instance of a partnership between Alibaba and Tencent, two of China’s three biggest web giants.
Singapore Airlines has taken tablet computing to new heights. The cabin crew of the world’s best airline is now using a tablet-based mobile application to deliver more personalised customer service. The application, called TCS CrewCollab Solution, jointly developed through a collaboration project by SIA and Tata Consultancy Services, enables the automation and streamlining of in-flight processes.
South Australia wants to become the first state to pass rules that would allow driverless cars on its roads, possibly within years. Governor Hieu Van Le opened the SA parliament’s 2015 sittings yesterday with a speech outlining the re-elected Weatherill government’s policy agenda. The plans include a review of the state’s Motor Vehicles Act, which Van Le noted was “written when the FB model Holden was being released to the market in 1959”.
Some open datasets are great because they provide a new level of access to government. Others are worthy simply because of the richness and utility of the data. This week’s open dataset of the week comes from Hong Kong, which has released data that doesn’t make the government more transparent, but does greatly assist citizens. Hong Kong publishes a dataset showing traffic speed across the city.
The Malaysia Airlines website has been attacked and the Lizard Squad, one of the groups that claimed responsibility on Monday, threatened to soon “dump some loot” found on the airline’s servers. The airline said in a statement on its Facebook page that its Domain Name System (DNS) was compromised and as a result users trying to access the URL http://www.malaysiaairlines.com were being redirected to a hacker website.
Facebook awarded Air China for its strategic use of the social networking site, despite it being blocked in mainland China. The state-owned carrier had been aggressively using Facebook as a tool for marketing. It uses the networking site to link its booking engine, promote giveaways, and even to share recipes. Facebook praised the airline for its innovative use of the social media platform, amid China’s ban on the site since 2009.