Hollywood’s job is to tell a grand story and there’s nothing better than losing yourself in a flight of fantasy, especially if there’s a ludicrous and fantastical car in there for good measure. Think Knight Rider, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, Back to the Future, and Mad Max.

Movies are often great predictors of the future. Since the 1960’s, self-driving (or autonomous) cars have rapidly gained traction (excuse the pun) in the public imagination. Today, because of the rapid development of location-based services, along with Geographical Information Systems (GIS), we now have a better idea of what a realistic future of autonomous vehicles may look like.

TomTom, previously known for its GPS navigational systems, is currently working on these new generation vehicles. These autonomous cars are able to navigate their surroundings without human input using a combination of two systems: geographic information gathered by TomTom (e.g. roads, signs, landscape, etc), and sensors on the car that detect changing elements (e.g. other vehicles, weather conditions, stop lights, etc).

Just like the futuristic cars in movies, self-drive cars are being designed with artificial intelligence that will help lower the risk of accidents caused by driver indecision and lack of environmental knowledge. No longer will we have to search endlessly for that illusive car space or hope there are no cars in our blind spot as we change lanes on busy highways. The autonomous vehicle will take away the frustration and do all the hard work. Check out this video by TomTom on how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga5fW-QSXp0

But the use of GIS technology doesn’t stop at automobiles. Emergency services are also beginning to use location-based services to improve their support.

What3words is a service that identifies where you are in a 3x3meter square anywhere on the planet. This service is particularly useful in remote emergency situations where there is no visible address, landmarks, or knowledge of surroundings.

There are many uses for this kind of technology, but here is an example where a fast response to an emergency was facilitated by what3words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZtmcSGCUHI

Even if you are not always aware of them, location-based services, along with GIS, already play a part in our lives. But the rate at which this technology is evolving means that GIS may soon become an everyday occurrence and not just a concept depicted in science fiction movies.

By Peter Landis, 360HR Associate

Based in Sydney, Peter’s network extends Australia-wide and is a Specialist in the GIS and Geospatial sectors as well as IT. He has worked with Government and Commercial clients in both contract and Permanent hires and is known for his ability to handle even the most difficult roles.

Contact Peter for your GIS talent needs – Ph: 02 9819 6324 | Mob: 0414 456 301 | Email: peterl@360hr.com.au