5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Leave the toys at home. Wi-Fi is coming to Qantas! Photo: Shutterstock.

Here’s what’s happening on the tech scene around the country today.

1. GoCatch is launching Australia’s first Uber X competitor.

Australian taxi startup GoCatch is going to be the first local company to launch an alternative to Uber X, turning its new service GoCar online today in Sydney.

The service will be available through the existing GoCatch app and will allow users to pick between GoCar or a traditional taxi booking.

2. Here’s how fast NBN is compared to ADSL and international broadband.

ADSL2+ is the most common broadband technology used in Australia today, but speeds depend on the distance from the premises to the local telephone exchange.

A typical ADSL2+ download speed in Melbourne or Sydney is around 15 Mb/s, but many housholds have much lower speeds than this. By international comparison, Australia’s download speeds are ranked just 49th in the world — how woeful.

See the full rankings here.

3. Australian researchers have created the technology needed to make “smart” contact lenses.

Researchers at RMIT University and the University of Adelaide have joined forces to create a stretchable nano-scale device to manipulate light.

The device manipulates light to such an extent that it can filter specific colours while still being transparent and could be used in the future to make smart contact lenses which could one day filter harmful optical radiation, transmit data and gather live vital information or even show information like a head-up display. See more here.

4. How Malcolm Turnbull can show he really backs innovation.

Australia’s workforce is undergoing the most significant disruption since the Industrial Revolution. Gone are the days of a salaried job-for-life, beholden to a single corporate employer; workers are now choosing a different path.

According to a study by Upwork, nearly one-third (32%) of working-age Australians did freelance work in 2015.

Rich Pearson, the senior vice president of Marketing and Categories at Upwork thinks it’s time Turnbull put his money where his mouth is. Here’s how.

5. Free Wi-Fi is coming to Qantas domestic flights next year.

Qantas will have free inflight Wi-Fi on its domestic routes from next year — Woo hoo!

The Wi-Fi, being installed in a partnership with global technology services company ViaSat, taps into the NBN and is expected to be as fast as on ground services.

In-flight trials are expected to begin late this year and a roll-out across Qantas domestic’s fleet of A330s and B737s is planned from the start of 2017.

BONUS ITEM: This flying car is said to hit the market by 2025.

Terrafugia is building the TF-X, a vehicle that will be able to transform from car to plane and back. According to the company, it will be ready for market by 2025. When finished, it will be able to take off, fly, and land on its own.

See it here.

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