Australia to get new coordinates for future autonomous cars

6 years, 6 months ago - 3 August 2016, Autoblog
Australia to get new coordinates for future autonomous cars
Australia can't stand still and tectonic activity is to blame. Over the past 22 years, the country has moved approximately five feet.

The movement has put the country out of sync with GPS systems and has caused local and global coordinates, which are used to produce maps, to be off by roughly 4.9 feet. In an effort to reflect Australia's new position, its government will officially update the country's new latitude and longitude in 2017, reports BBC News.

Moving at a rate of roughly 2.8 inches per year, the Australian plate is one of the fastest continental plates on the planet, requiring the country to updates its coordinates four times in 50 years. The last time Australia changed its coordinates was in 1994.

While a distance of five feet doesn't seem like a big deal, since your smartphone's GPS system is accurate to approximately 16 to 32 feet, the disparity could drastically affect autonomous systems. In the US, the average width of a highway lane is roughly 12 feet. If an autopilot system is off by five feet, it could result in the car being in another lane.

Since Australia moves at a rapid pace, the country's coordinates will be updated to its projected location by 2020, which leaves a few years until the country is really synced with GPS systems.