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Australia has moved 1.5 metres, so it's updating its location for self-driving cars

Strewth! Australia will update its latitude and longitude to make sure self-driving cars, drones and tractors know where they're going.

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Some Australians ask for directions, yesterday.
Getty Images

Australia is changing from "down under" to "down under and across a bit".

The country is shifting its longitude and latitude to fix a discrepancy with global satellite navigation systems. Government body Geoscience Australia is updating the Geocentric Datum of Australia, the country's national coordinate system, to bring it in line with international data.

The reason Australia is slightly out of whack with global systems is that the country moves about 7 centimetres (2.75 inches) per year due to the shifting of tectonic plates.

Since 1994, when the data was last recorded, that's added up to a misalignment of about a metre and a half.

While that might not seem like much, various new technology requires location data to be pinpoint accurate. Self-driving cars, for example, must have infinitesimally precise location data to avoid accidents. Drones used for package delivery and driverless farming vehicles also require spot-on information.

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