Victorian council begins connecting garbage trucks to 5G technology

5G-enabled garbage trucks could become the future for Australian streets, with the new smart technology now being adopted by Brimbank City Council in Victoria.

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Technology continues to merge with and ‘enhance’ city elements.


An “interconnected network of garbage trucks” will be the new frontline in ‘repairing local roads’ in Victoria, thanks to a research collaboration between Swinburne University of Technology and Brimbank City Council.

Utilising the 5G network and the Internet of Things (IoT), Brimbank City Council’s garbage trucks will adopt the new role in the coming months, “automatically mapping damage to streets and other assets”.

“Supported by $1.18 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Australian 5G Innovation Initiative and working with Optus, the project will also help demonstrate how 5G can reliably support the needs of smart cities around Australia.”
Photo: Swinburne University

While garbage trucks are fitted with video cameras today, they’re not uploading in real-time – someone has to go and fetch the video, and that means a delay of up to 48 hours in getting information into the council.

The trucks will soon “use high-resolution cameras and GPS sensors attached to waste trucks to rapidly detect road and roadside assets that require maintenance”.

Photo: Swinburne University

The cameras attached to the truck capture 3D perception data at a rate of 900 megabits per second, about 18 times faster than the speed of the average mobile download speed.

“Swinburne is bringing together researchers, government and industry to co-create safe, resilient solutions for smart and sustainable cities. Together, we are enhancing access to services, places and economic opportunities, and improving quality of life,”
– Professor Prakash Jayaraman, the Director of Swinburne’s Factory of the Future and Digital Innovation Lab.

Jayaraman told reporters that the first application for the project will be to identify and report, in real-time, when someone’s dropped a pile of hard rubbish without permission.

From there, the system will be expanded to photograph other damaged assets, such as roads, signs, bus shelters, “and the like”.

Real-time monitoring slowly moving down your streets.

All for your ‘benefit’, of course.



Victoria continues to modernise its waste management system as part of The Clean City Network — an initiative developed by Melbourne’s Smart City project.

The smart city concept revolves around collecting real-time data from citizens, personal vehicles, public transport, buildings, and other urban infrastructure components, such as power grids and waste disposal systems.

The insights gained from this data help municipal authorities ‘manage assets and services’ more efficiently, although experts have warned of surveillance capabilities.

The city council installed CleanCUBE solar-powered waste compactors in high-density parts of the city in 2018 as the first step to combining waste systems with IoT technology.

There are now almost 450 solar smart bins, 230 public recycling bins, 2000 public litter bins and 500 cigarette butt bins around the City of Melbourne.

More recently, Melbourne unveiled a brand new AI-powered traffic-management system, known as the “Intelligent Corridor”, a pilot designed to ‘transform streets’ in the modern age.

Governments openly admit that smart city initiatives are directly linked to the Agenda 2030 plan.

In 2016, the summit formally adopted a new sustainable development agenda for the new decade that includes 145 ‘SDG acceleration actions’.

Forty-two of these actions are related to SDG11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Waste consumption is also a major part of SG12.

Melbourne seems to be a major test-bed of the ‘future cities’ that Australians will live under.

It’s no wonder tens of thousands are leaving the state.

How long before these ‘test beds’ begin to expand to other locations?


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