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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region.

Innovate ideas & applications

Innovation is in Canberra’s DNA, which is why companies around the world are choosing Canberra as the place to trial new ideas.

A hub for trialling new ideas

We embrace new business models and disruptive technologies. Our openness generates economic and jobs growth, attracts investment and creates a competitive edge.

Our single-tier, progressive government attracts companies keen to trial new technologies here. We’re not afraid of collaborating between the private sector, government and research institutions.

Innovators view Canberra as an advanced, forward-thinking city. Our achievements include becoming:

  • the first mainland capital city in Australia to achieve 100% renewable energy electricity supply
  • the first city in the world to legislate ride sharing before it arrived
  • one of the first cities in the world to install domestic fibre optic infrastructure (in the 1990s)
  • the first city in the world to allow trials of drone home delivery
  • one of the world’s largest domestic virtual power plants and one of the largest home battery storage rollouts
  • host of the first public green hydrogen refuelling station for hydrogen vehicles

A designed city

The city was designed in 1912 through an international competition to create ‘a city not like any other city in the world … an ideal city’.

From this foundation of design and vision, Canberra has continued its creative legacy. It’s known for:

  • considered design
  • respect for our shared social, environmental and economic environment
  • an intelligent, engaged, technology-savvy population
  • socially progressive approaches to lifestyle and wellbeing

Our guiding principles are inclusion, equity and sustainability. Canberra embraces:

  • experimentation and trials
  • exploration of new ideas and approaches
  • open, inquisitive minds

A city of leaders

Canberra’s innovators explore practical ways to achieve social, environmental, technological and economic wellbeing. We founded a unique collaborative model for the Canberra Innovation Network.

Our willingness to learn, grow and collaborate drives our success.

Canberra was named:

  • OECD Most Liveable City in 2014
  • Lonely Planet’s 3rd Best City in the World to Visit in 2018
  • Number One ranking in Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2019

Find your place in a city brimming with innovative concepts, applications and the courage to make things happen.

The CANdrive automated vehicle project

World-leading Canberra firm, Seeing Machines, led the CANdrive automated vehicle project with support from the ACT Government. This work:

  • showed the importance of monitoring driver awareness in semi-automated vehicles
  • led to leading car manufacturers and safety rating bodies adopting the lessons learnt
  • enabled Seeing Machines to strengthen its leadership in the field
  • helped government understand emerging automated vehicle technology and how and why regulation may need to change
  • gave opportunities for the universities of Canberra and Newcastle to engage with Seeing Machines for related research

Sustainable energy trials

The ACT Government supported a world first city-wide trial of a residential virtual power plant. This reduced peak electricity grid demand.

A hydrogen trial is due to start in 2020. The pilot is one of the first of its kind in Australia. This trial will comprise:

  • an initial ACT Government fleet of 20 Hyundai fuel cell electric vehicles
  • a 60 kilowatt hydrogen electrolyser facility
  • refuelling infrastructure
  • technical support
  • research

Wing drone delivery trial

The Wing drone delivery trial tested small parcel delivery services in Canberra. It aimed to examine the best ways to accommodate drone delivery in our cities.

Factors in Canberra’s selection by Wing included:

  • the international reputation of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) as one of the most safety-conscious, innovative aviation regulators in the world
  • Canberra’s income
  • our scattered suburbs
  • a digital-savvy community
  • our talented and experienced unmanned aviation workforce

Trials enabled government and the community to:

  • understand the impacts of new technology in a controlled way
  • make informed decisions about the future use and regulation of those technologies
  • uncover the community’s views and values so that adjustments can be made

The innovation of CANdrive and Wing have helped to build Canberra’s global reputation as a great location for trials. We’re able to support complex interactions between companies, regulators and the community.

Related Pages

Sector Profiles

Canberra is supporting fast-growing industry sectors through capability development, talent attraction and more.

Read more

Canberra Innovation Network

The Canberra Innovation Network is empowering entrepreneurs to make an impact and change the world.

Read more

Why expand your business in Canberra

The creative energy around business in Canberra makes our city the perfect place to expand. We’re progressive, collaborative and welcoming of new people and ideas.

Read more

Interested in doing business in Canberra?

Contact the business team for information and advice.