AI Chatbot & Voice Assistant

The City of Adelaide has been experimenting with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot since March 2019, and more recently with the voice-enabled Google Assistant.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program that interacts with a user through text or audio. Chatbots provide automated, intelligent responses to enquiries from customers. Modern chatbots use technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) to learn from past interactions, and to improve over time. 

Today, consumers increasingly expect 'instant gratification' when transacting with businesses and organisations.  

In the past couple of years, there has been a distinct shift from traditional methods of contact – telephone, email and in-person transactions – to 'real-time' methods of contact, including chatbots, automated tools, and on-demand services. 

These 'real time' tools and services offer instantaneous responses to customer issues; they are available 24/7, 365 days a year; and they can be accessed from anywhere via a mobile phone.

Many organisations are implementing chatbots in order to automate routine functions that would otherwise be undertaken by a customer service operator. Indeed, Gartner research reveals that organisations report increased customer satisfaction and a reduction of up to 70 per cent in call, chat and email enquiries after implementing a chatbot solution.

Ask Adelaide: the City of Adelaide chatbot

The City of Adelaide is working with Adelaide-French startup Hopstay to develop its own artificial intelligence chatbot.

The City of Adelaide chatbot, known as Ask Adelaide, is powered by Facebook Messenger. 

It is accessible via the Ask Adelaide chatbot button in the bottom right hand corner of each web page on the City of Adelaide website, and via the Facebook Messenger app on mobile devices (search 'City of Adelaide').

Ask Adelaide can provide answers to over 130 common customer service questions, and it has the ability to handle over 35,000 different ‘utterances’ of those questions (the different ways that those questions are posed). 

It can handle questions about on-street parking, grants, development applications, permits and licences, council rates, waste services, among many other things.

In addition to its Q&A capabilities, Ask Adelaide has a number of built-in functions that are available to the user:

  • Report an issue. Users can report common problems encountered in the public realm, including graffiti, potholes and overflowing bins.
  • Bin day checker. Users can find out when their red, yellow and green bins will be picked up.
  • Bin day alerts. Users can create bin day alerts to receive a reminder the night before bins are picked up.
  • Which bin? tool. Users can find out which bin should be used for a given item - eg. which bin do I put batteries in?
  • UPark spaces. Users can receive a real-time indication of how many spaces are currently available at UPark's nine city car parks.
  • What's on. Users can search for events and activities that are happening in Adelaide.
  • Hotels, bars and restaurants. Users can search for hotels, bars and restaurants in Adelaide.
  • Library search. Users can initiate a library catalogue search.
  • Adelaide quiz. Users can take a quiz about Adelaide.
  • Fun facts. Users can receive fun facts about Adelaide.

Be sure to check back regularly as new functions are being added to Ask Adelaide all the time.

Voice with Google Assistant

Globally, there are now more than 1 billion users who regularly access voice assistant technologies, such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant. 

In addition to its text-based chatbot, the City of Adelaide is currently experimenting with the voice-enabled Google Assistant app, which is available via the Google Play Store for Android users and the Apple App Store for iPhone/iPad users. 

To initiate a voice interaction, use the command: 'Hey Google, speak to Adelaide' or 'Hey Google, ask Adelaide...'

Currently, voice commands are limited to bin day and UPark parking information. New voice functions are coming soon.

Ask Adelaide voice commands available in Google Assistant

General Invocation

  • Hey Google, talk to Adelaide
  • Hey Google, I want to talk to Adelaide
  • Ok Google, speak to Adelaide
  • Ok Google, can I speak to Adelaide

Explicit Invocation with Parking Spaces Intent

  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide how many spaces are available at UPark Gawler Place
  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide how many places are available at UPark Gawler Place & Topham Mall
  • Ok Google, ask Adelaide how many car parks are available at Light Square
  • OK Google, ask Adelaide if there are any free car parks at Rundle St

Explicit Invocation with Parking at a location

  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide about parking
  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide where the nearest car park is
  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide for the closest car park to me
  • Ok Google, ask Adelaide where the closest car park is to Rundle Mall
  • Ok Google, ask Adelaide for a car park.

Explicit Invocation with Waste (note that this only works for addresses inside the City of Adelaide council area)

  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide about bins
  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide when my bins get picked up
  • Hey Google, ask Adelaide when my red bin gets collected
  • Ok Google, ask Adelaide when my organics bin gets collected next
  • Ok Google, ask Adelaide for the bin day at 123 Pirie st
  • Ok Google, ask Adelaide when my garbage collection day is


For further information about our AI chatbot and voice assistant project, please contact Clayton Wehner, Manager Marketing Strategy and Innovation:

(08) 8203 7203