Victorian trial reveals lidar sensors can alert road users of upcoming hazards

A six-month trial in Victoria has shown that lidar sensors can detect potential road hazards within 0.2 seconds.

A six-month trial that used lidar sensors at a busy intersection in Victoria has shown the technology has the potential to warn road users in real time about upcoming hazards.

The AU$2 million trial, carried out by the Victorian government, involved the installation of lidar sensors at an intersection in Yarraville, which monitored the movement of road users including pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and trucks to identity potential hazards. The sensors were able to detect potential hazards within 0.2 seconds, the state government said.

The trial also investigated ways how lidar sensors could be provide hazard warnings to connected vehicles.

"We know technology plays a significant role in reducing road trauma, so as investment continues into making vehicle systems more automated, we're investigating how these technologies can help us reduce road deaths and injuries sooner," Transport Accident Commission Road Safety head Samantha Cockfield said.

The trial was funded under the state's AU$9 million Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program.

In April, the Victorian government announced it would introduce new legislation to allow its "distracted driver" technology to be rolled out on certain roads in the state.

The tech will capture drivers using their mobile phones while driving. The government will be investing AU$33.7 million to develop and implement it.

It is understood the tech uses high-definition cameras and artificial intelligence to detect offending drivers illegally using their phone behind the wheel. It incorporates two cameras and an infrared flash to work both day and night.

Images that are deemed likely to contain a mobile phone offence are then verified by appropriately trained personnel. Images rejected by the AI are expected to be deleted within 72 hours.

Meanwhile, over in Western Australia, seven defence research projects are set to receive a combined AU$870,000 boost from the federal and state governments.

The project initiatives range from weapon-mounted sensors and drones to space-based optical communications systems and biological warfare defence.

"By investing in innovative technologies, we are helping to strengthen WA's defence industry capabilities, commercialise emerging technologies and diversify the state's economy," Western Australia defence minister Paul Papalia said.

The grants are provided as part of the third funding round of the WA Defence Science Centre's Collaborative Research Grant. 

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