How is Australia putting AI to work on its roads?

Answer: By using it to catch drivers on their cellphones.

by / September 25, 2019
Shutterstock/Tero Vesalainen

Using your cellphone in any capacity while driving is illegal in a lot of places, but that doesn’t seem to stop people from getting on their devices while in the driver’s seat. A company in Melbourne, Australia, is looking to make it easier for law enforcement to punish this behavior with the help of some cameras and artificial intelligence.

Acusensus’ distracted driver detection system uses an AI to analyze footage from cameras on roadways to check if a driver has their hands on their cellphone instead of the steering wheel. When it detects a violation, the system can create an encrypted, evidence-grade, traceable package of the evidence for use by law enforcement and the court system, if necessary. The technology operates 24/7 and isn’t deterred by weather, sun glare or darkness.

During a six-month pilot, the system detected 100,000 prosecutable offenses out of 8.5 million drivers in New South Wales. The NSW Department of Transport will have the system fully deployed by the end of the year, with plans for it to check 135 million drivers by 2023.

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