Australia introduces AI cameras to detect drivers using their phones

Ruben Fields
December 5, 2019

"Whether you're driving on a major highway or an isolated road in the bush, there's no excuse for using your phone illegally; and now, there's a much greater chance of getting nabbed".

The government of New South Wales state is setting up cameras specifically made for catching drivers using mobile phones.

The authority said it believed the detection system was a world first. The cameras use AI or artificial intelligence to find out if someone is using their phone while driving.

As is the case with other locations, making phone calls while driving in New South Wales is only legal when using a hands-free kit. If an image is identified as likely to show someone breaking the law this way, it will be reviewed by a human. They would have to park their vehicles one of the sides to use their phones. After this 3 month period, drivers are expected to be hit by a fine worth AUD 344, in addition to a penalty of 5 points on their licenses.

With this technology, officials are confident that this will help ease down the number of incidents on the roads.

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NSW's Centre for Road Safety says that during the trial period, earlier this year, the system caught more than 100.000 people using their phones when they shouldn't have.

So far this year 329 people have died on NSW roads, compared with 354 people for all of 2018, according to official statistics. In data published on the website of Edgar Snyder and Associates, their report shows how startling the number of road accidents is in the United States.

The centre estimated that the cameras could act as a deterrent that may prevent 100 fatal and serious injury crashed over five years.

These AI cameras are also not a big issue for privacy as these will not look for drivers' faces. The detection network will be expanded to 45 AI-equipped cameras by 2023, as NSW Transport noted.

"There is strong community support for more enforcement, with 80% of people surveyed supporting the use of detection cameras to stop illegal mobile phone use", Carlon said in the release.

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