The Age: The Penguin Road Patrol
Aug 11, 2003, 10:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Varghese)
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"When Pavement Management Services, the Melbourne franchise of a
Sydney outfit, was granted a contract by VicRoads to carry out the
annual survey of the road network in September last year, the
company's owner, Rishi Viner, decided that the time was right to
begin doing the surveys using video technology.
"Until then the survey, which covers half of the state's
22,000-km road network each year, had been done by a two-man team
driving at 20kmph, with the driver calling out the defects and the
passenger jotting things down. It was an arduous procedure that
took a long time, posed dangers to other traffic and pretty
expensive to boot...
"What Viner and his team have ended up with today is a system
that uses Linux to run five video cameras from the same kind of van
used as an ambulance. It is all done at a speed ranging from 80kmph
to 100kmph. The cost of the annual survey has, in the process,
fallen from $1.2 million to $850,000. And the system which was
devised has so far generated about 1.3 terabytes of video footage
with few problems..."