Apr 9, 2021

Victoria invests AU$34 million to prevent distracted driving

Sam Steers
2 min
Courtesy of Getty Images
The Australian state of Victoria will introduce AI-based technology to catch drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel from 2023 onwards...

Victoria, a state in Southeast Australia, has announced that it will invest AU$34 million in an artificial intelligence-based technology to catch 'distracted drivers' using their mobile phones.

The Victorian government claims that the technology will use high-definition cameras alongside AI to detect drivers illegally using their mobile phones, incorporating two cameras and an infrared flash that works both during the day and at night.

Any images that the AI believes to represent illegal mobile phone use are verified by official personnel, whereas images that have been rejected by the AI due to not demonstrating illegal activity "will be deleted within 72 hours," the Victorian government says.

This news comes after the government trialled the technology with Acusensus, Victoria's current traffic camera services contractor, and it tested 679.438 vehicles over a three-month period.

The results showed that "one in 42 drivers was found to be using a mobile phone", although the trial was conducted during Australia's Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions.

Another result found by conducting the trial was that the distracted driving technology could detect if a driver is not wearing a seatbelt, with one in 667 drivers committing the offence.

The state of Queensland has also been conducting trials using the technology, whilst Acusensus provides it to the state of New South Wales, where cameras have been operating in "warning mode" since December 2019.

What is "warning mode"?

"Warning mode" is a mode adopted by Australian speed cameras and instead of fining a driver for their first speeding offence, issues them with a warning letter - that is, unless they exceed the limit by more than 30km/h, in which case they receive a court attendance notice.

The warning mode also includes a "three-strikes scheme", which issues an infringement for a third offence at a single camera location after two warning letters for two other offences.

In Australia, drivers can be fined AU$344 and lose five "demerit points" on their licence.

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations


Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”


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