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Linux Hits the Road 207

Posted by michael
from the roadkill dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Vicroads does regular surveys of the roads in Victoria, Australia, to determine where they need to be patched or otherwise repaired. It used to be done in a vehicle travelling at 20 kph: slow, tedious, and hazardous to the traffic around it. Now, thanks to Linux, it's being done at speeds of 80 to 100 kph. The Melbourne Age has the details. Short version: the cost has fallen from $1.2 million Australian to $850,000. Not bad..."
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Linux Hits the Road

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  • car video guidance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bryanthompson (627923) <logansbro AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:39AM (#6663256) Homepage Journal
    I've been wanting to build a system that'd use cameras to find the lines on the road and keep my car between them. Now GPS would probably be an easier way to guide a car down the road, but i'd still like to see if it's possible, safe, and reliable.
    • by HBI (604924) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (enidarapk)> on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:55AM (#6663311) Homepage Journal
      I have often dreamed of a system whereby I could have four missiles stored in the quarter panels of my car. They would be vertical launch tubes with caps painted the same color as the car, to be less conspicuous.

      At the appropriate moment, I could press a steering-wheel mounted firing button to launch the missile. The missile would launch, locate the double yellow line in the middle of the road, and track it until it found the person blocking traffic. It would then break left till it circled around, slightly above traffic levels, do a pop-down maneuver, and lay into a slight up-angle as it strikes the driver's side rocker panel of the offending vehicle, knocking it off the road.

      Unfortunately, I don't believe the kinetic energy imparted by a small missile of the 50 lbs variety can actually do that to a 2 ton SUV (it's a given that someone in an SUV is blocking traffic. Ok, maybe a minivan). But I can dream, can't I?

      In the process of thinking about this, I realized a couple things that may be of interest to you. First, not all roads have the same kinds of painted lines. Some have shoulder marks. Some have buzz strips. Some have single yellow lines, and some have double. Some have single yellow lines with a dashed line on the other side (signifiying a passing lane). Assuring an optical sensor would be able to digest all these differing inputs would be challenging, to say the least.

      Also, what happens when a road has a middle passing lane with double yellow lines, dashed on the inside? Those confuse human drivers, I can guarantee an optical sensor would not be happy with that.

      What about turn lanes? NJ is famous for those stupid jug handles. Obviously a 'turn/go straight' decision would have to be made. But what happens when the primary road turns slightly at the point of the turn lane? Some interesting behavior of your automated system could result.

      I also doubt that GPS has the resolution to actually handle driving down a road. The promised CPE is big enough that you could ram into a telephone pole at just about any time.

      This is a really tough problem. I ultimately think that a passive response device along the lines of an RFID would be necessary to keep vehicles travelling in the correct direction. These would need to be installed along all road surfaces. For those which aren't equipped, we'd be stuck with the current method.
      • IANAIRS (Image Recognition Scientist) but the problem is both larger and smaller than you make it out to be in that you can get a certain amount of information about the road by looking at the road in general, other roads coming off of it, et cetera. Take for example a section of highway which is crossed by a road. In the US, this generally means that a center lane opens up for those turning left, there is sometimes a holding area in between the left-turning lanes for a car which is crossing the freeway (or
      • You're right about all of that. So what's the solution? How about like everywhere else we use computers - two sets of rules (computer and human) with different flags (labels vs. bar codes, dotted lines and signs vs. ? (rf, ir, rfid, something with close range recognition) and possibly a subset of options allowed for computer controlled vehicles (lanes for automated driving, maybe human-and-computer-readable signs saying that you can't use automated systems on the NJ turn-offs). As the system gets better,
    • It's been done before, at least on highways. Years ago I've seen on TV this had been done by universities, so I'm sure it's still progressing today.
    • GPS-based navigation? Hell, my girlfriend bought a Car Navi for her car (here in Japan); the map software revision is less than a year old. Yet, roads are changed and added so often, that the map shows us driving in places where we really have no business being (like, in the middle of parks, empty lots, driving through large buildings, etc). Also, her car is rather large (station wagon), and some streets in Tokyo are incredibly narrow. Yet the Navi has on many occasion led us into really snaky narrow "s
    • i've been wanting to build some sort of time travelling cyborg to assasinate my political rivals.

      now winning an election would probably be easier, but i'd still like to see if it's possible and reliable. safety isn't really one of my primary concerns.
    • Check out the NAVLAB 5 [cmu.edu] project, and other [cmu.edu] NAVLABS, there's some pretty impressive results although its hard to tell from the webpages.
      • Yeah, when I was there, NAVLAB 1 (or was it 2) was a huge oversized van with two cameras (or was it three) a laser scanner, 5 or 7 sun workstations and two extra generators to keep stuff powered. And it went around 10 feet a minute. We would occasionally see it creeping around the park.

        I saw their latest thing on TV a few years back, the scaled down system consisted of a laptop and a tiny video camera clipped to the rear-view mirror. And the car was going 60 mph. Moore's Law + a decade and a half of s

    • You can't use GPS. It doesn't have the resolution to keep you between the lines. I played with some mapping software once, that always showed me running parallel to the roads. I believe the gov't still makes the civilian frequencies fuzzy intentionally. I did hear that they did make it better in the last couple years though.

      I've been dreaming of a system like that for a while now. Just remember, lines may be obscured, poorly drawn (adding and removing lanes), unmarked roads.

      Also, remember to put proxi
    • I cant remember what company, but some luxury manufacturer (caddy?) has a very new system that does this to a degree, i dont rememebr if it notices your drifting and just alerts you or corrects itself. Anyone have any more information on this, its late/early, i cant rememebr any specifics.
      Ok, its BMW, 8th paragraph [automfg.com].
    • I've been wanting to build a system that'd use cameras to find the lines on the road and keep my car between them

      So has DARPA... See "Grand Challenge".

      Now GPS would probably be an easier way to guide a car down the road,

      *Evil Grin*

      Hmm, let's see... I believe the resolution of GPS is about 1 meter. Quite accurate really, just not accurate enough for the road. If your car is one meter off, that would either put it in a ditch at the right side of the road, or directly in the on-comming traffic lane.

  • by kgarcia (93122) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:39AM (#6663259) Homepage
    Does it also map roadkill streaks?
  • BFD (Score:5, Funny)

    by hazman (642790) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:43AM (#6663269)
    Short version: the cost has fallen from $1.2 million Australian to $850,000. Not bad..."

    So what. So they saved $36.83US. What's the big deal?

    • http://www.x-rates.com/d/USD/AUD/graph120.png

      How many $US a $AU has buying. Up up up. I think the US currency is the one that's in trouble ;)
    • I hate to reply to my own posts, but I got to confess, this is a troll.

      As much as we Americans pity the rest of the world, this still was a bit over the edge. And the Australians have it particularily bad, so you shouldn't pick on them. Shame on me.

    • In these sad times, when companies try to save money by getting rid of plants in the office, removing the water coolers, turning down the A/C, buying cheap grade toilet paper, and switching off the 'down' escalators, saving $36.83 probably is a BFD :-)
  • best line (Score:5, Funny)

    by b17bmbr (608864) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:43AM (#6663274)
    It was expected that the solution would be one involving Windows and written in Visual Basic...I don't think that I would have undertaken a task like this, where a computer is on the road, using anything but a robust operating system.

    hey steve, start booking that flight!!!
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:45AM (#6663281) Homepage
    I'm amazed they got that to work. The FireWire hot-plugging support in Linux is a mess, doesn't handle the hard cases, and needs a complete redesign. Camera support is ugly, with a wierd interface between the application and the driver.

    (I wrote FireWire camera support for QNX, and looked at the Linux code to see how to do some things. It didn't help much.)

    (Windows support for FireWire is painful in a different way. It's incredibly complex, and has far too much kernel code, to allow for DRM. And the Video for Windows retrofit for FireWire is flakey.)

    • I'm amazed they got that to work. The FireWire hot-plugging support in Linux is a mess, doesn't handle the hard cases, and needs a complete redesign. Camera support is ugly, with a wierd interface between the application and the driver.

      Just curious, when was this?

      I'm not heavily involved with Linux firewire, but I've been tracking it vaguely, and I understand that they've actually got a proper solution for the hotplug thing that works against 2.5 (and presumably, now, 2.6).

      Now, I'm not *using* 2.5 or ne
      • I'm not heavily involved with Linux firewire, but I've been tracking it vaguely, and I understand that they've actually got a proper solution for the hotplug thing that works against 2.5

        Backport it to 2.4 and I'll be impressed. Until then, for most users, the firewire support is about as useful as tits on a bull.
  • Penguin (Score:3, Funny)

    by olderchurch (242469) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:46AM (#6663282) Homepage Journal
    I like the title of the pictures:
    The penguin road patrol
  • by cvk (696855) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:47AM (#6663289)
    This high-speed video capture is definitely the way to go for a first step, but of course the situation will be hugely improved when all that data can be taken back to the lab an scanned for drivability by software instead of by human brainpower.

    Perhaps when the sun is low shadows would be cast over potholes that would lead to lower temperatures inside the crater than on the surface of the road. That would make infrared cameras an obvious choice for picking out the cold-bottomed potholes.

    Or perhaps a rear vehicle could shine a light at an acute angle to the ground that would turn potholes into shadowy pits for easy detection by a forward vehicle on the other side of the pothole?

    So many possibilities. (So many challenges!)
    • by ColaMan (37550) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:32AM (#6663431) Homepage Journal
      Or perhaps a accelerometer input on an axle to register potholes. Actually , a pretty good gauge of road surface (gravel size etc) could be sensed with a decent accelerometer, as long as your tyres are fairly well pumped up.

      (Car hits pothole - ka-THUNK!!!!)

      Computer : Crikey! Didja feel that!?! Stone the flamin' crows, who was the bushwhacker that built this goat-track? Strewth!!

      (Computer makes note of position for future reference.)

      That way, subtle potholes (eg small depressions in road with no sharp edges) could be picked up fairly well.

      And I hold the patent for "a method for use of Australian Slang to accurately measure and describe road defects", so no getting any ideas ;-)
      • That misses the potholes you don't run over directly with your wheels.
      • They have those. About a dozen commercial models or so. Here's one of the big boys - the ARAN [roadware.com].

        They all work, in general, by measuring the relative motions between the axle, body, and road. They use some sort of rangefinder (a laser, in the case of the ARAN) to determine the distance between the pavement and the body, and an accelerometer to determine the motion of the axle.
        These things are fully automated, computers ride over the roads, chew some numbers back in the lab, and spit out a ride quality number.
    • This high-speed video capture is definitely the way to go for a first step, but of course the situation will be hugely improved when all that data can be taken back to the lab an scanned for drivability by software instead of by human brainpower.

      Perhaps when the sun is low shadows would be cast over potholes that would lead to lower temperatures inside the crater than on the surface of the road. That would make infrared cameras an obvious choice for picking out the cold-bottomed potholes.

      Or perhaps a rea

    • Or perhaps they should just use a linear array of sonar or radar systems to generate a heightfield of the road. It would give more information than video. If you spent enough money on it you could also get the composition 0f the road to a certain degree, which would show you if a part of the road that had been pushed up came up because of a root or because they don't know how to properly lay a road bed.

      Sonar would be good enough, is fast enough, and is very cheap. Sonar modules are readily available and m

  • Linux not the answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .retawriaf.> on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:49AM (#6663297) Homepage
    Actually reading the article shows that Linux is incidental to the 'breakthrough'. The improvement comes from video processing software, not from the operating system of the computers that perform the processing.
    • by pc486 (86611) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:52AM (#6663486) Homepage
      Well, the project manager Viner thought that the project would be based on Windows but after talking to Dr. Tim Ferguson, Viner let Ferguson base it on Linux. Viner was so impressed with the way that Linux preformed the video capture and monitoring that "The experience has made Viner a firm Linux convert. 'The office is moving over to Linux and we are looking at getting some form of network-attached storage for our clients,' he said."

      And Ferguson said it best at the end of the article: "Development using open source software means the developer is totally in charge. You can do what you like, and customise things to your own needs. There are downsides, like the problems I faced with the firewire drivers. But then you'll generally find that you are not alone in this; there will be others to contribute little bits of knowledge until the jigsaw is complete."

      So to say that Linux is "incidental" is a little bit of an understatment.

      • Well, the project manager Viner thought that the project would be based on Windows but after talking to Dr. Tim Ferguson, Viner let Ferguson base it on Linux. Viner was so impressed with the way that Linux preformed the video capture and monitoring

        Problem is.., Linux isn't doing the video capture and monitoring. Linux is the OS that a custom application is running under.

        And Ferguson said it best at the end of the article: "Development using open source software means the developer is totally in charge

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:50AM (#6663298)
    A newspaper article about Linux that backs up its claims with details, has not one hint of FUD.

    Soeriously now, an nwspaper article that mentions
    limitations in the firewire drivers.

    I mean the readers are expected to know what drivers, RAM, firewire, is.

    They call Linux robust and hint that windows isn't.

    There is no catch!!!

    Now this is unbelievable!!
    This must be a hoax article.

    You don't really get stories like this in the newspaper
  • by skydude_20 (307538) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:50AM (#6663299) Journal
    just to make sure we all understand the proper terminology:
    the road ahead (what is technically called the pavement)
  • by cubal (601223) <matt@probLAPLACE ... t minus math_god> on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:51AM (#6663302) Homepage
    And, surprisingly honest. I'm quite impressed with how honest they were about the problems they faced.

    And that's where OSS evangelism has to happen... showing that OS is better even with its problems, not that proprietary is worse and OS is perfect. Good for them :)
  • I use linux... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:51AM (#6663303) Homepage
    ... but this artice is pretty ridiculous:

    "My experience with Windows is limited. I have been a Linux user since 1993 and I have considerable experience in programming in that environment," Ferguson said. "In any case, I don't think that I would have undertaken a task like this, where a computer is on the road, using anything but a robust operating system."

    I mean, is it *really* that much harder to grab some video in Windows vs Linux? Having never programmed in Windows, perhaps someone can enlighten me, but I would expect that software like this is 99% image processing, and the choice of OS makes little or no difference. I can understand, all thing being equal, using the OS you're more comfortable with... but jesus they make it sound like Linux saved the day here, when that's their only argument.

    We always make fun of the retarded M$-funded cost-of-ownership studies. How about posting some stories that show the REAL benefit of OSS in everyday applications?
    • Re:I use linux... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OzJimbob (129746)
      That's not their only argument. As was highlighted further along in the article, putting this system together on Windows would have meant purchasing expensive proprietary softare. In Linux: this wasn't necessary. Hence, the $400,000 saving. Cost savings are potentially more important than any "advantage" either OS might have had in terms of performance or stability.
      • No, they said that they rolled their own software in lieu of using a commercially available solution - that's all they said. If anything, this further undermines their argument in that their predetermined choice of OS simply ruled out readily available softwar0e (irrespective of cost).

        I LOVE OSS, BUT THIS ARTICLE IS TRIPE.
      • Re:I use linux... (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Listen, I'm a "Linux Freak" too, but the $400,000 savings has NOTHING to do with Linux vs. Windows. It's not like they evaluated Windows and chose Linux for the $400,000 savings. The $400,000 savings is from converting from a manual system to a Linux-based automated system.

        Now, I have no doubt that they would have saved a great deal of money with this solution over a Windows based solution, but please. Don't try and take credit for things that you have no business taking credit for. :p
        • And what, someone with more Windows knowledge couldn't have written the same thing for win2k? Whatever. It is possible to have OSS run on Windows. The method used was biased by the guy providing the solution. He knew Linux, not Windows. Also note the commments regarding hardware (specifically the Athlon XP).
      • As was highlighted further along in the article, putting this system together on Windows would have meant purchasing expensive proprietary softare.
        No such thing is stated anywhere in the article.
    • Mods this as a troll?
    • Re:I use linux... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tftp (111690) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:01AM (#6663333) Homepage
      Generally speaking, *anything* in Windows costs you 10x more LOCs. For example, in Linux a simple concat() call does the job. In Windows you have to use CreateFile() with about 10 parameters, and some of those parameters are mind-boggling structures (like SECURITY_ATTRIBUTES) that must be created and initialized using separate API calls.

      So indeed, in Windows you pay for layer upon layer upon layer of cruft. Once you are done, it works - but it takes a rocket scientist to get there.

      With regard to video capture, in Linux you can do this:
      $ cat videodata.raw
      and it will give you some sort of raw video frames that you can easily process later. In Windows you first need to learn about 10 layers of software, each totally different, that allow you (in theory) to access the device. DirectX would be your first stop.

      • I just wonder why I typed open() and it became concat() after preview... either Slashcode or the latest Firebird are to be blamed.
      • Re:I use linux... (Score:4, Informative)

        by JKR (198165) on Monday August 11, 2003 @06:05AM (#6663958)
        In Windows you have to use CreateFile() with about 10 parameters, and some of those parameters are mind-boggling structures (like SECURITY_ATTRIBUTES) that must be created and initialized using separate API calls.

        Or you can just leave those parameters as NULL, in which case (e.g. SECURITY_ATTRIBUTES) the call inherits the setting from the current process, just like it says in the MSDN. You do read the MSDN, right?

        DirectX would be your first stop.

        And your last stop, because RIGHT THERE IN THE DX8.1 SDK is code to do what you want:

        • samples\Multimedia\DirectShow\Capture\AMCap
        • sam ples\Multimedia\DirectShow\Capture\DVApp
        • samples\ Multimedia\DirectShow\Capture\PlayCap

        It took me about half a day to take this code and write a video capture app which we could hook into our FPGA dev board to demonstrate our product.

        Yes, the Windows APIs are bigger and scarier than the equivalent UNIX APIs (where equivalents exist). The wealth of examples and development communities more than makes up for this, IMO.

        Jon.

      • To be fair... (Score:2, Informative)

        by LemonYellow (244336)
        ...you do have the choice to use either the CRT's open() function or Windows' OpenFile/CreateFile API calls; You don't have to use the more complicated one if you don't want the extra features. Most of the nastier parameters to CreateFile, such as that infrequently-used SECURITY_ATTRIBUTES structure, can be passed NULL to get default behaviour, so you don't have to set up the ACL on the file by hand if you don't want to.

        I'm afraid it's the old rule coming into play here; Some complicated tasks require comp
    • I can't use my WinTV Go! in Win98SE, at all...but it worked out of the box in Red Hat 8.0 Linux.

      So for me, yeah, it's easier to grab video with Linux. ;)

      -uso.
    • Re:I use linux... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by edwdig (47888) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:05AM (#6663345)
      > I mean, is it *really* that much harder to grab some video in Windows vs Linux?

      Although I've never tried video programming in Windows, I did try it in Linux. I ended up giving up fairly quickly, because although the individual V4L API calls are documented, there is no documentation stating which calls are necessary to get something to happen, or in what order you have to call the different functions. Getting something working involves a lot of trial and error. So I'm sure for video purposes, Windows would be easier to code.

      Anyway, that completely misses the point of the line you quoted. The author chose Linux because he wanted an OS that wouldn't crash, not one that was easy to program for. If OS #1 provides an easy to use but crash prone API, and OS #2 provides a harder to use but stable API, #2 is the better choice.

      Oh, and from my personal experience on lots of systems, Windows NT/2000/XP are terribly unstable when doing video capture. Both with consumer and professional grade capture devices.
      • Is my Win2K PC. The one thing keeping me from moving it to linux is the lack of a quality video solution like DScaler.

        I've done hundreds of hours of video capture in Win2K with nary a glitch. Bad hard drives will screw things up, but that's a bandwidth and timing issue, not an OS issue. Hell, I used to run a capture every single night (Voyager) and surf the net at the same time - running win2k on a 450MHz PII machine.

    • Thanks for the "Troll" mod, guys. Yes, let's all suppress objective discourse to make room for the WHEE LINUX posts.
  • by drayzel (626716) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:56AM (#6663315)

    "...LINServo to capture and rate the video footage and PMSVideo for clients to look at the finished footage..."

    I have 6 sisters, PMSVideo is not something I'd like to see. It sounds like a really horrible fetish video.

    But then again after reading other details...

    "...so far generated about 1.3 terabytes of video footage..."
    "...Due to limitations of the Linux firewire drivers, only 896 meg of RAM gets used..."
    "...we took out the air-conditioner and added a second alternator..." YIKES!

    I can maybe see why it was named as such!

    ~Z
    • I still don't understand the second alternator thing. In an ambulance type of vehicle, they have lots of room. Why didn't they mount a generator externally, and have 110/220v and still be able to keep their air conditioning, without putting an extra load and dependance on the vehicles electrical system? People with RV's do it all the time. A generator can pull from the regular fuel tank, and run for quite a while (like a *LONG* time on a 20+ gallon tank). A friend had an RV, and they'd run the genera
  • MILLENIUM train (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Full day drive away in Sydney, we're suffering through the MILLENIUM train [news.com.au] fiasco, technology supplied by, no surprise, a Microsoft Operating system.

    aarrh!
  • by Victa (186697) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:59AM (#6663324)
    VicRoads recently resurfaced the main road near my house... After 4 weeks working on a 400m (1/4 mile) stretch of road they went away. Leaving a worse surface than they had started with...

    It's fairly typical of VicRoads to resurface perfectly good roads regularly (every 6-12 months) and the roads that are actually in bad shape get ignored, or made worse... I guess it must have something to do with where the money lives...

    • Where I live here in NSW, two months before each state election the same stretch of road (The Esplanade, Warners Bay) get's resurfaced. It's on a fairly major route but doesn't effect traffic too much when the road works are going on. Something smells fishy but I can't quite firgure it out.
  • PMS? (Score:3, Funny)

    by poptones (653660) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:05AM (#6663348) Journal
    Pavement Management System? Penguin Movie System?

    What an unfortunate acronym. Maybe when they get an editor put together they can call it STD Edit.

    • Maybe when they get an editor put together they can call it STD Edit.

      There's already a video editor called VD [virtualdub.org].
    • I can tell you that Caltrans in California, USA is guilty of the same horseshit. I drive a well-handling sports car, and when going over Hwy 175 (Hopland Grade, at this point) I can tell you that nearly every turn is mislabeled. Over time I have driven that road in a '89 240SX, an '85 Thunderbird, a '63 Chevy T-10 truck, and a Mercury Tracer five door (Mazda 323 with more headroom.)

      Basically, about half the turns that are not labeled should be, and half the turns that are labeled don't need to be. Okay, m

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and everything to do with using a computer to replace a manual process. The OS (Linux, Windows, or other) has little to do with the success of the project. If, for example, Windows 2000 had been used rather than Linux the sub-heading would have been "short version: the cost has fallen from $1.2 million Australian to $849,800". Yawn.
  • by Alien Being (18488) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:13AM (#6663375)
    "In any case, I don't think that I would have undertaken a task like this, where a computer is on the road, using anything but a robust operating system."

    I realize that MSWindows has a zillion bugs, but I never knew that its bits could shake loose from going over bumps.
    • That's not how I interpret that statement. When NASA builds equipment to go into space, they use 386/486 CPUs because they absolutely know how they work and how to keep them reliable. You don't want to have to fix something in space.

      This is to a lesser degree, of course, but having to stop their survey and wait for a "tech guy" to drive out and fix the computer would be a real pain. Having to stop the survey because the OS needs to be rebooted would be a lesser pain, but still a pain. And when did the
  • by canning (228134) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:18AM (#6663391) Homepage
    "It was a scary experience when we got to the South Australian border and had a power supply in the PC fail," said Arya.

    Sounthern Australia border?? I would assume that all that water wouldn't be good for them either.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The state to the left of Victoria is called South Australia. That is the border being referred to there.
    • by aspeer (131086) on Monday August 11, 2003 @03:28AM (#6663572)
      Yep, We are really original here. Once Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Tasmania were named it must of been pretty close to beer o'clock. You can imagine the conversation:

      Pioneer 1: So, we have two states left, one in the South and one in the West. Ideas ?

      Pioneer 2: South Australia and Western Australia - now for *^%* sake lets hit the pub.

      Pioneer 1: I like it. Lets go.

      • Pioneer 2: We forgot to name the big patch of desert up north.

        Pioneer 1: Erm...how about North Australia?

        Pioneer 2: No, we only reserve creative names for states. It's not a state.

        Pioneer 1: Okay, anyway it's beer o'clock now. I'm sure we'll think of a fitting name later on.
    • Actually - its a scary experience just crossing the South Australian border.

      Dont forget to wind your watch back 10 years

  • Hit the road Tux, and don't you come back no more no more no more no more, hit the road Tux, and don't you come back no more...

    Sorry, couldn't resist. I wonder if yearly vehicle registration fees will decrease now? VicRoads charge ~$440 for a light vehicle, and ~500 for a medium vehicle. That's more than one weeks wage for many people.

    Maybe if VicRoads switched all their systems and PCs to Linux; vehicle ownership would not be out of reach for so many. I should send them a Tux t-shirt with my next payment

  • by Spittles (670928) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:26AM (#6663414) Homepage
    Linux mapping out our roads... SCO can probably lay claim to the speed-humps.
  • by slackingme (690217) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:27AM (#6663418) Homepage Journal
    I'm actually one of the guys operating these things (and that suggested Linux in the first place.) It's awesome to see Linux keeping up with its "cheaper, faster, and better" attitude.

    We're so impressed with Linux, we're running one rig at >110 with 2.6.0-test3. We'll save hundreds of thousands of dollars more. It even has 802.11g, as I'm typing this ri--*eerrrrrrrrrr* *sqqqqqueeeeeellll* *BOOM*

    *BANG*

    *CRASH*

  • by quinkin (601839) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:33AM (#6663435)
    The CSIRO system that I assume this is built on top of/based upon has been receiving awards since 1998.

    See here [csiro.au] for details.

    Q.

  • A pity, though (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NaveWeiss (567082) on Monday August 11, 2003 @03:18AM (#6663549) Homepage Journal
    that searching their site for "linux" [vic.gov.au] results in nothing.
  • by stevenp (610846) on Monday August 11, 2003 @03:32AM (#6663582)
    Slashdot [slashdot.org] does regular surveys of the WEB servers in Victoria, Australia and other places, to determine where they need to be patched or otherwise repaired. The method (slashdotting) is simple and reliable and is also known as "brute force", DDOS and "who has more bandwith, you or we?".
  • The revolutionary new pavement defect detecting system has also made waves with its bold choice of transportation. Pavement management services were originally going to use a 1997 Mitsubishi Pajero, however after consulting with the team's driver James Smith, they decided to go with an older model Holden Jackaroo.

    "My experience with Mitsubishis is limited. I have been a Holden driver since 1993 and I have considerable experience driving their vehicles," Smith said. "In any case, I don't think that I woul
  • by B747SP (179471) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Monday August 11, 2003 @04:08AM (#6663649)
    The Australian CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Org.) got together with the NSW RTA (New South Wales (the state just north of Victoria, where this story's system came from) Roads and Traffic Authority) already hopped into bed together to come up with what sounds like, by all accounts, a technically better system...

    The CSIRO's RoadCrack [csiro.au] system is designed to find cracks in the pavement as small as 1mm wide, at 'highway speeds' of up to 105Km/h (65Mph).

    The link doesn't say when this one was built, but it won awards in 1999, and was 'upgraded' in 2001.

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