TOM GREENWOOD

Good and bad traffic-related ideas from abroad

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Just a couple of interesting car-related stories from two of America’s best pals, Australia and England.

It seems that Australia — home to nearly all the world’s poisonous snakes, bird-eating spiders, great white sharks, baby-eating dingos, 4,000-pound crocodiles, searing heat, box jellyfish, cone snails, Vegemite and Russel Crowe — is having a problem with its kangaroos.

It seems that the ’roos are always crashing into cars, which explains why so many Aussie vehicles are equipped with hardcore bumpers.

Australian drivers do their best to avoid the weak-minded beasties but they’re still racking up thousands of hopper hits a year. To that end, Volvo is experimenting with radar sensors, cameras and computers that can detect cars, cyclists, pedestrians and kangaroos.

According to reports, the system can automatically take evasive action in .05 seconds as opposed to 1.2 seconds for a human.

So why should we be interested in such technology here in Michigan? Because we average about 50,000 car/deer collisions a year resulting in deaths, injuries and over $120 million in damages.

Let us now travel to England, the land that made Australia a favorite travel destination for English convicts starting in 1788.

The University of Leeds just won a $6.5 million grant to develop three kinds of infrastructure drones to maintain roads and sewer and utility pipes.

According to the grant, one type of drone would perch like a bird and would repair high structures such as streetlights.

Another drone would patrol streets for potholes, filling them as it hovers along.

The third type of drone would rove around inside sewer and utility pipes, making repairs as needed.

Initial thoughts: Yes to the kangaroo technology because it makes sense and the technology is already here (hey, we have cars now that can parallel park themselves).

No to the drones due to oh, so many reasons, including: short battery life, opposition by unions worried about losing jobs, inability to carry loads of asphalt plus scrap metal thieves would be harvesting them with butterfly nets.

Finally, thanks to the good folks at Jalopnik for these reports.

tgreenwood@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2023

I-75: In Auburn Hills, NB and SB will have two lanes closed from M-59 to M-24 from 5 a.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday.

I-75: In Detroit, the NB and SB ramps to WB I-94 will be closed from 9 tonight until 6 p.m. Sunday.

I-75: In Detroit, the NB and SB ramps from Schaefer to Springwells will have the two right lanes closed from 8 tonight until 5 a.m. Monday.

I-75: In Auburn Hills, the SB ramp to University Drive will be closed from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday.

I-75: In Auburn Hills, the WB University Drive ramp to NB I-75 will be 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday.

I-375: In Detroit, the freeway will be closed SB from Larned to Jefferson for a parade from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Saturday. Additionally EB and WB Jefferson will be closed from St. Antoine to Washington for the same time period.

M-150 (Rochester Road): In Rochester Hills NB and SB will have one lane closed from M-59 to Avon from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday.

Additionally, there will be one lane closed from M-59 to Olde Towne to Tienken for the same time period.

M-10 (Lodge Freeway): In Detroit, the two left lanes of NB will be closed from I-94 to Meyers from 9 tonight until 9 p.m. Saturday.

M-153: In Detroit, the NB and SB ramps to EB I-94 will be closed for bridge repairs from 9 tonight until 6 p.m. Sunday.

Shook Road: The bridge over the Clinton-Harrison Drain has been closed to traffic until further notice while plans are made for its replacement in spring/summer 2016.