Mysterious black box stumps Aussie motorists - here's what it's for

It's been dubbed a 'robot overlord' but the structure is designed to make your life easier.

A large black box installed on the side of a busy Sydney road has left drivers confused over what it is, but the NSW Government has confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that it's part of a world-first trial.

"What is this?" one resident asked on Reddit, sharing an image of the huge device at Moorebank in the city's southwest. In the image, the shiny black contraption is sitting on grass beside a footpath, with what appears to be several cameras on top.

"I've been driving past this one for months wondering what it was for," a fellow motorist responded. While some suggested it could be a speed camera operating off-grid or a solar power box, others joked that the device is "your new robot overlord" and likened it to the Daleks from Doctor Who, who infamously shout "Exterminate! Exterminate!".

Roadside black box structure
New roadside structures have baffled Aussie motorists for months. Source: Reddit

Device to speed up home deliveries

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a spokesperson for Transport for NSW confirmed that the government is installing a number of machine learning traffic counting and classifying cameras across the state as part of a world-first trial to speed up home deliveries.

"Images of heavy vehicles are taken by the cameras which then classify the type of vehicle in transit and the type of cargo being transported," the spokesperson said. "This information will allow for better route and access planning and identification of trends along key corridors in NSW to help reduce congestion, ensuring goods are delivered sooner and more efficiently."

The cameras will also help authorities improve their understanding of freight movements and inform access decisions in a bid to support supply chain decisions, trends of vehicle configurations and network usage across the state.

The machine learning camera in Moorebank is just one of 43 that have been installed at 17 key freight points across NSW, including Gundegai, Newcastle, Muswellbrook, Narrandera, Narrabri and three in Tocumwal. The state government is planning on adding more of the devices to its arsenal throughout 2023 and 2024 depending on funding.

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