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Japan's ubiquitous utility poles find new role as AI beacons

From self-driving support to data gatherers, structures seen as new revenue source

An inspector for Kansai Transmission and Distribution scans a utility pole for wear and tear. The collected data is used to forecast when the poles should be refurbished.

OSAKA -- A bus nears an intersection with no traffic signal amid poor visibility, its driver unable to see an oncoming car until it may be too late to avoid a crash.

But the driver has another pair of eyes watching the road from above, like a bird on a wire.

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