Winter will be here before you know it and the plows will be out again clearing the roads and laying down salt so that we can get where we need to go safely. That takes a lot of salt and the Maine DOT is testing a new technology that will automatically measure how much they have in the sheds.

They're currently running a trial of a LIDAR system that will take scheduled measurements of the amount of salt in DOT sheds to make it easier to know exactly how much is left.

LIDAR is a combination of the words laser and radar. Where radar uses radio waves to detect objects and their distance and speed, LIDAR uses a laser system to create a 3D image that a computer can then measure.

The system makes it a lot easier to inventory the exact amount of salt in the shed rather than just eyeballing it, allowing the Maine DOT to order the exact amount of salt they need.

This is a free trial, but if the system proves itself worthy it could be installed in the future.