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Describes a method for distinguishing the types of forward objects detected on and alongside the road using a vehicle-mounted scanning laser radar (SLR) and a camera. This method can measure the distance to a preceding vehicle in the same lane as well as to other forward vehicles in adjacent lanes. Objects are detected on the basis of SLR digital signal data and are categorized as vehicles, delineators, and signs based on their motion and positions relative to white lane markers. The motions of detected objects are judged by the relationship between the path of the host vehicle and changes in the positions of the objects. The host vehicle's path is computed using steering maneuver data and the vehicle velocity. White lane markers are detected by an image processing technique. The proposed algorithm has been validated in an experiment conducted with a simulator. Data recorded at a driving speed of more than 40 km/h on Japanese expressways were used in the simulation. The types of objects detected on the road were successfully distinguished as expected.