THE WRONG TRAP

Police departments, about to adopt a new generation of digital speed traps, could end up paying much more for them than originally budgeted, due to a claim by an American inventor. Most speed traps use radar to detect vehicles' speeds and a video camera with a flash to detect those going too fast. However, drivers can beat these traps by slowing down if they see cameras or are alerted by radar detectors. During the past year, the UK Government has been testing the Speed Violation Detection Deterrent (SVDD), which drivers cannot beat in this way. The SVDD uses digital infrared cameras to photograph all cars passing fixed points like overhead bridges. Cars are identified by optical character recognition (OCR) software that can read their licence plates, and velocity can be calculated from observations at neighbouring sites. The encrypted digital images are deleted if the average speed is within the limit. The originating company, Computer Recognition Systems (CRS), has not patented its SVDD technology. In May 1998, J Moetteli filed for a US patent on a similar idea, where cars' average speeds between checkpoints are calculated and licence plate data are networked. He expects to be granted a European patent soon. A legal battle between CRS and Moetteli seems inevitable; both of them seem confident of winning.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    REED BUSINESS INFORMATION LTD

    151 WARDOUR STREET
    LONDON,   United Kingdom  W1F 4WE
  • Authors:
    • FOX, B
  • Publication Date: 2000-2-5

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 17
  • Serial:
    • NEW SCIENTIST
    • Issue Number: 2224
    • Publisher: REED BUSINESS INFORMATION LTD
    • ISSN: 0262-4079

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00790467
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Apr 11 2000 12:00AM