Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Satellite Based Speed Camera 'Traps'

England is testing out speed cameras based on satellites. The system appears to work by noting the location of a vehicle at two different times, and does calculations to see if the vehicle could have gotten as far as it did without breaking the speed limits. Moving past privacy concerns, which are a serious issue, it would be more useful in enforcing speed limits. Instead of people speeding along, then slowing down when they know a cop is around (there are various things which do alert people to the presence of traps) and then speeding up again; this would force people to drive within the limit the entire time. There seems to be an obvious problem though. If they are not constantly tracking the car, how could they tell the difference if it was speeding around in a circle or driving normal speed. It also requires 'perfect timing'. If it should take you five minutes to get home, you speed and get there in three, but the camera registers your car every ten minutes, it would be unable to tell that you sped home.


"A new type of speed cameras which can use satellites to measure average speed over long distances are being tested in Britain.
The `SpeedSpike’ system, which calculates average speed between any two points in the network, has been developed by PIPS Technology Ltd, an American-owned company with a base in Hampshire.

Details of the trials are contained in a House of Commons report. The company said in its evidence that the cameras enabled "number plate capture in all weather conditions, 24 hours a day". It also referred to the system's "low cost" and ease of installation.

The system could be used for "main road enforcement for congestion reduction and speed enforcement", and could help to "eliminate rat-runs" and cut speeds outside schools, it added. It could also reduce the need for speed humps.

The development of speed cameras has raised concerns about expanding state surveillance.

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