‘Super camera’ will transform traffic surveillance

New camera technology is set to enhance police traffic surveillance by
detecting multiple offences at the same time. As well as catching
speeding motorists, the equipment will also be able to pick out drivers
who are not wearing seatbelts, recognise cars with out-of-date tax discs
and no insurance and accurately measure distances between vehicles to
identify tailgating, as well as calculating road surface conditions and
traffic emissions.

Nov 11, 2010
By Paul Jacques

New camera technology is set to enhance police traffic surveillance by detecting multiple offences at the same time. As well as catching speeding motorists, the equipment will also be able to pick out drivers who are not wearing seatbelts, recognise cars with out-of-date tax discs and no insurance and accurately measure distances between vehicles to identify tailgating, as well as calculating road surface conditions and traffic emissions.

It will be connected to police computers via satellite, so that prosecutions can be started within seconds of any offence.

Funded by the European commission, the ASSET (Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport) equipment is currently being developed by researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

It is part of an EU project aimed at improving traffic safety and reducing accidents caused by traffic violations. The technical test phase will continue until the end of next year, after which part of the equipment will be ready for production.

The equipment, based on automatic camera surveillance and wireless network connection, is currently being tested on a mobile trailer unit.

The monitoring information is gathered into a common database available to the police, road operators and environmental authorities. A pilot system has been launched in the Finnish city of Tampere to enable police to test the equipment.

The aim is to develop the test equipment to match police requirements as closely as possible. The database is strictly protected by firewalls and technical solutions and the equipment automatically destroys images over one month old and those in which no traffic violation is evident.

After the test phase, the surveillance technology will be transferred from the test trailer to police vehicles. VTT estimates that the technology will be ready for full roll-out in 2013.

The total budget for the ASSET project is 8.2 million euro. There are a total of four test sites, the other three being located in Germany, France and Austria.

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