Police Use Advanced AI and Drones to Catch Speeding Drivers, Sparking Concerns

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  • UK police deploying AI-enabled cameras and drones to catch multiple traffic offenses, signaling the end of traditional speed cameras.
  • New tech can detect speeding, seatbelt violations, and even in-car noise levels, but it raises questions about privacy and surveillance.
  • Despite advancements, human oversight is still required for confirming offenses as the debate over balancing safety and privacy continues.

As technology advances, police forces across the UK are embracing high-tech solutions to catch speeding drivers. Gary Digva, founder of Road Angel, warned that the development and adoption of AI-powered devices are increasing rapidly. Existing speed cameras are expected to be phased out and replaced by smarter, more advanced technology that can identify multiple traffic offenses, not just speeding. 

“These new high-tech forms of speed cameras will not only lead to more violations being identified but will also discourage drivers from committing such offenses due to the increased risk of being caught,” said Digva.

Stealth cameras and Bi-directional traps

Recent trials in Devon and Cornwall have demonstrated the effectiveness of these new technologies. Stealth speed cameras capable of detecting motorists in both directions were installed on routes with a history of collisions and speeding incidents. Within just two weeks, 3,280 drivers received tickets, with one camera activated around 120 times daily. These cameras are expected to be rolled out nationally.

Drones in the Sky to be the unseen watchers

The police are not just sticking to fixed cameras; they are also taking to the skies. Drones have been trialed to capture dangerous driving and speeding in hotspot locations. The tests have been so successful that further investment in drone technology seems imminent. 

“The increasing use of drones may mean that drivers are unaware they are being monitored,” Digva warned.

Beyond speeding and the multi-offense cameras

What sets these AI-enabled cameras apart is their ability to detect a range of offenses. New devices installed on Devon’s busiest roads caught 117 people using their mobile phones and 130 people not wearing seat belts just three days after deployment. These cameras can also check the car’s noise level, potentially flagging distractions like loud music.

Scrutiny and oversight

AI-powered cameras still require human intervention to confirm offenses despite their advanced capabilities. Photos taken are reviewed by AI software, and any evidence is then forwarded to the police for manual confirmation. Police also can review MOT, tax, and insurance status, allowing for swift identification and arrest of dangerous or stolen vehicles.

A divided opinion

While these technological advancements are a step toward reducing collisions and injuries on the road, they raise concerns about privacy and potential misuse. 

“It’s vital that motorists know the speed limit at all times and are aware of how fast they are going to stay safe and avoid penalties,” Digva concluded, highlighting the dilemma that as technology evolves, so too does the debate on how best to balance safety and privacy.

Experts predict that as this new breed of technology evolves, it may become even more advanced, potentially detecting distractions like loud music within cars or other nuanced driving offenses. 

As the lines between safety and surveillance blur, it’s clear that this topic will continue to ignite debate. What is certain, however, is that the days of traditional speed cameras are numbered, making way for a new era of high-tech traffic enforcement.

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Editah Patrick

Editah is a versatile fintech analyst with a deep understanding of blockchain domains. As much as technology fascinates her, she finds the intersection of both technology and finance mind-blowing. Her particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids her audience.

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