Is it positive that there are surveillance cameras at traffic lights? Is that any use? Do helicopters that photograph and monitor the speed of drivers reduce the number of incidents on the roads? These issues and others on road safety in the following lines.
For a few years, one of the applications for artificial intelligence has been road safety. It is no secret that every day hundreds of people suffer accidents that could have been avoided.
That’s why our cars are getting smarter. From sensors that detect when the driver is tired and can get out of the lane to the Autopilot from companies like Tesla. Unfortunately, these technologies are not available to everyone, and therefore, governments of different countries have opted for the use of road safety cameras with artificial intelligence to sanction drivers who use their mobile while at the wheel.
Using your mobile while driving, a dangerous practice
The use of mobile phones while driving is a dangerous practice and is prohibited in the vast majority of countries. Despite the fact that its use involves large fines and the withdrawal of points on the card, it remains one of the biggest causes of accidents in our country.
In Spain since 2017 there are more than 300 cameras that use AI to detect if drivers of vehicles wear seat belts. Each image captured by these cameras is reviewed by computer vision software capable of determining whether the driver and co-driver are using the seat belt or whether they are using their mobile phone. In the case of detecting a positive it is automatically sent to the complaints treatment center. Sometimes both the cameras and the software are unable to detect whether the belt is on or not (especially when the occupants of the vehicle wear a dark garment). For this reason, all photos are checked “manually” by authorized personnel before being sent as evidence to the provincial traffic headquarters.
Smart cameras with infrared flash for fewer traffic accidents
A few months ago the Australian government announced that it was carrying out the installation of a similar camera system for the detection of drivers who use their mobile while driving. To detect offenders, several intelligent cameras with infrared flash have been installed, capable of detecting violations of this type effectively, regardless of the time of day, the brightness on the road and the weather. The infrared sensors are so accurate that they are able to detect if a user is using the mobile, even if the car travels up to 300 km / h. The Australian government announced that, in the trial period in which only two of these advanced cameras with artificial intelligence were used, up to 8.5 million vehicles were analyzed, of which 100,000 carried a driver who used the mobile. Certainly a worrying fact.
As in Spain, in this new system sanctions are not applied automatically after the cameras detect a positive. The images are analyzed by qualified personnel and then passed to court where a judge dictates the sanction that will reach the user.
The operation of these cameras is very simple. They take a picture of all the vehicles on the road, then the AI analyzes the image in search of patterns that may indicate that the user has the phone in hand and selects it to begin the corresponding administrative process.
Although these cameras do not have 100% efficiency, their software is improving and it is very possible that in the future it will not be necessary for a team to check the images before they are made available to the authorities. This system, in addition to being effective, is much cheaper than the use of helicopters and other resources to detect violations of this type. And thus have fewer traffic accidents.