An innovative AI camera system recently detected nearly 300 drivers committing traffic offenses over just three days of deployment.
The system identified drivers either using their mobile phones or not wearing seat belts on a main road near Launceston, Cornwall, UK.
Even though the camera system harnesses AI to spot possible offenses, “all images are reviewed by a person,” the Devon and Cornwall Police assured the BBC.
The sophisticated equipment comprises multiple high-resolution cameras with high shutter speeds, infrared flash, and an advanced lensing and filtering system to capture clear snapshots of vehicles in transit.
The AI software automatically classifies offenses from images, and those flagged for violations are anonymized and forwarded to human reviewers. This involves a machine learning (ML) technique known as computer vision (CV).
In 72 hours, the AI camera system revealed:
- 117 instances of mobile phone usage
- 180 seat belt violations
Upon confirmation of the offense, the police issued either a cautionary letter or a notice of intended legal action.
Reflecting on the use of the technology, Adrian Leisk, who heads road safety for Devon and Cornwall Police, remarked: “When we trialled this technology last year, we were disappointed by the number of drivers detected not wearing seatbelts. The early results from our latest deployment show that there is also a problem with mobile phone use behind the wheel, which is both dangerous and illegal.”
Leisk continued, “We are employing this new technology to send a clear message to anyone who continues to use their phone behind the wheel – you will get caught.”
A similar camera system was deployed in 2022
This isn’t the first time UK police forces have deployed AI cameras to catch traffic offenses. In 2022, Vision Zero South West trialed a larger system over a 15-day trial and identified 590 seatbelt and 45 mobile phone violations across Devon and Cornwall.
These AI-equipped cameras recorded 590 instances of people not fastening their seatbelts and detected 40 drivers busy with their mobile phones while driving.
Throughout this designated week, these state-of-the-art cameras, first introduced in September, were positioned at locations across both counties. The cameras recorded an impressive 2,057 speeding violations.
Commenting on the matter, Chief Inspector Ben Asprey expressed that not wearing seatbelts and using mobile phones behind the wheel were “contributory factors in serious injury collision.”
Deploying cameras to detect road crime has even been extended to drug trafficking, where an AI system in the US highlighted a vehicle that had traveled down a suspicious drug highway several times over two years.
Police acted on the AI ‘tip off’ and, lo and behold found drugs in the individual’s vehicle.
AI is extending the long arm of the law, so think twice before you whip your phone out on a drive – AI might be watching you.