A new and advanced speed camera capable of recording up to five different offenses at a time from the same motorist, may soon find its way on European roads. Besides speeding, the ASSET (Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport) camera can also detect drivers who don't wear their seatbelts and tailgate, as well as identify owners who haven't paid car related taxes and don't have insurance by scanning their vehicle's license plate.
The development of ASSET began in 2008 and is due to end next year. It's currently being tested at VTT Technical Research Center in Finland and could be implemented in most EU states, including the UK, as early as 2013.
"The main intention is to support traffic police to supervise that the drivers follow traffic rules such as wearing seat belts, preventing over-speeding and maintaining sufficient distance to the front vehicle. This of course is beneficial for road safety" said Matti Kutila, senior research scientist at the Finnish institution.
British motoring organizations and campaigners cautiously welcomed the ASSET. They do acknowledge the dangers of tailgating, for instance, but fear that the new camera could be used by the authorities as a moneymaking machine.
They also argue that many traffic incidents are not clear-cut cases in order to be judged by computers, so by no means should police officers be replaced by cameras.
By Csaba Daradics
Source: Guardian , Photos: VTT