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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday April 29 2015, @03:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-creepy-at-all dept.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning of a new surveillance technology to look out for alongside drones, automatic license plate readers, facial recognition, IMSI catchers (like Stingray), and Rapid DNA analyzers. It's Xerox's new and improved system for Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection, also known as Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection or Automated Vehicle Occupancy Verification:

For years, government agencies have chased technologies that would make it easier to ensure that vehicles in carpool lanes are actually carrying multiple passengers. Perhaps the only reason these systems haven't garnered much attention is that they haven't been particularly effective or accurate, as UC Berkeley researchers noted in a 2011 report.

Now, an agency in San Diego, Calif. believes it may have found the answer: the Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection system developed by Xerox.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), a government umbrella group that develops transportation and public safety initiatives across the San Diego County region, estimates that 15% of drivers in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes aren't supposed to be there. After coming up short with earlier experimental projects, the agency is now testing a brand new technology to crack down on carpool-lane scofflaws on the I-15 freeway.

Documents obtained by CBS 8 reporter David Gotfredson show that Xerox's system uses two cameras to capture the front and side views of a car's interior. Then "video analytics" and "geometric algorithms" are used to detect whether the seats are occupied.

When the detection system's computer determines a driver is improperly traveling in the carpool lane, the cameras instantly send photos of the car's interior and its license plate to the California Highway Patrol.

In short: the technology is looking at your image, the image of the people you're with, your location, and your license plate. (SANDAG told CBS the systems will not be storing license plate data during the trial phase and the system will, at least for now, automatically redact images of drivers and passengers. Xerox's software, however, allows police the option of using a weaker form of redaction that can be reversed on request.)

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ikanreed on Wednesday April 29 2015, @04:30PM

    by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday April 29 2015, @04:30PM (#176709) Journal

    We're kinda of wired in our brains to detest people who are selfish, even when their net effect on the sustainability of the system is near zero. We don't like unfairness. It's deep in our psyche, and other social primates like chimps and monkeys demonstrate angry reactions to "unfair" situations. Monkeys cite. [] Chimp cite [](And they'll even apparently reject unfairness that benefits them if they think reprisal is likely)

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  • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday April 29 2015, @05:29PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday April 29 2015, @05:29PM (#176741)

    I have an on-ramp near me that I'm not quite sure how to handle. It's going onto a commuter highway and there's one of those really faded diamond paints in one of the two lanes. Is it just really faded and they haven't bothered to repaint it, or did they buff it out on purpose? (People tend to go over to that lane when it gets congested a lot of the time, too.)

    Plus, with only 2 lanes I would think it'd be more efficient to just have them both be normal unrestricted lanes. How many people carpool to work in the morning anyway? We're Americans; we love wasting gas.

    Presumably the reason for carpool lanes is to encourage carpooling, but in this instance it feels like it's pragmatically just causing traffic flow inefficiency.

    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"