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Speeding Ticket Robots — Laws As Algorithms 400

An anonymous reader writes "As the age of autonomous cars and drone surveillance draws nearer, it's reasonable to expect government to increasingly automate enforcement of traffic laws. We already deal with red light cameras, speed limit cameras, and special lane cameras. But they aren't widespread, and there are a host of problems with them. Now, Ars reports on a group of academics who are attempting to solve the problem of converting simple laws to machine-readable code. They found that when the human filter was removed from the system, results became unreasonable very quickly. For example, if you aren't shy about going 5 mph over the limit, you'll likely break the law dozens of times during an hour of city driving. On the freeway, you might break it continuously for an hour. But it's highly unlikely you'd get more than one ticket for either transgression. Not so with computers (PDF): 'An automated system, however, could maintain a continuous flow of samples based on driving behavior and thus issue tickets accordingly. This level of resolution is not possible in manual law enforcement. In our experiment, the programmers were faced with the choice of how to treat many continuous samples all showing speeding behavior. Should each instance of speeding (e.g. a single sample) be treated as a separate offense, or should all consecutive speeding samples be treated as a single offense? Should the duration of time exceeding the speed limit be considered in the severity of the offense?' One of the academics said, 'When you're talking about automated enforcement, all of the enforcement has to be put in before implementation of the law—you have to be able to predict different circumstances.'"
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Speeding Ticket Robots — Laws As Algorithms

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  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Longjmp ( 632577 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @05:30PM (#43406419)
    Just visit the UK, your favorite 1984 country.
    Last time I visited (been a while though) they had automated cams on highways, capturing your license plate (with timestamp). At the next surveillance point, next cam recognizes your plate again.
    If distance / (time2 - time1) exceeds speed limit, voila, ticket.
  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @05:40PM (#43406545) Homepage Journal

    That's not his point.

    His point was exactly what he stated - that we all, individually, break many laws on a daily basis, often unknowingly, and no one dies as a result. The proportion of speeding offenses vs deaths caused by excessive speed is just icing on the cake.

    Case in point: ever discuss a broadcasted sporting event in a public place, without express written consent of the sporting organization and broadcasting network? If you said 'yes,' then you've broken the law, even though it has harmed not a soul.

    I'm pretty sure that's what AC was getting at.

  • Re:1984 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @07:19PM (#43407379)

    Hundreds of dollars is peanuts. Look to e.g. Finland, Norway and Switzerland for real fines. The largest so far is about $200,000. They're based on fraction of your income, with minimums. Norway, where I'm from, does 10% of your income plus 18 days in prison for excessive speeding, with excessive being defined as more than 20 km/h (12mph) over the speed limit.

  • by kwbauer ( 1677400 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @07:46PM (#43407559)

    And there were studies that showed reducing the speed limit to 55 caused more accidents in certain parts of the country and that raising them back to 65 and higher didn't cause an increase.

Disks travel in packs.