Saturday, August 7, 2010

Will the latest "super radar" make driving and traffic more safe?

There's a lot of discussion these days around the latest radar traffic supervision technology coming from Multinova in Switzerland. The new technology is able to track multiple cars (i.e. 18 or more) concurrently and to find out whether one of them is too fast, neglecting a traffic light or a stop sign and probably other mistakes as well. In general these things get cheaper and better in parallel with other technology developments and Moore's law. Soon, you will be able to basically detect any mistake people can make on the road. Nice vision for the future, isn't it. But does it make traffic more safe? Partially it probably does, as speeding can be dangerous, not keeping enough distance to other cars can create accidents as well, neglecting stop signs and traffic lights of course is not good as well. But sometimes it can be more safe to be a bit faster than what is on the signs, for example when you overtake. Sometimes it would be better people would look ahead and observe the traffic than looking for radar cameras. Sometimes speed limits just don't make sense at all. Before we leverage all available technology to observe car drivers, maybe we should think about tolerances and exceptions as well?

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