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New Speed Cameras Trap Motorists From Space

April 26, 2010

LONDON – A new type of speed cameras that can use satellites to measure average speed over long distances is being tested in Britain, reported the Telegraph newspaper.

The cameras, which combine number plate-reading technology with a global positioning satellite receiver, are similar to those used in roadworks. The new system is expected to cover a network of streets as opposed to a straight line, according to the Telegraph.

Britain’s Home Office is testing the cameras at two sites: Southwark, London, and on the A374 roadway between Antony and Torpoint in Cornwall.  The “SpeedSpike” system, which calculates average speed between any two points in the network, has been developed by PIPS Technology Ltd, an American-owned company with a base in Hampshire, UK.

Details of the trials are contained in a House of Commons report. The company said in its evidence that the cameras enabled “number plate capture in all weather conditions, 24 hours a day”. It also referred to the system's “low cost” and ease of installation, reported the Telegraph.

The system could be used for “main road enforcement for congestion reduction and speed enforcement,” and could help to “eliminate rat-runs” and cut speeds outside schools. It could also reduce the need for speed humps.

The development of speed cameras has raised concerns about expanding state surveillance. The Home Office told the Telegraph it was unable to comment on the trials because of “commercial confidentiality.”


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