Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Would you take responsibility?

We engineers are a proud bunch; we like to tell the world what we’ve done. In fact I envy the guy who tells his family over dinner how he’s developing a new medical device to save lives, or perhaps to help the blind see. But what of our brethren who develop new machines for killing, or more prosaically, the parking meter? Do they enjoy telling folks how they spend their weekly 40 hours plus?

How about the folks who develop machine vision systems for traffic enforcement? Are they proud of their red light violation systems and speeding detectors? After all, those are vision systems that we love to hate. But in fairness, the goal of such technology is to save lives rather than raise revenue (isn’t it?) so we ought to appreciate the efforts of those who work in this field. And indeed, there’s some interesting work going on that we machine vision professionals should know about.

Here’s a great example: Allied Vision Technologies (AVT) have a press release on their web site about how their cameras are being used in a stereo speed limit enforcement system. (“Caught on Camera”, September 13th, 2010.)

The system, developed by Italian traffic control company Kria, uses stereo to overcome the limitations of existing speed monitoring systems, such as dealing with multiple lanes of traffic, and is very clever indeed. (Check out their web site for examples.) But do we want machine vision used this way? I know it’s all for the greater good, but pity the poor machine vision engineer who gets his speeding ticket via a camera system that he developed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The goal of such technology is to save lives rather than raise revenue (isn’t it?" .... or sp they say.
If yu want to find out more about the use of Kria technology, check this out: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2672.asp