Frame for numbers confuse cameras at traffic lights

Original author: Jakob Schiller
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When I read this article, at first it seemed to me, to put it mildly, strange. In their country of completely victorious democracy, some geek is making an absolutely illegal device , from the point of view of our common sense, which not only puts him at the source of increased danger - a car, and what's more - is going to sell it to all North American states. But having walked through the links, it turned out that the reason lies deeper and it’s not even dislocations of American law, bordering on common sense and security, but another decision-making system and a different attitude of citizens - more balanced and responsible.

Erroneous fines for driving to the red light incite more than a dozen thousand drivers. Some of them had to fork out more than $ 500 for a red light ride, but now there was a way to run a wrench in a squeeze machine.

Jonathan Dandrow designed noPhoto to make auto camera photos useless.

The principle of operation of the device

The technology used at noPhoto is relatively simple. At the top of the gadget, very similar to the frame for the number, there is an optical element that detects the flash of a camera mounted at a traffic light. The sensor triggers one or more flashes of xenon lamps mounted at the edges of noPhoto, and when the camera opens its shutter at the traffic light, the photo is flashed. Big Brother can't read your number.

How lovely.

It looks like a prototype assembled in a garage

Two points served as the starting points for creating noPhoto, says Dandrow. On the one hand, he wanted to check whether he really managed to collect something that works. He does not have an engineering background, but he always tinkered and soldered something for a car, and also loved cameras, and at noPhoto he managed to combine both interests.

In addition, he is confident that cameras at traffic lights designed to fix the passage on a red light are a serious violation of the driver’s rights. As Gary Biller, president of the National Association of Motorists recently wrote, in the US News And World Report, traffic light cameras violate “several key principles of civil process rights” because “there is no credible evidence (certifiable witness)”, and therefore “the defense side loses the opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution in court”. In many cities, these cameras are deactivated, but there are still a lot of them.

“I have a lot of objections to cameras,” Dandrow continues, “they are trying to get around the Constitution.”

There is nothing revolutionary about noPhoto itself. You can find radiation detectors in many places like Amazon and B&H Photo. What is unique about her is that she works from a much greater distance - about 150 feet in direct sunlight and even further in the dark.

“Distance was the biggest problem,” says Dandrow.

NoPhoto also has a special scheme that prevents cameras that can produce multiple flashes. In these cameras, says Dandrow, the first flash is a measurement flash and helps set the exposure. If noPhoto responds to a metering flash, the camera can adjust over exposure.
To win this cat and mouse game, noPhoto sequentially increases its power output to make the photo completely indistinguishable.

Of course, there are problems with false positives, when the device can react to other light sources, such as daylight or headlights of oncoming vehicles. To compensate, says Dandrow, noPhoto has a filter circuit that detects the difference between natural light and camera light from a traffic light. “With this technology, we were able to reduce false positives by 90 percent.”

Device in operation

Developed for two years in a garage, noPhoto could soon become a national product. Dandrow says he has a fully functional prototype built with Advantage Electronic Product Development Inc, and the company plans to begin mass production of this device after it is tested and certified. He even ran a massive fundraising campaign on for certification, which he said could cost $ 50,000.

To dispel fears, Dandrow posted a note on the Indiegogo website, which says that noPhoto is completely legal because it doesn’t block the number, and also made a video proving that the frame works at the stated distance.

If everything goes smoothly with the certification process, Dandrow hopes to launch noPhoto on the market in March. He believes that the cost of the device will be about $ 350 dollars, which is equivalent to a red light ticket in many cities.

PS The comments of Americans in the discussion of the article are quite interesting:

Of course, the question immediately arises of respect for other participants in the movement, how such devices will be perceived by the police on the road, and whether they will damage the safety of the movement? Here, opinions are divided, someone believes that the presence of such devices on a car is bad, someone believes that nothing will change.

Other participants rightly note that cameras recording red light passage have long turned into money-making machines. In many American cities, traffic lights are rearranged so that the yellow light, instead of the set 5-6 seconds, only two lights. And this means that a large number of drivers automatically fall into violators. In addition, in the United States, traffic rules, by default, turn right to the red traffic light is allowed, provided that there is no interference to traffic participants crossing the intersection on their green - as if we had a green arrow in the additional section (by the way, it’s based on American experience, there is a discussion about the possible resolution of such a maneuver on Russian roads), which means there is no guarantee that the camera will not record a legitimate maneuver as an offense.

"... I sometimes unfasten my seat belt. Technically, this is a violation of the law, but fortunately most cops are not idiots, and most judges are not punitive. The problem with the cameras is that there is no police officer or judge who can establish extenuating circumstances But then there is a robot that decides whether you have violated the law or not. And I have objections to this. "

"... In Florida, this is not so. Everything is done there to stop all possible appeals, placing cases of such fines in a more stringent time frame and offering a number of incentives to those who, instead of proving innocence in court, dutifully pay fines. I don’t know any a person who would be able to sue the fine issued by the automatic system, and I can’t say that such a practice exists at all. "

"... My wife did not make a complete stop before making a right turn to red (there were no cars around, so she just slowed down and completed the turn) and it cost us $ 500. Then I became interested in this issue and found out that 80% of the city’s income is generated at the expense of California traffic rules, requiring the driver to make a mandatory stop before a right turn into a red light.Fortunately, very few people drive a red light at all, but the fines for a wrong right turn properly enrich the system. "not against traffic light cameras, but only if they are used to fix the passage of red light through the entire intersection."

"... you are innocent until proven guilty. Auto cameras make mistakes due to incorrect settings or system failures. How would you feel if a system that could potentially make a mistake claims you are guilty? And are you guilty of this? She doesn’t even take into account such a provision of the law as public safety. There are absolutely legal and necessary situations on the road that may require you, for example, speeding for a short period. Can the camera correctly evaluate such screens ation? No. "

... “You can be a great driver, but at the same time get into the lens of a camera that fixes the passage on a red light. These cameras not only violate your rights, they often make mistakes. We, citizens, need to oppose the police state. Especially when it intrusively “protects” us from ourselves, motivating this by caring “for our own good”. If these cameras can be used to catch fans of fast driving and driving on red (and I wholeheartedly approve of the police’s efforts to detain such irresponsible drivers), then it won’t take long when the cameras begin recording people who use the God’s right to endanger their lives without wearing a helmet on a motorcycle or without wearing a seat belt.

I am not a damned slave - the state does not own me. If you allow the state to own you, this is your business.

The same goes for car numbers (I believe that I am quite submissive because I have a number on the car). It is a potential cash-raising cow for the government and is * the only * reason for registering cars). The likelihood that you will not be caught, even if a flash is installed on your number frame, is not at all obvious, at least no one has carefully studied this.

I accept this order of things. I am a very cautious and conscientious driver, driving from 30,000 to 40,000 miles a year and have not received a single fine since 1997. I can consider myself a professional. But I am a radical libertarian and there will never be love between me and the establishment.

If you think I'm an uncontrollable gopnik ... well, I'm proud to be one!

And finally, an excerpt from the text at the very first link:

The Oakland City Council Subcommittee postponed the final decision on the red light camera system .

The use of traffic detectors in Auckland in a red light is tested for legality and ethics, after the subcommittee heard reports from the police and special consultants about the effectiveness of these cameras, as well as citizens' complaints about five hundred dollar fines system.

After the townspeople were convinced that the cameras were used to collect money, and not to increase road safety, and after the Auckland police reported the inconclusiveness of the accumulated information about the usefulness of the cameras, four members of the city council from the subcommittee on public safety decided to postpone until February, the decision on the fate of the controversial program is to allow it to continue to exist or to stop it altogether. Currently, the program involves 13 cameras operating at 11 crossroads of the city (about 415 thousand people live in Auckland, California - Pr. Perev). The Council requested more detailed information on the effectiveness of red-light traffic lock cameras in their ability to prevent accidents at Auckland junctions, taken in comparison with other traffic safety strategies, such as

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