How cruelly ironic is it that the UK, home of the world’s most vibrant sportscar cottage industry and some of the most notorious “petrolheads” in Europe, is also the world’s leader in automated ticketing and surveillance? Oh, and before you try to answer, understand that Old Blighty’s Orwellian tendencies have just hit a new high/low. The Telegraph [via Jalopnik] reports that Britain’s Home Office is testing new average speed cameras which combine license number-reading technology with a GPS receiver. In contrast to previous generations of speed cameras, the new system, named SpeedSpike, can calculate average speed between any two points in a network, rather than just in a straight line.
SpeedSpike was developed by PIPS Technology, an American firm with operations in Britain. According to company evidence obtained by the House of Commons and paraphrased by The Telegraph:
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.
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 added. It could also reduce the need for speed humps.
Britain’s Automobile Association calls the system “a natural evolution of the technology that is out there.” We call it creepy. Oh yeah, and cruelly ironic.