Have you ever driven in the carpool lane when you were actually by yourself? It happens all the time, because violators are rarely caught. That's why San Diego is testing out a new technology that can take photos inside of your vehicle.
The San Diego Association of Governments, (SANDAG), a government umbrella group that develops transportation and public safety initiatives across the San Diego County region, is trying out new technology developed by Xerox called the Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection system. It works by capturing video of the front and side of a car to determine if there are passengers inside. If it determines you shouldn't be in the carpool lane, the system will send photos of your license plate and the inside of your car to the police.
Xerox claims that the systems have a 95-99% accuracy rate, even with vehicles traveling as quickly as 100 mph. That represents a significant leap in capabilities compared to the 14-20% accuracy recorded by similar technology tested by SANDAG four years earlier.
That success rate may sound impressive. But when you consider the millions of cars traveling on freeways, just a 5% error rate could unfairly subject many thousands of drivers to traffic stops just to prove that they are eligible to use the carpool lanes. Plus there is the huge question of what happens to all those millions of photos.