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FightBack Forums _ News / Press Articles _ mobile-use detecting road sign

Posted by: iwt Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:53
Post #1397672

So apparently it can detect mobile phone use, and whether it's being used via Bluetooth.
And yet they didn't fit a camera to take and record photos to be used as evidence. Just lights a crossed-out-smartphone sign.
Anyone would think they had no confidence in the technology...

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/crime/new-weapon-against-drivers-using-mobile-phones-launched-in-norfolk-1-5598640

Posted by: The Rookie Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:50
Post #1397746

I can imagine lots of locals driving past with their passenger on the phone to trigger a hit.

Sounds like it’s set up as either a scare tactic or just to decide where to have a manned operation. The easiest way is to cycle past a queu of traffic at a set of lights, I pass at least 1 on the phone every day and I only have to queue for one set of lights!

Posted by: Churchmouse Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 00:03
Post #1397780

QUOTE (iwt @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:53) *
So apparently it can detect mobile phone use, and whether it's being used via Bluetooth.
And yet they didn't fit a camera to take and record photos to be used as evidence. Just lights a crossed-out-smartphone sign.
Anyone would think they had no confidence in the technology...

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/crime/new-weapon-against-drivers-using-mobile-phones-launched-in-norfolk-1-5598640

The strangest thing is that no one involved in the creation of that story (from the reporter to the council to the company) seems to have the faintest clue why the “cutting-edge technology” is totally effing useless. They can't all be doing it for the money, surely?

--Churchmouse

Posted by: cp8759 Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 13:27
Post #1397953

Well I hope they've got special authorisation from the DfT (FOI request is in). If they don't, the council has a very strict policy stating that all non-authorised signs are deemed to be an obstruction of the highway and they will be removed.

Posted by: notmeatloaf Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 13:54
Post #1397964

QUOTE
We are not currently connecting the system with enforcement, but we plan to work towards that.

This system is without doubt ahead of the game. The strength of vehicle-activated LED signs is that they identify the offender and only trigger when they’re necessary. The warning will be obvious and will stand out.

What a bunch of muppets.

Do they not realise for the last five years most users have always on data on their phone? And I guess the connection to my bluetooth watch will be a perfect foil for their enforcement plans.

Combined with the fact they've produced a sign which is incredibly unintuitive, tiny, and just to help it settle in the council have put above a sign pointing to a rendez-vous point... well, they must have someone capable on conning the council big time. Or a decent sized brown envelope.

Posted by: DancingDad Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 14:35
Post #1397983

QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 14:54) *
........Do they not realise for the last five years most users have always on data on their phone? And I guess the connection to my bluetooth watch will be a perfect foil for their enforcement plans.
………...


The article does say that it can differentiate between types of call and whether Bluetooth is in use.
Quite how it does that is outside of my expertise but is there some difference between signals in voice, text or data that a quick driveby sensor could recognise?
And feasibly could compare outgoing signal to Bluetooth signal.
Quite how they differentiate between passenger making a phone call and driver or kids in the back on their phones is another question.


Was up in the Wirral a few weeks back and saw large blue signs with phone icon and "zero tolerance" wording.
Came round corner to find a speed camera van less then 30 yards from corner.
Which struck me as a strange place as it was where traffic would slow or stop for oncoming island anyway.
But would have been perfect for photos of drivers with phones in their hands/up to their ears.
Probably a bit of paranoia and as was neither speeding or using my phone, nothing came through post.

Posted by: KH_ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 16:20
Post #1398010

When I drove trucks I would have set it off every time I passed. If it classes bluetooth as a possible 'talking' communication.
I had a bluetooth receiver and AUX cable running to a dash socket connected to the radio and played podcasts.

If it detects things as voices over bluetooth it would confuse it on that count.

If you're wondering why I didn't just plug the headphone socket into the AUX in, paranoia always meant neither my phone nor my work phone were reachable by me while driving. Both safely tucked away in a storage cupboard above the passenger side windscreen.

Posted by: Redivi Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 20:03
Post #1398043

The sign would be more effective as a deterrent if it flashed up the registration number of the vehicle

Posted by: The Rookie Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 20:10
Post #1398044

QUOTE (KH_ @ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 17:20) *
When I drove trucks I would have set it off every time I passed. If it classes bluetooth as a possible 'talking' communication.
I had a bluetooth receiver and AUX cable running to a dash socket connected to the radio and played podcasts.

you may want to read the article again as you’ve got completely the wrong end of the stick!

Posted by: notmeatloaf Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 21:36
Post #1398063

QUOTE (DancingDad @ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 15:35) *
The article does say that it can differentiate between types of call and whether Bluetooth is in use.
Quite how it does that is outside of my expertise but is there some difference between signals in voice, text or data that a quick driveby sensor could recognise?
And feasibly could compare outgoing signal to Bluetooth signal.
Quite how they differentiate between passenger making a phone call and driver or kids in the back on their phones is another question.

It's quite possible to pick up mobile phone signals. The challenge they'd have is that they'd either need to get your IMSI number (the way a mobile phone mast identifies your phone) to separate out different phones, which would almost certainly be too bulky and expensive (the sign would be worth nicking).

Or more likely they just have a directional receiver. Again in theory you could separate out call and data, but realistically there would be so much chatter from other mobile phones it would be like trying to pick out one blackbird from a knackered tape of lots of blackbirds.

More likely they are full of cr*p and have got something that most of the time can pick out a car with a mobile phone approaching it. Then they realised if they marketed it people would point out it is legal to talk on bluetooth. Bluetooth is much more difficult to pick up, it only reaches about 10m again without getting onto expensive tech. So they just lied about it because it's unlikely anyone would ever test them on it.

The bullsh*t is obvious when they start talking about enforcement because there is already a 100% effective, court ready piece of tech - a video camera with a zoom. In fact, I could knock up a programme in a couple of hours that reviewed video and picked out drivers on the phone. Easier and cheaper than a speed camera. Not able to tell if you are making an emergency call of course. But neither can this nonsense sign they will scam councils with.

I get angry because the NHS gets scammed by this sort of stuff all the time, tech approved by clinicians who have no idea that although it is technically possible - the £50k piece of kit downstairs does it very accurately - it isn't possible to do the same for £5k in this little box you can wheel around. But it's only £5k so they buy it anyway because it appears to work. Mostly. Other then that first time they tried to demo it.

Posted by: Raxiel Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 14:33
Post #1398320

QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 22:36) *
...
More likely they are full of cr*p and have got something that most of the time can pick out a car with a mobile phone approaching it. Then they realised if they marketed it people would point out it is legal to talk on bluetooth. Bluetooth is much more difficult to pick up, it only reaches about 10m again without getting onto expensive tech. So they just lied about it because it's unlikely anyone would ever test them on it....

Perhaps the sign will be able to tell if you have a TV licence too!

Posted by: notmeatloaf Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 20:27
Post #1398461

QUOTE (Raxiel @ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 - 15:33) *
Perhaps the sign will be able to tell if you have a TV licence too!

A prime example where the technology is possible, but it's much cheaper to bullsh*t.

Posted by: The Rookie Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 09:59
Post #1398571

Also down under it seems!
https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/hitech/drivers-using-mobile-phones-could-be-fined-without-even-knowing-theyve-been-caught/news-story/ecb141e8552b39560f7f395802e447d7

Posted by: Fredd Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 10:46
Post #1398587

I don't see anything in that article that implies they're using magic unicorn technology, rather than simply cameras, though?

Posted by: The Rookie Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 11:07
Post #1398589

Should have gone to specsavers?

QUOTE
A hi-tech camera which can detect people using their mobile phones while driving was trialled in Melbourne


QUOTE
“Line-of-site, by trained officers is the primary method of detection, however, long-ranged cameras have been used with success, and helmet cameras in motorcycle police continue to be used,” the spokesman said.

But that technology could soon be replaced by stationary cameras that automatically issue an infringement notice without the driver even realising they’ve been sprung
(my bold)

QUOTE
A red-light style camera capable of photographing drivers illegally using their mobile phones was trialled in Melbourne, Victoria last year. The technology — touted as a world first — detected 272 culprits during a five-hour test across just one lane of the Eastern Freeway

Posted by: Fredd Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 11:23
Post #1398594

Perhaps you're the one who should consider Specsavers. Only one of those examples implies anything other than a camera, and that one's not an attributed quote but is presumably just the jouno's simplistic description of the prosecution process - there's no mention of any technology that can independently detect mobile phone use.

Posted by: The Rookie Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 11:44
Post #1398607

The camera is still used to capture the alleged offence so your use of 'anything other than a camera' is a bit misleading in my mind. But its clear to me at least from the article and some of the photos to me its not a manual system they are discussing.

Perhaps you could explain which of those 2 you think isn't describing a technology based solution (rather than a man pointing a camera) so I can understand why you think it is just talking about a camera.

Posted by: Fredd Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 12:17
Post #1398620

Who said anything about a man pointing a camera? Your first and third examples are actually talking about the same Melbourne trial. All it would take is one (or more, to get different angles) cameras set up above the traffic lane to look through the windscreen into vehicles' interiors as they pass. Then all you need is a means of triggering the camera/grabbing the frame when a vehicle's in the frame, just like an ordinary automatic speed camera - no magic technology, or person at the roadside, required.

As I've explained, your second example is just the reporter's take on things, so there's no point trying to parse that.

Posted by: The Rookie Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 12:26
Post #1398624

QUOTE (Fredd @ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 13:17) *
Who said anything about a man pointing a camera? Your first and third examples are actually talking about the same Melbourne trial. All it would take is one (or more, to get different angles) cameras set up above the traffic lane to look through the windscreen into vehicles' interiors as they pass. Then all you need is a means of triggering the camera/grabbing the frame when a vehicle's in the frame, just like an ordinary automatic speed camera - no magic technology, or person at the roadside, required.

Well the technology would be only taking a photo when a mobile is use, otherwise its little different to a man pointing a camera if you have to toil through every photo to see if it shows an offence or not. While it may mean they are doing that the strong implication (and its a newspaper article so being definitive in any respect is unlikely) is that its not. In addition there are other articles referring to NSW along those veins.

Posted by: Fredd Fri, 13 Jul 2018 - 13:14
Post #1398637

Why wouldn't at least one of the people they asked have come out and said it if that was the case? Personally I prefer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor - particularly since governments have form in bigging up their enforcement technology to put the frighteners on (TV detector vans, anybody?).

Posted by: Incandescent Sun, 15 Jul 2018 - 11:31
Post #1399156

This does sound a bit like a wind-up. Mobile phones are continuously transmitting and receiving on the control channels so the mobile can be tracked around and any text messages or emails sent out. Extensive use of multiplexing both TDM and FDM is used to create over 2000 channels per cell and control, data, and voice channels are all handled using this multiplexing. It is impossible to determine whether a person is actually using a phone just from the signals. My own mobile phone receives emails and messages whilst I'm driving along and I get a chime to tell me. What can, of course, be done, is to detect the signal and then take a photo as the vehicle approaches. The photo would then be the proof or not of use during driving. However, if a photo is taken for every passing vehicle with a phone, then somebody will have to be employed going through all the photos to pick out the illegal use. I can't see the police doing this very often, frankly.

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