Geoff Collins, the manager of AI road safety company Acusensus, has welcomed the AA Charitable Trust’s call for the firm’s technology to be rolled out across the UK and noted that this is an important step toward the solution being used operationally, saving lives on the highways.
Acusensus’s technology automatically detects whether people could be illegally using a handheld phone at the wheel. The “heads up” solution, which was pioneered in Australia, uses bespoke roadside cameras and AI-based image analysis to flag up likely violations.
Anonymized images of possible rule-breakers are then sent for human review, to decide if a potential offence has occurred. It has been trialed in dozens of counties across the UK in the past two years, with the first long-term installations introduced in Devon and Cornwall.
In a statement marking 20 years since using handheld phones at the wheel became illegal, the AA Charitable Trust commented: “New cameras, using AI, aimed at catching drivers using their mobile phone behind the wheel are proving successful in police trials so should be rolled out as soon as practical.”
Collins added: ”It is clear that the vast majority of road users feel uncomfortable that other drivers are being distracted by their handheld phones, with feedback from our extensive trials proving this time and again. Having a trusted organization like the AA back our technology will hopefully help decision makers build their business cases to get the cameras keeping an eye on more of our roads.
“For a long time, any enforcement technology has been painted as a war on motorists, when really it’s part of the war on bad driving. The fact that the AA Charitable Trust, on behalf of the AA’s members encourage improved driving behaviors through the use of our technology, shows how accepted it is by the vast majority of responsible drivers in this country,” Collins added.
Edmund King OBE, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said, “The use of handheld phones at the wheel has been illegal for 20 years but it is obvious that more needs to be done so stop this potentially fatal habit. Sophisticated camera technology can help target offenders but more importantly remind the 50% who think they won’t be caught that they might be caught. This will make our roads safer for all.”
Acusensus recently won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its technology, which is also used to spot people in a vehicle who are not wearing a seatbelt.
Image: Devon and Cornwall Police/Acusensus