Response to recent press reports
about smartphone app that claims to
gather evidence of speeding
Police forensic video analysis experts have responded with concern to recent publicity about a new smartphone app that claims to gather evidence of speeding.
The SpeedCam Anywhere app claims to allow pedestrians to use their smartphones to gather evidence of speeding vehicles.
It takes a short video clip of a passing vehicle which is uploaded to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) server. It claims that the server can ‘measure the vehicle speed from the video, check vehicle speeds against speed limits, and provide a report showing evidence of the vehicle speed, as well as generating road safety reports and identifying speeding hotspots.’
But Road Safety Support, which provides expert forensic video analysis to multiple UK police forces and has helped to bring a number of motorists to justice for dangerous driving and speeding, has expressed concern over the app’s capabilities.
Forensic Engineer, Steve Callaghan, Head of Road Safety Support’s ISO 17025 accredited speed calibration laboratory, said: “We think that this concept is based on what is, in part, a sound principle, however we feel that before any approval is given to it or it is used by the police, that a proof-of-concept test is performed to demonstrate the system and its capabilities.
“Currently, there is an apparent gap between the technology and the law. The speed calculation needs to be proven on every occasion because of the way the application assumes that the unknown mobile telephone it is used on is working correctly.
“From my understanding of the measurement technique and the intended deployment on multiple phones, Home Office Type Approval would be challenging.”
Road Safety Support is a not-for-profit company committed to reducing deaths and injuries on the roads through the effective use of accurate and reliable road traffic enforcement technology.
The company’s ISO 17025 accredited speed calibration laboratory, thought to the only one of its kind worldwide, has been approved by UKAS to test and calibrate speed cameras, speedometers, telematics and other speed measurement devices, either at its test track or on any road in the world.
The vast majority of UK police forces, highway authorities and safer roads partnerships, as well as some international forces, are members of Road Safety Support and receive specialist technical and legal advice on a subscription basis.
Road Safety Support chairman, Meredydd Hughes, added: “New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence offer great potential for increasing road safety through wider enforcement, as well as for more active traffic management generally. For the public to accept that prosecutions are fair, they need to know that the equipment is accurate and being used correctly.
"The Home Office Type Approval (HOTA) process acts as this guarantee to the public. Now, in the same way that e-scooters are providing a challenge to the existing rules and regulations of road use, the introduction of new technology is challenging enforcement standards.
"Additionally, the growing use of cameras by ordinary members of the public to record offences and refer them to their local police is great news, but the police need more capacity and the skills to deal with this material effectively and ensure that prosecutions are based on accurate evidence.
"We at Road Safety Support are helping by offering training and support to forces to deal with this material. As a recognised laboratory, we are best placed to both enable forces to make greater use of technology, and to ensure that the highest scientific standards are in place to protect the law-abiding motorist”.