Industry

Acoustic cameras rolled out in Paris

Paris has begun trials of acoustic cameras in a bid to cut down on noisy vehicles, The UK government may follow suit

VISORDOWN first reported on acoustic cameras in June this year, as the British government stated they would be trialling the devices in some parts of the country.

The idea is to cut down on late night and early morning noise that can cause disturbance to people living in France’s capital, Paris. They are being tested in Villeneuve-le-Roi, a town next to Paris Orly airport, and will link the sound recordings to police CCTV cameras. When a vehicle is deemed to have broken the noise level set by the French authorities, the system will automatically issue tickets to offenders.

How do acoustic cameras work?

Firstly, the new tech is not a camera at all, it is, in fact, a small array of microphones that is hung from a lamppost or other road-side structure. The microphones are linked to the city-wide CCTV network, enabling the authorities to pinpoint the vehicle at fault and issue the fine.

They pick up the location of the car by using three unidirectional microphones and one large omnidirectional microphone hanging in the centre of the array. The microphones record the ambient noise on the street, with the three microphones set at angles helping to triangulate the origin of the noise. The system then relays this information to the CCTV network, which highlights the vehicle at fault by imprinting a series of dots behind the vehicle that has breach the noise level.

Didier Gonzalez, Villeneuve-le-Roi, said: “Noise is the bane of modern life and a major health issue. It hurts people like secondary smoking does,”. The draft law, expected to be voted on this autumn, will allow local authorities to experiment with systems to record and fine riders who exceed noise limits. France already has legislation limiting vehicle noise, but it is hard to enforce as it relies on police catching offenders individually.

“We have nothing against Ferraris or Harley Davidsons, but their owners sometimes like to demonstrate their vehicles’ power and the noise really troubles residents,” he continued.

With the trial of Operation Crackdown in South Hampshire as part of the Safer Roads Partnership (should probably be Quieter Roads Partnership) and that area of the UK getting a mention in the Govt’s preliminary report – it seems likely this will be one of the areas of the UK to see physical tests of the devices.

Have you seen an acoustic camera on your travels? Snap a picture is so and send it to us!

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