Beijing is cracking down on honking with new acoustic camera systems

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Beijing

The “acoustic camera” system consists of a 32-microphone array, a high-definition camera, a display screen, a flash, and a processing system.

Honking can be justified in some situations but more often than not it is used to vent frustration. The car horn is a tool for drivers to alert each other to danger or to your presence. The problem is, people use the horn for unnecessary reasons which causes noise pollution. One city that’s had enough of the honking is Beijing. Beijing has a new camera system that can alert authorities and locate the source. This would presumably allow the authorities to determine if the honk was legitimate or not.

The “acoustic camera” system consists of a 32-microphone array, a high-definition camera, a display screen, a flash and a processing system. Once a car honks, the microphones zero in on the source of the sound. The camera will then capture the image of the car’s license plate and film a two-second video. It happens almost instantaneously. Police officers can then use the data to determine whether the driver honked their horn under reasonable circumstances. If not, the offender gets a ticket from the authorities.

Interestingly enough, honking your horn is illegal in Beijing and drivers can be fined with a $16USD fine. This new camera system is an effort for Beijing to not only enforce that law but also determine good honks from bad. Officials say the camera system did have some issues discerning the car horns from other ambient noise but the kinks have been worked out. They now claim the system has a 92-95% accuracy rate and claim they’ve already been able to lower the amount of honking by two-thirds.

“Noise pollution is a huge issue, and about 40% of environmental complaints received by the government are related to noise pollution,” Wei says. “This device can be used to regulate noise pollution too.”

The camera system.

It’s an interesting law and an interesting way to enforce it. I’m not so sure how well this would go over in other countries and cities but Beijing seems determined to squash the honking.

What do you think of Bejing’s new acoustic cameras? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Ink Stone News
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