A new system that detects the number of passengers in a car has been successfully trialled by Xerox, raising hopes it could be used to encourage carpooling.
The Vehicle Passenger Detection System (VPDS) has been undergoing tests on the French-Swiss border at Jougne/Vallorbe. Xerox says accuracy in detecting the number of passengers in each vehicle was upwards of 95 per cent, with over 97 per cent accuracy in detecting if a single driver was behind the wheel.
“The Jougne pilot has proved that the Xerox system, the most accurate automated device on the market, is now ready for us to launch it in Europe,” said Jean-Charles Caulier, sales director, International Public Sector, Xerox.
“The system can be used on a large scale to avoid organisations having to manually monitor lanes reserved for carpooling.”
VPDS, which has already been tested in North America, uses two cameras to take pictures of the front and side of the car. Patented computer vision techniques and geometric algorithms distinguish between empty and occupied seats. According to Xerox, the system complies with data protection law through non-reversible blurring techniques that prevent personal identification.
The pilot was conducted in conjunction with the French Centre for Studies and Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility, and Urban and Country planning (Cerema) and the Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing (DREAL). It was discovered that in the peak morning rush hour, 85 per cent of vehicles had no passengers, 12 per cent had one passenger, and fewer than 3 per cent had two or more passengers.
“The Xerox Vehicle Passenger Detection System’s automated counting capability and high level of accuracy remove a significant barrier to the introduction of carpooling initiatives and HOV lanes, giving transport authorities a valuable tool to help them take action to reduce congestion,” said Hervé Fagard, department head, DREAL Franche-Comté.
“The pilot results give the authorities the necessary data to inform any initiative they may consider to reduce congestion.”