Speeding Ticket Robots To Cite Autonomous Cars?

Could you write a program to issue speeding tickets automatically? And if you did, what factors would be used to mitigate autonomous law enforcement, if any? Academics from West Point and Samford University in Alabama assigned it as a problem to student programmers, asking them to go beyond the parameters for an automatic ticketing device at intersections (which already exists).

These programmers were provided with real-world driving data extracted from the on-board computer of a commuter's automobile (a late model Toyota Prius) and a second dataset providing manually-constructed, but realistically-derived, speed limit information. Given this data, the first group was asked to implement “the letter of the law” and issue traffic citations accordingly (the datasets are available online). The second group was asked given an additional, carefully-crafted, written specification from which to base their software implementation. Both a computer scientist and an attorney reviewed this specification for accuracy. The specification was also verbally briefed to the third group to further clarify the requirements. The programmers had two weeks to complete the assignment.

The widely-varying interpretations by reasonable programmers demonstrate the human filter (or "bias") that goes into the drafting of the enforcement code. Once drafted, the code is unbiased in its execution, but bias is encoded into the system. This bias can vary widely unless the appropriate legislative or law enforcement body takes extra precautions, such as drafting a software specification and performing rigorous testing.

An automated system, however, could maintain a continuous flow of samples based on driving behavior and thus issue tickets accordingly. This level of resolution is not possible in manual law enforcement. In our experiment, the programmers were faced with the choice of how to treat many continuous samples all showing speeding behavior. Should each instance of speeding (e.g. a single sample) be treated as a separate offense, or should all consecutive speeding samples be treated as a single offense? Should the duration of time exceeding the speed limit be considered in the severity of the offense?

In the fine tradition of academia, their paper resulted in more questions than answers, of course, particularly in terms of the societal cost of automated law enforcement when involving artificially-intelligent robotic systems unmediated by human judgment.

However, modern-day academics must take a back seat to science fiction writers on this issue. In his excellent 1941 novella Old Fireball, Golden Age sf great Nat Schachner describes a dashboard device that could automatically issue you a ticket right in your car:

Kerry looked obediently at the little oblong screen above the dashboard. On it, flashing neatly, was imprinted a summons for violation of the traffic laws. The photoelectric eyes at each crossing had clocked the gyro's speed. As it passed the legal limit, the automatic mechanism recorded the offender's license, sent out the impulses that printed the summons in the offender's cab.
(Read more about the automatic speeding fine)

In John Jacob Astor's 1894 story A Journey in Other Worlds, there is a reference to instantaneous Kodaks which could be placed on a road for speed control.

The policemen on duty also have instantaneous kodaks mounted on tripods, which show the position of any carriage at half-and quarter-second intervals, by which it is easy to ascertain the exact speed, should the officers be unable to judge it by the eye; so there is no danger of a vehicle's speed exceeding that allowed in the section in which it happens to be; neither can a slow one remain on the fast lines.
(Read more about the instantaneous Kodaks)

Via An Experiment in the Law as Algorithm (pdf) and Ars Technica.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/10/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up....' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Nanotech Used To Create Custom Water Filters In Tanzania
'People started out squeamish about Clearsacs...'- Paolo Bacigalupi, 2015.

Google Project Soli - Control Devices With A Gesture
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched...'- Philip K. Dick, 1955.

NASA's Subvocal Speech System
'She took a subvocal input device from its rack...'- David Brin, 1990.


  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

Tesla Promises Fully Autonomous Cars By 2018
'It's been a criminal offense for at least a hundred years to drive manually on a public highway.'

Light Molecules (And Maybe Light Sabers, Someday)
'It will be matter, matter made of light...'

Telepresence In The Office
'That led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely... under direct control.'

Piper, Google's 2 Billion Line Code Repository, Needs A Cool Display
'The student pointed a finger and as he did so, the line of equations marched down the wall...'

WEpod Driverless Vehicle On The Netherlands Roads
'The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering.'

Computer Predicts Psychosis Better Than Psychiatrists
'The mechanism which was the portable extension of Dr. Smile...'

Robot Evolution Needs Mass Extinction Events
'It was small, one of the baby ones.'

Lab-Grown Kidneys Implanted Successfully - In Animals
'For a while your colonists will have to come up to the Hospital to get treatment with the ramrobot symbiots...'

Korean Lab Ready To Clone Your Dog
Man's best friend, cloned.

DARPA NeuroTech Hand With Natural Sensation
'Take care, sir.'

Nuke Mars To Terraform It, Says Elon Musk
'... Mars could not be made habitable without first being stocked with air and water...'

Texas-Sized Ice Slab Found On Mars
'That's okay, still ice in The Rock and a miner expects to sound for it...'

Invisible Drones Will (Not) Appear Over Your Town
'Light-waves are bent around it without loss or distortion.'

Transwheel Drone Robotic Delivery Vehicle
One good single-wheel delivery concept deserves another.

Cool Chaac Ha Dew Collector Video
'The surface condenses moisture out of the air...'

NASA Turns To Museum Space Shuttles For Parts
Tropes true to life.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.