The Israeli-made camera making our roads safer

By Candice Krieger, February 16, 2012
Yaniv Alon's RoadMetric records a variety of serious traffic offences

Yaniv Alon's RoadMetric records a variety of serious traffic offences

Many of the world's most serious traffic-law violations are difficult to enforce says computer expert Yaniv Alon. And so the 36 year-old, who specialises in algorithms, has established a company devoted to doing so.

RoadMetric has developed a video-enforcement system for recording violations from tailgating to illegal passing, drifting inbetween lanes and not yielding right-of-way to pedestrians and other vehicles.

Mr Yaniv says: "Our goal is to make the roads safer. When it comes to traffic-law enforcement there hasn't been much innovation over the past 20 years. We want to improve this."

The Israeli start-up installs discreet cameras in traffic-police vehicles. They can not be seen from outside.

The camera's video technology spot and record a variety of offences that Mr Yaniv says are traditionally complicated and expensive to detect. "There are many violations that the police can't enforce because they don't have the tools to do so. Speeding and going over red lights are easy to detect without investing too much money but other serious violations are not.

"Our system provides clear video evidence which may come in useful if a case goes to court."

Mr Yaniv, who used to work for vehicle-safety technology company Mobileye, believes the system will be beneficial to local authorities and governments as a more effective and profitable way of enforcing traffic laws. According to sources typical enforcement systems catch an average of one violation per hour. RoadMetric's system claims to catch between eight and 25.

With a masters in computer sciences from the Hebrew University, Mr Alon is an expert in computer vision.

He has been working on the RoadMetric system since 2007. Around $500,000 has been invested - comprising his savings and salary as a computer consultant. He also secured a start-up grant from the Israeli government.

The system is now ready for sale and Mr Yaniv has been in touch with the Israeli government about its implementation. He also hopes to raise $500,000 to expand internationally.

The automated traffic-law-enforcement-systems industry is valued at around $800 million. Mr Alon identifies Britain as a huge potential market. "The UK government has invested a lot of effort in traffic-safety technology and they have succeeded in reducing the fatality rate by close to 50 per cent over the past ten years. To further improve traffic safety new technology is needed."

According to recent reports traffic accidents in the US and Europe are the leading cause of death for those aged between three and 25.

"Effective and up-to-date enforcement is key to reducing dangerous driving behaviours, preventing accidents and saving lives," says Mr Alon.

Last updated: 11:57am, February 16 2012