Oh. So you’re “carpooling?” Xerox just wants to be sure…

Our nation’s highways can feel safer and more breathable, thanks to Xerox.

As gaga as a lot of people are for urban planning and easing traffic congestion on our nation’s highways, I’m pretty sure most of those so affected are less pleased to usher in another of Big Brother’s snooping machines. Yet here we are, in 2014, with Xerox out selling our nation’s highway administrators on what you might call a “Carpool Nanny.”

Yes, somewhere along the way, The Document Imaging Company has become the Traffic Violation Documenting Company. A few years ago, Xerox announced plans to put cameras on school buses. Now, they’re excited to get cameras on highways to monitor the carpooling lane:

Unlike competing solutions, the Vehicle Passenger Detection System identifies the number of occupants in a vehicle with better than 95 percent accuracy at speeds ranging from stop-and-go to 100 mph.

Using patented video analytics and geometric algorithms the roadside detection unit can distinguish between empty and occupied seats. When a violation is detected, the information can be reported to the relevant enforcement agency in real time so an officer can visually confirm the information and potentially issue a citation.

Generous of them to include an actual officer of the law. Or a fig leaf, because who thinks carpool tickets wouldn’t become as ubiquitously automated as red light tickets?

Either way, the “patented video analytics and geometric algorithms” will no doubt come in handy when law enforcement needs to identify an individual in the car, somewhere down the line. The Xerox carpool camera makes snooping inside your vehicle commonplace and soon, a hum-drum old story. A camera is a camera.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.