You're On Candid Hit And Run Camera!

from the useful-stuff dept

My sister’s car recently was hit by another car while it was parked. Whoever hit her car simple drove off, leaving her to fix the damage herself. Obviously, this happens way too often, and some students in Canada finally decided that something could be done about it. After one of their cars was vandalized, they created a new car alarm that would snap a photo to try to capture whoever was responsible — and then immediately send an MMS with the photo to the owner’s mobile phone. With camera and sensor technology getting cheaper all the time, this becomes much more feasible (in fact, the motion sensors they used apparently came out of a toy from a cereal box). Of course, what’s not clear is how the cameras (there are two of them) would be placed in order to make sure it captures the culprit. Also, this was only a prototype solution designed for the students, rather than anything they’re going to build for real, but it seems likely that similar commercial solutions probably aren’t that far behind.

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Comments on “You're On Candid Hit And Run Camera!”

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M Morrison says:

You're On Candid Hit And Run Camera!

I remember seeing a presentation at a local university conference last year about a similar system that ran on a 2-minute long continous recording loop, with 4 cameras mounted front, rear and both sides of a car.
This system was designed for finding out, in the event of an accident, which car was responsible for the accident. The system was hooked up to the crash sensors used for the airbags, so that the recording would stop about 30 seconds after the crash happened – thus leaving 90 seconds of video before the accident (and some afterwards) to ascertain what happened.

mole says:

Re: easy to catch the culprit

i think the point is to have this on the car itself. itd be easy to monitor a car in a more permanent parking space. but parked on a random city street? you cant set up the cameras surrounding the car on the street itself. a self contained monitoring system is what is being discussed. someone correct me if i’m wrong

Anonymous Coward says:

automated sentry

interestingly, there was a story on Slashdot about an automated sentry bot that was built by students using off-the-shelf components and an air-soft gun… why couldn’t something similar be done here? Have the sentry activated by the alarm and the sentry probes a 360* viewing field multiple times taking pictures of anything moving in the area. With cheap components, this shouldn’t be too tough.

todd says:

No Subject Given

You don’t need motion sensors — just an algorithm to detect motion from a stream of pictures (this is used in several inexpensive web cam software packages).

So mount 4 cmos cameras, front/back/side/side, all sending 640×480 5 fps pics to a PC w/ HD in the car.

When you are in traffic, it is storing every frame; when you are parked, it records only occasional bursts of movement (more if you’re on a city street); at night, it records next to nothing.

This would be very valuable for accidents, reporting “road rage”, and yes, hit-and-run damange in parking lots.

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