UK is going to use artificial intelligence to punish drivers who dump trash on the ground
An artificial intelligence system is expected to help authorities in the city of Maidstone, UK, identify and fine drivers who throw garbage on the floor out of their cars windows. The project was approved by the Municipal Council and implemented in early March.
The technology was baptized as “Littercam”, which means garbage cameras, and it is a pun on a garbage can, where the word can is replaced by a camera. The cameras have high-resolution and allow even small objects, such as cigarette butts, to be detected.
Artificial Intelligence ‘LitterCam’ (Image: LitterCam)
When the system notices that something has been thrown to the floor of a car window, it quickly surrounds the parts in question with a red circle. Soon after, a photo of the license plate is captured. After that, the recordings are checked by a team of traffic agents, if the infraction is proven, the driver is fined and receives the notification by mail.
The fines have a very high value, starting at 90 pounds ($124) and can reach up to 120 pounds ($166) in case of late payment. At the moment, Littercams only capture drivers who throw garbage on the ground, and it is not possible to notify pedestrians by means of facial recognition.
In the first month, the amount of garbage collected in Maidstone rose by about 250%, according to officials responsible for the city’s waste collection. This led other English municipalities to consider adopting the idea, as is the case in Sheffield, in the south of England.
The city council, which is the sixth largest in the United Kingdom, is advancing negotiations with the company responsible for developing the system. At first, the technology would be installed only in some parking lots and avenues in the city as a kind of pilot.