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D.C. Commuters to be Scanned With Infrared Cameras

samzenpus posted about 7 years ago | from the seeing-what's-real dept.

Privacy 452

owlgorithm writes "Washington, D.C. area commuters are going to be "scanned like groceries at the supermarket" in order to catch single-occupant vehicles who are illegally using carpool lanes. The article, from the Washington Post, says that infrared cameras capable of detecting human skin will be installed, rather than the visible-spectrum cameras in use today. So much for using dummies in the front seat."

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Wait... (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 7 years ago | (#20846147)

A local municipal government agency, using technology to solve a problem, as part of its charge to the public?

O, the humanity!

Re:Wait... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846443)

Ah, what a lovely idea. So now I can use those HOV lanes by myself, when I get the ticket bring a "witness" to court who will claim they were in the back seat, and get off free and generate bad publicity for "automated enforcement". Sounds like a win-win.

Racist! (-1, Troll)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 7 years ago | (#20846167)

What about Muslim women and skeletons!?

Behead those who insult Islam (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846233)

Behead those who insult Islam [Picture] []

London protesters: 'Behead those who insult prophet'

Placards calling for anyone who insults the prophet Mohammed to be beheaded have been waved during an angry protest outside the Danish Embassy in London.

Hundreds of Muslims gathered there yelled anti-British chants to protest against the recent publication of cartoons satirising the prophet Mohammed.

They met after Friday prayers outside Regent's Park mosque in central London and marched through the streets towards the Danish embassy on Sloane Street.

Scores of them brandished angry placards, one declaring: "Free speech go to hell."

They chanted religious slogans in Arabic, paying homage to Allah and the prophet.

Among those protesting was 26-year-old Bushra Varakat, a student from Egham, Surrey. She said: "This is our prophet, he did a lot of things for humankind, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

"We don't know why these silly people use these cartoons unless they were showing how much they hate us.

"We have to defend our prophet otherwise Allah will punish us. We will not accept this ridicule."

Ms Varakat said Muslims respected Christian figures such as Jesus and Moses and believed that they were also prophets.

But, she said, Mohammed was the last prophet and therefore the most important to Muslims.

She said the European media who had published the pictures knew how much it would upset the Muslim community.

More seriously, what about children? (5, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | about 7 years ago | (#20846405)

I've used the HOV lane into DC with a child in an infant seat behind me. The camera isn't going to spot that.

Am I going to have to get sworn affidavits stating the child was with me? Should I take photos on my journey? Are HOV lanes 18+ now?

More seriously, that's not what HOV lanes are for. (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 7 years ago | (#20846617)

Yes, yes, I know, they don't really specify... ...but hopefully you realize the idea and spirit of HOV lanes is for carpool, multiple passenger commuter, busses, passenger vans, and similar applications, and not someone who happens to be toting a child in an infant seat. :-/

(How did the parent get modded "Insightful"?)

Re:More seriously, that's not what HOV lanes are f (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 7 years ago | (#20846657)

Are you saying, then, that a parent and child don't qualify for "two or more people" in the car? When did minors stop being people?

Re:More seriously, that's not what HOV lanes are f (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846681)

You have got to be fucking kidding me if you're telling me you're taking a car off the road by sharing yours with a kid. Unless the minimum driving age is lower in DC than I thought?

Which is the point of HOV lanes. Incentive to take cars off the road.

Re:More seriously, that's not what HOV lanes are f (3, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 7 years ago | (#20846691)

I'm saying, then, that the idea and spirit of HOV lanes is for carpool, multiple passenger commuter, busses, passenger vans, and similar applications, and not someone who happens to be toting a child in an infant seat.

I hope this clears things up.

And to be serious, I don't know what the specific law is in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC, for HOV/HOT lanes. But the idea, purpose, and principle is what I said above, not for someone to be able to get somewhere faster or more conveniently because they have a child with them.

Re:More seriously, that's not what HOV lanes are f (1)

Joe U (443617) | about 7 years ago | (#20846735)

But the idea, purpose, and principle is what I said above, not for someone to be able to get somewhere faster or more conveniently because they have a child with them.

It's a public service, it stops the parents from ramming the other cars while stuck in traffic.

Re:More seriously, that's not what HOV lanes are f (1)

magarity (164372) | about 7 years ago | (#20846769)

I'm saying, then, that the idea and spirit of HOV lanes
Yeah, except that in a nation of lawyers the idea and spirit mean practically nothing and its the literal word and even exact punctuation that mean the most. Just take the interstate commerce clause and the 14th amendment as starting examples.

Hmm (5, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | about 7 years ago | (#20846785) []
Do children and infants count as passengers?
Yes. All states with HOV facilities count children and infants as passengers.

Why do children count as passengers in the HOV lane?
The main law governing HOV lane use is WAC 468-510-010. This law merely states "occupants." HOVs may therefore include passengers who are not licensed drivers. These can include senior citizens, people with disabilities, and children as well as other people who do not, or can not, obtain a drivers license for various reasons.

HOVs with non-licensed passengers do not always help to remove cars from traffic. However, one of the Department's considerations in determining HOV eligibility policy is the degree to which the policy will be enforceable by the State Patrol. It can already be challenging to accurately determine how many occupants are in a vehicle. It would be much more difficult, and more expensive, to additionally be required to determine occupant age or licensing status. Another consideration is that carpools are sometimes driven by parents or caretakers who transport groups of children to activities. This does keep additional vehicles off the road. []

Why are people with children allowed to use the HOV lane?
HOV policies everywhere have allowed children to be counted as occupants of a carpool to meet the necessary occupancy requirement. While children may not be of driving age, there are two major reasons that we allow people with children to use the HOV lane: school and day care responsibilities and the idea of educating our children regarding ridesharing. Often, it is difficult to drop kids off at day care, drive to a park-and-ride, catch the bus, and get to work on time. Allowing parents to bring their kids along with them in the carpool, or on the bus, gives them an opportunity to use the HOV lane. This also keeps enforcing the lane very simple: two or more people per car.

Re:More seriously, that's not what HOV lanes are f (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846771)

Do you work for the government or are you just a long-term union employee?

In other words, yes, technically you're right. You will have a strong legal argument. But you're missing the point/spirit/intent of HOV lanes. You are *not* part of the solution, though technically you're still entitled to your HOV access.

Re:More seriously, what about children? (2, Insightful)

Nirvelli (851945) | about 7 years ago | (#20846737)

I've always heard that HOV lanes are for 2 or more licensed drivers.
I mean, the point is to reduce congestion/pollution by limiting the number of cars on the road, and the benefit of the lane is the incentive to ride with somebody else instead of driving your own car by yourself.
As unlicensed drivers (children, etc.) aren't going to be driving by themselves anyways, it wouldn't make sense to allow them to qualify you for the commuter lane.

Interesting (5, Funny)

wasted (94866) | about 7 years ago | (#20846171)

From the summary:

So much for using dummies in the front seat.

If we get rid of dummies in the front seat, half of the cars on my way to work would be driverless.

Re:Interesting (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | about 7 years ago | (#20846285)

Only half the cars will be empty?

Re:Interesting (1)

spungebob (239871) | about 7 years ago | (#20846523)

Yep. The rest will merely be driverless...

Re:Interesting (4, Funny)

Duhavid (677874) | about 7 years ago | (#20846767)

The other half will have crashed already.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | about 7 years ago | (#20846361)

Um how about heated dummies?

Re:Interesting (2, Funny)

goldspider (445116) | about 7 years ago | (#20846389)

"So much for using dummies in the front seat."

I thought they used all of those up filling seats on the city council.

Set the dummy on fire (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#20846407)

or just apply some thermo-electric pads plugged into the car. Lots of IR then.

Re:Interesting (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | about 7 years ago | (#20846505)

See, I was thinking of something more along the lines of, "It's DC. Most of the dummies ride in the *back* seats." :-)

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | about 7 years ago | (#20846625)

So much for using dummies in the front seat
In Jakarta you just pay an unemployed person standing on the sidewalk $1 to ride with you to work. At certain times single occupant cars aren't even allowed on the road. The dude then gets another $1 to ride back with someone else. There's queues of these people waiting at highway entrances waiting to get a $1 to ride with you.

Big Brother (2, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | about 7 years ago | (#20846175)

is watching you...

Remember, the ultimate goal of these politicians is to have such a dizzying array of laws that they can arrest anyone at any time and always have a "legitimate" reason.

Cameras only help them.

Yes (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846205)

Any use of technology MUST be a part of Big Brother, and is NEVER used for s legitimate task, even if it could have applications.

It's all about 1984, baby.

Re:Big Brother (2, Interesting)

MikeJ9919 (48520) | about 7 years ago | (#20846351)

Oh please...this has nothing to do with government's desire for power...this is about the government's desire for money. It's just like red light cameras, parking meters that reset when you drive away (instead of mechanical meters that continue to run and let someone else piggyback), etc. Yes, the desire for money is intimately related to the desire for power, but it is not the same. Yes, all the technologies I've mentioned have desirable secondary effects (reducing commuter congestion, injuries at intersections, and clearing parking spaces), but mostly it's about governments getting more money to spread around (sometimes into their own pockets in the form of better salary and benefits, and frequently to their constituents in the form of pork barrel spending so they'll be happier and re-elect them.)

Re:Big Brother (1, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | about 7 years ago | (#20846433)

Money IS power. You even admit that in the last sentence.

Re:Big Brother (4, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | about 7 years ago | (#20846669)

As someone who has commuted in DC, I welcome this. Nothing chapped my ass more than watching a douche take the HOV all on his lonesome. He didn't earn it, he can sit in shit with the rest of us.

Re:Big Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846783)

How is an infrared camera worse then a visible light camera system they were using before? If anything it seems like it would be *less* likely to be able to be tied to personal data since you can't really make out faces...

Solution to Privacy Concerns (3, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#20846183)

1 - Have a machine vision backend analyze images coming back from cameras, picking out "guilty" cars along with their plates. Discard other data.
2 - Ensure that the code used for this vision system is open to public scrutiny.
3 - Catch the crooks, and the regular folk don't even get recorded to a hard drive at any point.
4 - ???
5 - You know the rest...

Re:Solution to Privacy Concerns (4, Insightful)

KillerCow (213458) | about 7 years ago | (#20846335)

1 - ...Discard other data.

They won't.

2 - to public scrutiny.

It won't.

3 - ...don't even get recorded to a hard drive at any point.

It will.

The problem with this stuff is that there is a constant erosion or privacy. Every step is just one more little thing. What's the big deal about "a" when they are already doing b,c,d,e, and f. And once "a" is gone, you never get it back because the people already accepted giving it up. When people say "we don't have to worry about losing x because people would never accept it" ... well ... I don't think that the forefathers ever thought that people would give up habius corpus, or require national IDs to get into federal parks.

Re:Solution to Privacy Concerns (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 7 years ago | (#20846529)

1 - ...Discard other data.

They won't.
Don't you mean they can't?

If they throw out the image of you driving solo, what tangible proof do they have for a Judge that it wasn't a computer screwup?

Re:Solution to Privacy Concerns (1)

grommit (97148) | about 7 years ago | (#20846777)

They most certainly can, and should discard the data that isn't relevant to a ticket. That's the point of the post. The municipality should discard the pictures of drivers with more than one person in a vehicle but they probably won't.

Re:Solution to Privacy Concerns (1)

saterdaies (842986) | about 7 years ago | (#20846387)

I've always been worried that heat-images of myself might be displayed to the public. Nothing is scarier than images that can identify me as well as a silhouette.

Re:Solution to Privacy Concerns (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 7 years ago | (#20846713)

Good plan, citizen. Since we're using your taxes to fund this, we want to be sure to make the most use of it; why waste it on just checking front passengers? So, we'll see what other low-cost data analysis we can do with the images as well. Hard drive storage is so cheap these days, we might as well log all the data. Who knows what crimes this will help solve? Thank you for your feedback.

you can still use a dummy (0)

Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) | about 7 years ago | (#20846187)

1. attend random funeral 2. come back late at night, dig up corpse and skin it 3. glue skin to your blow-up doll 4. ??? 5. profit! note: steps 1 and 2 can be replaced with doing the job yourself - "it puts the lotion on it's skin"

Re:you can still use a dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846245)


Re:you can still use a dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846537)

Or you could just stuff the corpse and set it up on the passenger's seat []

The Feds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846195)

Y.T. is not impressed.

I envision... (1)

Ossifer (703813) | about 7 years ago | (#20846199)

... new dummies on the market that can be plugged in to your cigarette lighter...

Re:I envision... (3, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 7 years ago | (#20846237)

Put a dog in the front seat. And shave him.

Re:I envision... (0, Flamebait)

Dzimas (547818) | about 7 years ago | (#20846495)

Would Britney Spears do?

Re:I envision... (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | about 7 years ago | (#20846325)

Forget that. I can heat my inflatable dummies my own damn self. It's called friction. And radiant heat from warm deposits.

Youngsters these days and their high-tech solutions. Yeesh.

Re:I envision... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 years ago | (#20846451)

That won't work. Human beings have a rather unique IR signature that is very easily distinguishable from other heat sources.

Re:I envision... (4, Insightful)

Cecil (37810) | about 7 years ago | (#20846543)

Human beings have a rather unique IR signature that is very easily distinguishable from other heat sources.

Human beings also have a rather unique ability to find creative ways to beat challenges like that.

So thermal heat packs.... (1)

bagboy (630125) | about 7 years ago | (#20846201)

placed strategically on the dummies will not fool the infrared cameras.... Shucks.....

Re:So thermal heat packs.... (0)

tloh (451585) | about 7 years ago | (#20846465)

Hmmm... I remember scrotum sacks are cooler than the rest of the human body, but what about breasts? Oh wait, nevermind - I just remembered that this is slashdot.

Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846207)

Now all those people driving too slow will get toasted.


An opportunity for an enterprising person (1)

brobak (683932) | about 7 years ago | (#20846209)

1) Switch from visual spectrum to infra-red cameras on HOV lanes
2) Invent dummy that can be plugged in to the lighter socket in the car that heats up in a realistic way to fool infra-red cameras
3) Profit!!

Dibs on :)

Day labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846219)

The answer is simple: Just stop by your local Home Depot first...

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846221)

I knew I kept those dead bodies in the freezer for a reason...

Re:Hmm... (5, Funny)

Jello B. (950817) | about 7 years ago | (#20846375)

No, no, no. You're going about this the wrong way. You've gotta put yourself in the freezer so it looks like nobody's driving. Then they can't give you a ticket, because according to the cameras, you don't exist.

Actually, confusing the camera is a good plan. (4, Interesting)

CFD339 (795926) | about 7 years ago | (#20846747)

Think about how you'd write the code for the machine. Your job is to count -- you have to find at least two distinct signatures. If you find more than one that is distinct, you ignore that car. If you find less than one, what do you do? Probably you consider this a detection error. A thermally reflective glass coating would work. I'd bet a heat pack hand warmer on the dashboard would do it too.

If it were me, I'd try a thermal hand warmer pack on the dashboard by the passenger seat; and maybe one each on a string in the back seat about where heads would be for back seat passengers.

Remember, glass is transparent in the visual spectrum, but can be opaque in the infrared. I know this from using Thermal Imaging Cameras in houses that are on fire. A big living room window can look just like a wall -- or even a mirror -- through the screen of a TIC depending on what outside temperature. You can see the shape of a person on the TIC when what you're looking at is a porcelain shower stall. Your own heat is being reflected back at you.

I'd almost bet some money... (3, Informative)

UncleTogie (1004853) | about 7 years ago | (#20846227)

...that a few things will happen:

1. Burqa-wearing folk will have a field day.

2. Some ninny will don tin-foil to jack with the system. He/she will later collapse from heat.


3. Some enterprising yob will try to create a heated, moving dummy. This will culminate in a video shot on the news: "Flaming Car Of Doom in a HOV lane near at 11!"

Re:I'd almost bet some money... (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 7 years ago | (#20846329)

1. Burqa-wearing folk will have a field day.

They might. I don't think fabric blocks that much IR. A person wearing full-body clothing would still be warmer than a mannequin.

Re:I'd almost bet some money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846353)

Quite funny. It should be noted this is Virginia that will be doing this (first) and not DC itself. (The Capitol Beltway does not run through any part of the District of Columbia.)

I don't mind the automated way of catching cheaters. In some ways I wish they would implement the camera on the normal "HOV" lane to ferret out those who cheat. Not that I'm in favor of a George Orwell 1984 society, but it is sickening to watch those who drive illegally get where they want to go - faster - and get away with it.

Say yes to dummies (1)

nerdacus (1161321) | about 7 years ago | (#20846253)

So much for using dummies in the front seat

Yeah, now we have to use warm dummies. What a hassle.

Re:Say yes to dummies (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 7 years ago | (#20846279)

This story must be tagged 'warmdummies'. Really. Go do it now!!

Dummies (1)

jmv (93421) | about 7 years ago | (#20846277)

So much for using dummies in the front seat.

Of course. Now, you'll have heated dummies.

I shouldn't know so much about these (3, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 7 years ago | (#20846299)

infrared cameras capable of detecting human skin will be installed, rather than the visible-spectrum cameras in use today. So much for using dummies in the front seat.
Silicone rubber can withstand over 400 degrees of heat. You can soak REALDOLL in a hot bath, or put her under an electric blanket to give it lifelike body heat. [] REALDOLL's silicone flesh retains heat very efficiently.

Re:I shouldn't know so much about these (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846413)

I remember a few epic threads on an unmentionable website about that very subject. It devolved into a debate about the relative merits of normal masturbation versus using a real doll. A quote I remember went something like, "When you buy one of those, you're pretty much making the statement that you'll never have a real girlfriend."

Also fleshlights.

Re:I shouldn't know so much about these (1)

waferhead (557795) | about 7 years ago | (#20846559)

IR reflecting film for the whole windshield?

Is there any on the market that's transparent enough in the visible spectrum?

(If they can't see the driver either, it'll be hard to prove a ticket)

obligatory Simpsons knockoff (1)

notshannon (704145) | about 7 years ago | (#20846317)

I, for one, welcome our new heat seeking overlords.

the real reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846327)

the "Terminator" was created.

Detects skin? (2, Funny)

conteXXt (249905) | about 7 years ago | (#20846359)

Hannibal Lecter: "Why do you think he removes their skins, Agent Starling?"

Head Whacking Stupidity (1, Troll)

blueZhift (652272) | about 7 years ago | (#20846363)

This is just plain ridiculous! Is carpool lane cheating such an earthshaking problem that there is a need to employ high tech imaging technology to catch the cheaters? Oh please, there will always be some asshats who will cheat any system put in place. It isn't a big deal. I'd rather be employing technology to solve real problems like disease, and famine.

Re:Head Whacking Stupidity (1)

kimble3 (736268) | about 7 years ago | (#20846479)

It's not the problem of catching cheaters that they are trying to solve. The issue is that the toll lanes are being funded by partnering with a private company that will operate the lanes using a SpeedPass like system. The toll lanes will be free for cars with more than one persons but single driver cars will pay a fee per mile. Now there are not going to be any toll gates so in order for the whole thing to work, they have to come up with some way to tell the HOV cars from the single drivers. The real debate centers around the fact that the private operators don't have a proven system to tell the HOV cars from single driver cars. It's a kind of build it and they will come type of situation which is pretty controversial considering the state wants to grant partial ownership of a public road based on the assumption that they can come up with some kind of technology to solve this problem.

Re:Head Whacking Stupidity (2, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about 7 years ago | (#20846481)

Actually, this is a serious problem.

HOV lanes are usually created in order to reduce traffic congestion problems, by encouraging people to car-pool, use public transit, cycle, or walk. The alternatives are less desirable: paying even more money to expand and maintain road networks with higher capacity, or to deal with health problems created by the dumping of combustion by products (particulate matter, nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, etc.). The latter is a non-trivial problem.

This is not about cheating the system, though some may think of it as such. It is about using municipal resources efficiently and saving lives.

Re:Head Whacking Stupidity (1)

acvh (120205) | about 7 years ago | (#20846513)

HOV lanes do not reduce traffic. They create it. Drive on the NJ Turnpike during rush hour sometime.

Re:Head Whacking Stupidity (2, Insightful)

peektwice (726616) | about 7 years ago | (#20846515)

I understand that in certain places, carpool lanes have been abandoned because the number of drivers who use them is so low that they effectively take an entire lane away from the highways, and cause more congestion in the remaining lanes, thus worsening the problem. I really believe that it's entirely about the money, and the real asshats are the jackholes that came up with the idea of the carpool lane. Most tickets are written to generate revenue, not to improve safety or traffic flow. If someone can get away with "cheating" this system, then they become a sort of modern day Robin Hood in my book.

Re:Head Whacking Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846627)

I can practically throw a stone and hit a car using the HOV lanes of I-395. Those lanes are extremely useful. At the really peak times they fill up and get jammed just as badly as outside, but for most of the rush hour when the normal lanes are stuck, the inner lanes are highly used but moving fast. This gives a huge incentive to carpool (or ride motorcycles), which is better for everyone, and clearly works since I'm certain that most of the people in there are not violators.

The HOV lines in I-395 are different from most because they're a single set of two lanes in the center whose direction switches with the flow of traffic. And off peak hours, they're open to everyone going in the most traveled direction, so it's a big help then as well. I almost never have three people in my car so I can't usually use them when they're HOV-only, but they seem to be a big help for traffic in the region even so.

Re:Head Whacking Stupidity (1)

Ironsides (739422) | about 7 years ago | (#20846647)

The DC area has two HOV lanes that are physically separated from the rest of the interstate. They go into DC in the morning and out in the afternoon. There is no 'carpool lane' that is immediately adjacent to the regular lanes.

The big problem, is that over the years the HOV lanes have been shrunk from a minimum of four people per car to a minimum of two people. This has caused an increase in traffic on the HOV lanes, making it take about as long in the HOV lanes as the regular lanes, eliminating the reasoning behind the HOV lanes entirely.

I've been scanned by an infrared camera... (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | about 7 years ago | (#20846371)

...while traveling. It was in the Singapore airport during the SARS scare. They were checking if anyone was running a fever. They weren't scanning a moving vehicle, though.

is it worth the trouble? (2, Interesting)

plastic_grass (529934) | about 7 years ago | (#20846397)

I'm not in an area that has carpool lanes but:
a.) Is it worth the trouble for so much money to be spent enforcing the carpool lane rules.
b.) Is it worth the effort for drivers to spend the resources on a warm dummy to beat the system?

Re:is it worth the trouble? (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | about 7 years ago | (#20846469)

A warm dummy will likely be cheaper than a fine. A warm dummy is definitely going to be cheaper than two fines. You watch, within a couple weeks of a warmdummy product hitting the market, they'll try to ban them and/or fine people for simply owning them.

Re:is it worth the trouble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846751)

Yeah, the government is teh evil. I mean, have you ever noticed how they prevent you from bitching about the stuff they never did because of how evil they totally are, what with banning the internet and all?
Me neither.

Re:is it worth the trouble? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 7 years ago | (#20846705)

Here in Los Angeles, the fine for driving alone in a carpool lane is about $270. If you're in enough hurry during the morning/evening commute, putting a dummy in the car with you might seem like a good investment.

Why is the US culture so into punishing people? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846419)

Why is the US culture so into punishing people? If you ride a train without a ticket: in the UK they will ask you to buy a ticket, in Canada they will fine you, in the USA they will arrest you. WTF USA? Aren't there better things to do than punish carlane cheaters?

Re:Why is the US culture so into punishing people? (1)

Detritus (11846) | about 7 years ago | (#20846781)

Some people need the legal equivalent of a two-by-four upside their head before they will obey the law. They are the same people likely to be found driving by themselves in a high-occupancy-vehicle lane.

check out my homeboy's page (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846449)

Unaffected (1)

Treskin (555947) | about 7 years ago | (#20846457)

I always pop my RealDoll in my microwave for a few minutes in the morning anyway - I really don't see this change affecting me.

Entirely justified (1)

javacowboy (222023) | about 7 years ago | (#20846461)

I haven't read the article because the site forces me to register.

Stopping people from abusing the carpool lane makes sense. There's far too many people who sneak into the carpool lane, defeating the purpose of the lane. There's far too many people on the road driving alone in their car, which makes for a rather disturbing waste of a non-renewable resource (petroleum), and producing harmful greenhouse gases.

There should be strong incentives against doing this. More transportation should be pooled in order to conserve resources and save the environment.

So I have no problem with this initiative, as long as all they're doing is detecting that there is in fact more than one person in the car and not gathering any additional information about the passenger(s).

Re:Entirely justified (1)

glittalogik (837604) | about 7 years ago | (#20846661)

+1 Insightful. I thought I was going to hit the second page before I found anyone suggesting legitimate use of the carpool lane as an option...

dummy upgrades (1)

amigabill (146897) | about 7 years ago | (#20846499)

So much for using dummies in the front seat."

Nah. They'll just have to upgrade to self-heated models.

Ungodly cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846503)

and the first person to have a competent lawyer will rip this a new hole. Unreasonable search and seizure.

Coming Soon: The New Hummer HH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846511)

The Hummer HH is the first production vehicle featuring an HOV-lane friendly, climate-controlled interior of human skin. The Hummer HH's luxurious leathers exhibit the height of craftsmanship, using only hand selected free-range hides from mature Corinthians. Other manufactures cut corners with inferior hides from Asia or Latin America, but Hummer understands the continental appeal that only comes from aged Corinthians.

Windows blocking infrared (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | about 7 years ago | (#20846525)

I would be interested in knowing what wavelengths they are using since I am sure anything close to the midwave will be blocked by the car's windows and there won't be much blackbody radiation emitted in the near IR.

Although the FA says that they are measuring the reflectivity of the skin. So even heating a dummy would be useless -- all you would need is to find a material that has about the same reflectivity as human skin. I wonder how they measure the reflectivity? perhaps they emit two wavelengths and measure the relative return of both? Either way it would be an interesting problem.

Anyway there are laws against tinting your windows in the visible spectrum but how can they make a law against blocking invisible parts of the spectrum? When the camera says that no one is driving they can't exactly give a ticket and cops won't even know the windows are tinted for the near IR until they get the pictures back.

Also there is no limit to how old the car poolers have to be. Is it not legal to drive in the HOV lane with two infants in rear facing car seats? They would fail this test but be perfectly legal. Also what if the passenger is wearing a heavy coat and has her long hair to the camera? Would that give a false result? Maybe this entire thing is just trying to scare people straight. "Oooh they got them laser and them infer things pointed at me better not drive in that there HOV lane! Stupid goberment!"

Re:Windows blocking infrared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846659)

infrared may damage your retina as ultraviolet does
where are the studies proving infrared is safe to use
on every day?

They'll just make ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 7 years ago | (#20846573)

... better dummies like they do on Myth Busters.

so how many IR LED's? (1)

CrAlt (3208) | about 7 years ago | (#20846581)

So how many IR LED's will it take to blind these IR cams?

No more HOV (5, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 7 years ago | (#20846587)

HOV lanes are fairly pointless as is. It's clear that people are not significantly incentivized to use the carpool lanes. Moreover, conflicting schedules (particularly after work) and the impossibility of spontaneity provide heavy disincentives toward their use. They certainly don't cut down on pollution or fuel consumption as cars spend more time stuck in traffic in the adjacent lanes, or taking longer, more circuitous routes. They don't cut down on traffic, as more cars are forced to fit in fewer lanes. People who live in Arlington or Falls Church, especially, could have to go miles out of the way to get to work, despite having a major traffic artery in their back yards.

The money spent on policing, enforcement, and, in some cases, construction and maintenance of elaborate switching mechanisms to change the direction of traffic in center lanes, could be more efficiently spent toward carbon offsets, and opening the lanes themselves to normal traffic would better accomplish the goal of reducing congestion. Or make the Metro train free to ride; it's already heavily subsidized anyway, and everyone would benefit from increased use. (Of course, capacity would likely need to be increased as well, since they're heavily used already).

Regulating the routes of traffic in an effort to decrease traffic is an exercise in futility. It merely relocates the problem; it does nothing to alleviate it. Traffic is already self-regulating, especially as the distribution of information becomes increasingly streamlined. When one route slows down, people take alternate routes. If the distribution is inequitable, it's because of poor infrastructure design in relation to the population. The cure is redesign, not banishing the overwhelming majority of vehicles from the shortest route between Point A and Point B. It would be one thing if HOV was a stopgap while more effective measures were implemented, but as it stands, it's merely contributing to the problem it claims to resolve.

Re:No more HOV (0)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 7 years ago | (#20846745)

In Los Angeles, at least, carpool lanes don't mean less lanes for everybody else. They've widened the freeways so that there are as many open lanes as before, plus carpool lanes in the middle. I don't know how it is in other parts of the country, but LA, at least, did it right.

rear facing car seats? (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 7 years ago | (#20846593)

If it's being scanned from the front, how well will it pick up children in the back seat? Especially rear-facing car seats. Or sleeping, and lying down.

If it were a human cop pulling you over, you can just tell him to look in the back seat. If they're scanning and sending tickets automatically, I see a potential problem.

the perfect forum (1)

epine (68316) | about 7 years ago | (#20846629)

I had an idea for a major improvement to slashcode, and I've been waiting for my best shot. This is the perfect forum.

The problem with the moderation system is that you have to wait for the post before you can moderate it. This is a serious design mistake. It's quite obvious with a story like this one. An enterprising moderator could have moderated half the jokes here "-1 obligatory" *before* the jokes were posted.

This single feature would go a long way toward rebalancing the force. The chuckleheads could continue their race to first post the obvious lines, while the chucklehead CDC could escalate their counterespionage in lockstep to strangle as many of the chucklehead jokes as possible in the interval between when the blowhard lemmings depart the cliff and when they impact the ground with the inevitable dull thud of exploding whale funny bones.

three words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846663)

Weekend at Bernie's

Getting around the cameras... (1)

amccaf1 (813772) | about 7 years ago | (#20846701)

The article, from the Washington Post, says that infrared cameras capable of detecting human skin will be installed, rather than the visible-spectrum cameras in use today. So much for using dummies in the front seat.
Oh, the dummies will still work... You'll just have to keep them warm and glue lots and lots of dandruff to them.

Police state in the name of bloody traffic?! (0, Troll)

ericferris (1087061) | about 7 years ago | (#20846723)

So let me get this straight: In order to solve a mere inconvenience (traffic), the lawmakers in the USA's capital are instauring a police dragnet that would be the envy of North Korea.

And this is the enlighted government of an enlightened nation? For crying out loud, are these people nuts? How crazy can these control freaks be?

I don't think that the problem needs such a grossly invasive measure.

Oh, and BTW, the sex industry already provides inflatable dolls with a resistor mesh under the surface that provides a pleasing, uniform skin heat. They just need a car adapter, and voila, the IR cameras are fooled. So I guess Congressmen and other pervs have nothing to fear.

no, not really (1)

v1 (525388) | about 7 years ago | (#20846727)

So much for using dummies in the front seat."

Now the newest dummies will come with a 4ft cord ending in a cigarette lighter plug, in addition to the shirt that makes it look like it's wearing a seat belt.

At last an excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20846765)

Gonna fart me up an infared car pool.

Am I the only one? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 7 years ago | (#20846787)

I don't know about anybody else, but I first saw the headline as reading that drivers were being scammed by IR cameras, not scanned. Then, of course, when I read the summary, I found out that for all practical purposes, I was right.
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