CCTV camera confuses a woman for a car, issues ticket to car owner

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Look, the robot dogs now have sniper rifles and drones; it’s clear that The Robot Apocalypse is exactly where we’re headed. It’s also clear that some of the apocalypse will be caused by robots that still haven’t learned to identify what they’re looking at. Surry, England resident David Knight got another reminder of that when he was fined for driving on a bus lane in Bath, England, 120 miles from where he lives. As The Daily Mail reported, the CCTV system monitoring the bus lane over the Pulteney Bridge believed that a photo had been taken of Knight’s Volkswagen Transporter with the license plate “KN19TER”. What the CCTV camera took a picture of was a woman walking down the bus lane, that woman wearing a T-shirt with the word “KNITTER” on it.

Because the process from snapshot to sending a fine seems to be completely automated, no one has looked at the photo. Not only that, the CCTV caught KNITTER in June, but sent the fine to KN19TER only last month. Failure to pay such a fine within 30 days will increase it from £60 to £90, but it is difficult to pay a fine within 30 days – regardless of the fact that you did not commit the offense in the first place – when you have not received it.

If you need a smile today… Paula and Dave received a fixed fine in the mail. A CCTV camera had caught ‘them’ driving on a bus lane in Bath. Except it wasn’t their car. Actually, it wasn’t a car at all. #BBCNews @BBCPointsWest @BBCRB

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— Jon Kay (@jonkay01) October 18, 2021

There is at least a partial happy ending. David’s wife Paula called Bath and North East Somerset Council to point out the error and the council agreed to withdraw the sentence and fine. It is not being investigated whether the municipality is now going after the woman with the t-shirt. Who really should be looking is the company with a machine learning algorithm that is bad enough to mistake a woman in a t-shirt for a car, which sounds like the same code used for Enforcement Droid Series 209.

STUDY: Car models with the most reckless driving

But Bath isn’t alone; the city council in Paris, France is about to have the same problem. Over the summer, at least one regional speed camera caught a Tour de France cyclist breaking the limit. After the city center limit was lowered to 30 km/h and everyone told the camera would only capture large metal objects, the local sports store Distance sent runners out to test the claim, and the cameras also photographed the runners. The robots, they come for everyone.

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