Trànsit and Mossos incorporate drones to monitor roads and punish offenders

But can you really read the license plates from so far away? Joan, the pilot, turns the small lever that controls the ‘zoom’ and the image gets closer and closer and closer. Until, indeed, what was a car in the distance passing over a continuous line is now a plate on which the numbers and letters of the caught offender can be read, with no margin of error. The General direction of traffic (DGT) began testing them in May 2018 and finished the deployment of 39 drones in July 2021. The Catalan Transit Service (SCT) is now in the embryonic phrase with a unmanned aerial device It has already made five incursions and plans 13 more for the remainder of the year. In addition to controlling and analyzing conflictive points, the Mossos are already punishing illegal maneuvers such as non-regulatory lane changes, using a mobile phone at the wheel or not wearing a seat belt. Police control by land, sea and air.

The appointment is in AP-7, near Martorell, a complicated point in which many vehicles coming from the A-2. The explanations are provided Lourdes Puigbarraca, deputy general manager of Gestió del Trànsit. They started three months ago and the pilot test is part of the double objective that it pursues reduce the accident rate by 50% in 2030 and reach the Zero casualty figure by 2050. The idea of ​​using both artificial intelligence like drones for combat accidents and indiscipline on the highways it was already announced in October 2021 and it was even raised in 2018, and it has been now that it has begun to be put into practice at this point and in others in which detect road conflictsas the lace of the C-60 and the AP-7, pairing point for the vehicles that come from the Maresme.

Speed ​​controls?

With the drone, says Puigbarraca, you can do much more than sanction. At least four more things: “Traffic management in real timewith live information that allows more agile decisions to be made; carry out mobility studies based on registered images; make predictions about risky behaviors and about future congestion, and report in real time and monitor more and better special devices, such as operations returning from vacation”.

But there are “other functionalities” that are under study, such as the installation of a kinemometer capable of measuring the speed of vehicles traveling on a fast track. which would result in a fine if the threshold is exceeded. set limit in that artery. That, however, remains to be seen if it will happen. “First we want to see what effect this first drone has. Later we will see if we expand its functions”.

There is no official figure, but there have already been a few sanctions that have arisen from these first drone controls. Joan Salarich, technical director of Mars Intelligenceis the person in charge of piloting the device, a DJI Matrice 300 armed with a high resolution camera. It can move up to 15 kilometers away, but the radius of legal action in these cases is 500 meters, which forces, says the person in charge of Trànsit, to “fine much in the selection of objectives.” While Joan handles the ‘joystick‘ SCT technicians view the images and Mossos agents do the same but with their eyes focused on possible mischief behind the wheel.

From Ibai Llanos to the AP-7

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In both cases, they indicate to the pilot what they want to see and what area they are interested in expanding. Always, without exceeding 120 meters in height and without being able to fly over the highway, not even to go to the other side. “We always have to go parallel and on the same side, we can’t even cross it,” says Joan. Very different was the work that this expert carried out to monitor the perimeter of The Great Evening of the Yearthe meeting of ‘streamers’ organized by Ibai Plains and held a couple of weeks ago. He could have hired a small plane or a helicopter, because it won’t be for money, but the truth is that the quality of the drone image, and Trànsit confirms it, is “much superior”.

In the future, if things come to fruition and a purchase of drones is carried out or the work is outsourced through a public tender, all the images will be recorded and stored in each operation. For now there is no record because this is a pilot test with a single ship, but this does not avoid the penalty. The people already fined will not receive any photo of their indiscipline, says Puigbarraca, but it is “as if you were stopped on the road because they have seen something illegal with their own eyes”. The painful one could be appealed, but the police forces have something that the rest of the mortals do not have: the truth principle. I mean, if it’s his word against any civilian’s, he wins the uniform. If the image of a drone is involved, we are already talking about a landslide.