Thursday, September 5, 2013
ILLEGAL overtaking, a near miss with a cyclist in Cambridge and an impatient driver dodging queuing traffic in St Ives have all been caught on camera by Lawson Noble.
The 59-year-old, from Needingworth, is co-owner and chief technology officer at RoadPixel, a firm selling in-car video recorders.
Like in aircraft, the devices act as blackboxes, capturing footage which could be vital in the event of an accident – but their uses are numerous.
Mr Noble, whose commute to his office near Royston involves the A14 and M11, has had one fitted in his car for about five years. “It’s insurance,” he said. “It’s for just in case.”
While there have been no accidents in that time, it has more than proved its worth. He continued: “We had a car in long-stay parking at Heathrow, not the official valet parking. I wanted to see where they had parked it so looked at the footage and it was put in a field behind a locked gate, which was fine.
“But I noticed some activity on the Wednesday and they had moved the car. They had ferried passengers to and from Heathrow in our 4x4.”
When challenged, the parking company was unable to deny what had happened because Mr Noble had video evidence. “We were given compensation,” he said.
Last month, a RoadPixel camera was in the right place at the right time to record youths throwing water at a pedestrian in a drive-by soaking in a Huntingdonshire village. The video was passed to Neighbourhood Watch, people recognised the culprits and police are investigating.
The devices slot in behind the rear-view mirror and on the rear windscreen and are connected to a cigarette lighter or fitted to the fuse box. They automatically record on a loop when the key is turned in the ignition and footage can be saved. As well as video, some models have GPS and can record the exact time and position of an incident and the speed.
Mr Noble, who originally worked in computer graphics, set up RoadPixel with business partner Frank Thomson last January after selling CitySync Ltd, another firm they founded which had become a world leader in Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).
The in-car cameras had 101 uses, he said, including helping drivers avoid becoming victims of a “flash for cash” scam, where rogue motorists flash their headlights to allow another vehicle to pull out before intentionally driving into it and making a false insurance claim.
Regular customers include taxi firms and haulage companies, with incidents such as crashes or drivers texting at the wheel reduced once the technology is in place. Such is their success, some insurance firms offer discounted rates for drivers with cameras. Mr Noble also suggested parents of young drivers could use the cameras to help keep them safe.
INFORMATION: For more, visit www.roadpixel.com