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Are satellite speed cameras coming?

Sat-Cam two-way speed cameras on Mt Mee attack
Fake Mt Mee speed camera

This photo of a “Sat-Cam” two-way fixed speed camera unit on a “speed trial” on Mt Mee Rd northwest of Brisbane has many riders perplexed.

Satellite cameras, which combine number plate reading technology with a global positioning satellite receiver, can measure average speed over long distances.

They have been trialled in the UK, but not yet in Australia.

Until now! Possibly.

However, this one at 1053 Mount Mee Rd is a bit of a mystery as it has no “brother” unit with which to compare average speed.

We contacted Queensland Police to ask about the “Sat-Cam” unit, but they said they had no knowledge of it or any “speed trial”.

We don’t suspect the police are being coy. They usually make no secret of their pursuit of new speed camera technology, like the new speed camera trailers rolled out before Christmas 2016.

Trailer-mounted speed cameras
Trailer-mounted speed camera

Transport and Main Roads and the local council also claimed to have no knowledge of the Sat-Cam.

So we searched online for “MRC” which is printed on the Sat-Cam box, but the only references we could find were for medical, cinematic cameras and medium-resolution cameras.

We went out to where the Sat-Cam was located to see if we could find any other identification or contact details, but the unit had been removed. This short pole was all that was left.

Sat-Cam two-way speed cameras on Mt Mee

It had been anchored on a 3m metal pole. There was no evidence of any other similar cameras in the area.

However, it is still noted here on Google Maps!

Sat-Cam speed camerasGoogle has its own Worldview-3 satellite in orbit which has digital cameras that capture objects measuring as little as 50cm and monitor roads and traffic.

However, Mara Harri from Google said “this is not a Google trial”.

She could not provide any other information about how the test site appeared on their maps.

Interestingly, Google has just announced Google Lens, which combines image recognition, machine learning and Google’s vast preexisting platform to help you understand your surroundings.

With Google Lens, you could just point your phone at the Sat-Cam and it would give you information about it. If they knew what it was!

The Sat-Cam unit may not even be satellite cameras.

They could just be two-way fixed speed cameras able to capture both front and rear number plates.

That would solve the problem authorities have with speeding motorcycle riders not being caught by front-facing cameras because bikes don’t have front number plates.

Kiwi fixed speed camera satellite
Kiwi fixed speed camera

In New Zealand, authorities have been urged to turn the cameras around to catch speeding riders.

In fact, speed cameras are often positioned to capture the front number plate because it gives motorists less chance to slow down before their speed is recorded. It also avoids identification problems with rear vehicle plates that tend to attract road grime.

However, statistics show that riders evading speed cameras are not as big a problem as cars with unidentifiable plates.

A two-way system where the cameras are linked by computer would be able to identify an approaching rider by matching it to the next image from the rear-facing camera.

Riders would then cop the fine for the higher speeding offence.

Forgive us for being cynical, but the cameras could also be positioned at the point a speed zone changes.

Then authorities could conceivably fine motorists for their offending approach speed in one speed zone and their departing speed in another.

While you cannot be fined for the same offence twice, there may be a legal loophole for being fined for speeding in two different zones!

As for the Sat-Cam Speed Trial, we remain mystified.

  • If you have any clues about the Sat-Cam, please leave your comments below.
  1. Hey guys,
    Obviously a fake and I’ve done the hard work confirming that recently. You’ll find all those parts to build this unit on eBay – I’ve even got the links!
    The only bit I didn’t understand was ‘MRC’ but I suspect it is meant to be ‘MBRC’ for Morten Bay Regional Council’.

  2. Hi Mark, the cameras look suspiciously like dummy cameras that you can buy from D -shop or Jaycar electronics, you can see them online from around $12 dollars, maybe someone was looking for a reaction?

  3. Funny you should mention that camera mate.. have been looking at it of late and asking mates in the QPS what it was about. Perhaps it was “removed” by some pissed off bikers. A bit like some signs that went missing nearly 40 years ago out the back of Dayboro. I shall tell you about them sometime!

  4. Armed with only a camera and a colour printer and some sticky tape one could make life hell for someone they don’t like. The way the camera laws are written you have to prove that the picture is of a stolen or fake plate.

  5. The word was it was erected by sooky locals who were having a cry about the amount of bikers using the local roads.

  6. I stopped and had a look recently. That black square on the bottom left was some sort of LED screen with digits flashing up on it – so it was definitely powered up. Seems a bit extravagant for a dummy camera!

  7. Yep , word around the traps is , it is , or rather was a rather elaborate fake erected by a bike hating local .Removed by Council after sevetal enquiries as to its origin

  8. Fake or not, the fact that this seems even remotely credible demonstrates that the war against the road user has reached a level of hysteria in government circles not seen since the days of the medieval witch hunt.

  9. Hi Mark,

    The other reason the authorities like to use front facing cameras is because it can identify the driver of a vehicle, where a rear facing camera can’t.
    I don’t think it will be long before we see cameras being changed to take shots both ways!!!

  10. What is the form for those sign’s at Mt Glorious past the Cafe outbound?
    It has the dob in phone number 13HOON and a camera outline.
    Like are the camera(s) tied to a tree or is it that yellow trailer?
    I’d like to know from the knowledgeable people here.

    I had read in a local paper was to stomp down on Friday night car drivers racing there a good while back (racing in the pitch dark).
    So do the signs stay still as another unenforced ‘safety’ measure or are they real?

  11. I am calling it a fake . As pic clearly shows power supply cord going back into pole . Then where is it in your updated pic where you only have a stump , and no power supply . They would need at least a solar panel if it is real . My 2 cents .

  12. So they left the (3 metre!!!!) pole there to impale some poor sod.
    Great eh!
    I wonder whom to sue.

  13. The remaining piece of the pole is now a hazard. It should be moved before it kills someone.

  14. In QLD, the road law says that a speed detection radar or camera MUST be operated in accordance with the Australian Standards, they say, can’t position a camera within (I think, from memory) 150 metres of a speed zone change.

  15. I’ve seen these units used around roadworks on the M1 when heading north to Maryborough, I assumed they were just a new mobile speed camera.

  16. “…it gives motorists less chance to slow down before their speed is recorded.”

    Er, isn’t the object of the whole exercise to get people to slow down?

    This is right up there with the current radio ad that says “..he would not have been killed if he had KNOWN there was a speed camera around the corner and slowed down..” The TV version shows a mobile camera, ie. a secret one.

    The authorities are getting more and more shameless.

  17. MRC id second the last guy, Moreton Bay Region Council. Usually mbrc but ive seen both. Mt Mee, is in the moreton shire and i wouldnt put anything past that council to dodgy up a fake speed trap.

    However there is serious, bordering psychotic legislation and massive fines for utilising potentially distracting technology or the installation of unnaproved equipment on roads in Australia.
    Installation of a device like that on any road, state or regional without prior permission, planning and assessment could lead to jail time for anyone involved.
    So id imagine its either an approved entity undertaking research, or an idiot thats running on borrowed time.
    Even the metal roadside poles and deliniators have to meet australian standards, You cant just rock up, smack a pole in the ground and walk away. If someone crashes, complains, has it fall on them, is distracted by it or worst case is killed by such a stupidly placed object then yeah bye bye freedom, go straight to jail.

    Also unless that device has been properly tested and certified by the state/federal goverment, than no fine from such a device would stand up in court.

    Just like the fake trailer cameras the qld waste money goverment has launched.
    Some of them are fakes (if not all.) Ive investigated some of them and from what i saw, they dont transmit anything, dont make any noise at all, and if you shine a really bright light inside the black glass hood theres no actual head in there. Not to mention theres zero paper trail in regards to the testing, approval and or the operating frequencies which the device operates. Yes these exist for every other police issued speed measuring aparatus. By legislation it has to.
    anyway #endrant

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