Hornet system aims to sting noisy drivers

The Hornet system identifies overy-loud vehicles, so their owners can be ticketed(Credit: Shutterstock)

We already have photo radar systems that automatically snap photos of cars that are speeding, but what if a vehicle is being too noisy? This could include cars with loud stereos, illegal mufflers, or horns that get honked just a little too often. Well, if Hornet Industries has its way, its Hornet Advanced Noise Control System will soon be taking care of those, too.

The idea is that individual unmanned Hornet systems will be set up at various locations around a city, such as at busy intersections or on popular cruising streets. Vehicles that are too loud will then be identified in real time, their image (with the license plate) will be captured on video, and a central dispatcher will subsequently send them a ticket. Theoretically, one such dispatcher could simultaneously be receiving notifications from eight to ten systems located throughout the city.

Here's how it actually works …

Each system consists of several microphones which are spaced apart from one another, along with a video camera. When an unusually loud noise is detected, the system's software determines the exact nanosecond at which that sound reaches each mic. By comparing the differences between those times, it's possible to triangulate the X,Y and Z coordinates of the source of the noise.

Because the location and angle of the camera is known (as relative to the locations of the mics), it's likewise possible to identify the offending vehicle in a corresponding video image.

While similar systems do already exist, Hornet CEO Robert Vatcher tells us that his company's technology is more precise than anything that has come before. Due to the proprietary algorithms utilized, it can reportedly locate a sound source down to an accuracy of 25 mm. In fact, Vatcher says that the system may even find use locating snipers in battlefield settings.

In the meantime, though, the company is seeking municipalities that are receptive to trying the system out on a pilot project basis. The City of New York has already expressed an interest.

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