With such news, there are a few bikers who will pull the face.
To be approved in France, vehicles must not exceed a sound volume of 80 decibels. Nevertheless, this limit remains mainly theoretical, the devices allowing to measure the noise of the vehicles remaining excessively rare. Anyone who has ever been woken up at 3 a.m. by a backfiring engine knows that the limit is not always respected. To try to remedy this, Île-de-France and a few cities in France have been testing since 2022 a device of sound radars, which could well arrive throughout France this year.
How Hydra Works
It is the company Bruitparif which has developed, since 2020, a radar system called Hydra. If the infringement controlled changes compared to traditional speed cameras, the objective remains the same: to identify the vehicles responsible and, of course, to fine their owners.
These “hydras” are equipped with two sound sensors, each equipped with four microphones which calculate all the sound levels of the environment, and this, 25 times per second. For each recording, the sensors detecting the loudest noise determine its source by cross-referencing their information. A wide-angle camera then takes a picture of the whole scene, while two other cameras capture the license plate of the responsible vehicle. For the infringement to be characterized, the sensors must detect it a certain number of times in a row over a certain route.
Concretely, it is therefore a stack of microphones and cameras intended to let nothing pass. Learning from the experience of other radars, the hydras are equipped, from the first prototypes, with a metal cage to prevent acts of vandalism. Once an offense is detected, the follow-up is classic: transmitted to the competent services, then soon to the owner of the offending vehicle in the form of a fine.
A seemingly convincing experiment
These devices, which were designed in 2020, were tested in France between January and October 2022 on 8 sites in metropolitan France, mainly in the Paris region, but also in Nice and Toulouse. This experiment was intended to test the equipment, but did not result in any fines for offenders. The test results are considered encouraging for Bruitparif (which is perhaps not objective on the issue), with some of the radars detecting nearly 50 excessively noisy vehicles per day.
The company is therefore now trying to obtain approval for a second phase of tests, more extensive in the territory and which this time may result in fines. But Bruitparif is wasting no time and is already trying to conquer other markets. Berlin, Brussels, or even Barcelona, among others, have already planned to carry out similar tests in 2023. The question now arises: will Coyote and Waze be able to spot them so quickly? One thing is certain: Parisian taxis will have one more thing to blame Anne Hidalgo for.
Sources: Bruitparif, Geeko