- Thursday December 04 2014
These boxes popped up everywhere overnight in Austin, Texas. There is one at every intersection on my nine mile route to work.
From the looks of it there is a sensor pole which telescopes up to about 15 ft in height. There is a small conical sensor on the top that is difficult to identify. The black box appears to be a pelican style case. All of this is ratchet strapped, chained, and locked to an existing pole. A medium sized military style connector goes from the base of the pole to the box.
The sticker on top of the box says "Anonymous Traffic Data Collection Equipment" and "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law". It lists "C.J. Hensch & Associates, Inc." with a Houston and Dallas contact phone number. There website is here. They appear to specialize in traffic data collection.
One of the circular connectors on the box is labeled "Charger / Power Pack", so the device is obviously battery operated. The connector is obviously an Amphenol Industrial MS310R14S-5S. I did not remove the cable that was connected, but it is likely the same connector.
All of the devices bear the logo of "miovision technologies". The product appears to be a Scout Video Collection Unit. Based on the advertised 72 hour battery life, these will probably be in Austin for at least the next 2 days. Based on the marketing materials extremely detailed video images, I can't imagine how this is anonymous. The claimed video quality is 720x480 at 30 fps, which is superior to standard definition TV. The manufacturer does not appear to appear to make claims of anonynimity on their website, but the markings on the device do. The video sensor appears conical, but the close up shots on the manufacturers web page show that it is just a shroud. It is likely there to avoid it being blinded by intense light sources at extremely angles.
There is at least one other device which is not video based with a large flat panel pointing at the roadway. It was raining as I passed and I elected not to stop and look at it.