British motorists may soon be booked from above, far above, if a new system currently on trial in the UK passes government approval.
- shares

Known as 'SpeedSpike', the system uses satellites to measure the average speed of a vehicle between two points. The satellite-mounted cameras have advanced number plate reading technology which is coupled to a global positioning system (GPS) receiver.

Developers PIPS Technology Limited, an American-owned company, say the system could cover a network of suburban streets as well as straight-line highways, and that its application in this instance was "probably geared up to zones in residential areas".

The British Home Office is currently testing the cameras at two sites, one in Southwark, London, and the other on the A374 express way between Antony and Torpoint in Cornwall. The system can be used in all weather conditions, day or night.

The Home Office says it hopes the system will be used for main road enforcement for congestion reduction and speed enforcement, and to help eliminate "rat-runs" and cut speeding outside schools. It could also reduce the need for speed humps.

Although the system brings in to question a number of privacy issues, a Home Office spokesperson said the development of surveillance-based systems is simply "a natural evolution of the technology that is out there".