Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Another Look at POP RADAR


For all the headaches that POP has created, I have yet to encounter a single speed trap actually using it.

This situation is not entirely unlike the problems created -- for the detector and jammer industry -- by stealth-mode police lidar from LaserAtlanta.

Like K-band POP, stealth-mode LIDAR is not consistently detectable by any other radar detector than the Valentine 1 and up until fairly recently wasn't detectable (and jammable as a result) by any jammers other than Blinder. It just so happens that VEIL is extremely effective against this form of police laser, so not many worries here.

But, I haven't actually come across a speed trap where stealth-mode has actually been used, so having a detector not being able to detect it or a jammer not being able to detect/jam it, isn't really a handicap. I am feeling more and more like this each day I drive about POP RADAR.

For all the fanfare that has been generated by POP RADAR (for which the technology has been around for some time), it has done nothing really positive. It has instead, has upset the whole radar detector industry, which is most unfortunate, because I very much doubt many of us will actually ever encounter it. The dynamic that this technology has created may be contributing to another potential problem...radar detectors built to detect POP RADAR are susceptible to radar emissions of a similar nature -- some of the new ACC/ADAS systems coming online, today. These systems, while well-meaning, are misguided in their design as they operate on the same frequency band as police K-band radar.

In fact there is one form of POP that operates four times quicker than regular POP RADAR -- at a blistering 16ms. The only detector that has been able to sniff this form out is again the V1, but it generally has about a one in ten chance of doing so. I was concerned initially about it, but no longer. As Steve has correctly stated in one of the comments below, you probably have about the same chance as getting hit by a bolt of lightning as being tagged with POP in either form (16ms or 67ms)!

*Reprinted with permission from the Guys of Lidar.

The threat of POP today is feeling more like a marketing ploy to sell certain police radar guns, than a bona-fide tool to measure speed in a furtive manner and I can only hope that it will fade into the history books of ideas that looked better on paper than in actual practice.

For that there is police laser, with which drivers may legally be ticketed.

Further, one doesn't need POP to obtain speed readings with minimal chances of alerting many other drivers. I have seen it [and so have you] and its called instant-on radar (which has been around for decades) from behind. I have seen very capable troopers in NJ utilize an older but effective K-55 X-band police radar from behind in a manner which provides very little advanced warning to approaching drivers and only the best detectors at X-band (V1, RX65, STi Driver) provide the greatest chance of spotting it before it's too late.

I seriously doubt that officers equipped with such guns feel the need (or are actually trained) to take the additional time to navigate through menus and take additional steps to properly engage POP and use it in their day-to-day monitoring of traffic in a manner that is consistent with the manufacturer's own guidelines. Perhaps when they first got them and there was this initial "buzz", but not any longer.

Why do I think that is a fair assessment? Because there are plenty of drivers out there who either do not drive with a detector nor possess a premium or ultra-premium radar detector. In otherwords, there are plenty of fish in the pond, so to speak, so there really is no need to take the extra steps or deal with the additional aggravation of operating radar in POP-mode. I really think it is that simple. Traffic enforcement has had plenty of business deploying radar for decades against drivers who have used radar detectors for about as long a time, so the likes of POP really won't change that.

In fact, I would argue that the deterrent traffic departments wish to achieve occurs when speeders are pulled over and receiving a ticket in plain view of everyone and not prior [by their particular method]. I know from experience to respect certain stretches of highway regardless of the traffic monitoring mode utilized, as I am sure you have, regardless of what radar detector is used.

I feel the same way about automated speed enforcement technology -- without the officer actually pulling over the offender in plain-site for everyone to see -- there really is no direct feedback mechanism to other drivers to let them know that a certain area is being monitored. If the name of the game is to slow drivers down, then what better way to do that than with traffic stops with lights blaring. Again that is where the deterrent lies and not with the technology, per se.

It is painful to see detector manufacturers spend the time, money, and resources on coming up with solutions to problems which really don't need to exist nor serve a productive purpose.

Veil Guy

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