Incident 171: Traffic Camera Misread Text on Pedestrian's Shirt as License Plate, Causing UK Officials to Issue Fine to an Unrelated Person

Description: A Bath resident was wrongly fined by the local officials because an automated license plate recognition camera misread the text on her shirt as a license plate number.


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Alleged: unknown developed an AI system deployed by Bath government, which harmed Paula Knight , Bath officials and UK public.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam

GMF Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Known AI Goal

License Plate Recognition

Known AI Technology

Visual Object Detection, Optical Character Recognition

Potential AI Technical Failure

Context Misidentification, Misconfigured Threshold, Misconfigured Aggregation, Generalization Failure

Driver Fined After Traffic Camera Thinks Pedestrian’s Shirt Is a License Plate · 2021

The purpose of automating any task is to reduce cost and labor. This is one of the reasons the world is working so hard on robotaxis, and why traffic enforcement in large cities has moved to license-plate reading traffic cameras. In both ca…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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