Published March 27, 2014
Ever since the invention of the speed camera, people have wanted to know two things:
Do we need them?
Can you drive fast enough to beat them?
While the first will likely be debated for all time, the world finally has an answer to the second.
Many have tried – including The Mythbusters, Top Gear, and world speed record holding car tuner John Hennessey – all have failed.
The problem? Simple: none of them were fast enough. And it looks like no one ever will be, at least not on wheels.
According to Phys.org, students at the University of Leicester in England have determined that the only way to avoid detection is to travel fast enough for the Doppler Effect to shift the light waves reflected off of the vehicle’s license plate so far outside the visible spectrum that they are invisible to the camera’s sensors.
Unfortunately for would-be scofflaws, this doesn’t happen until the vehicle reaches 119 million miles per hour, or one-sixth the speed of light.
Student Dan Worthy, 21, told Phys.org that "it would be great fun if we could become invisible - but unfortunately our current technology isn't advanced enough to do this.’
Not even close. The fastest man-made objects to date, the Helios space probes of the 1970s, could only reach a speed of 157,000 mph, just one five-thousandth the speed of light.
So, the next time you see a “speed camera ahead” sign and are thinking about hitting the accelerator, don’t even think about it, unless it’s a particle accelerator.
Even then, remember, you can’t outrun the law.