New roadside screens to track cars and target ads at drivers

Piccadilly Circus' famous billboard will soon be able to detect different makes and models of car and stream ads aimed at their drivers

Hyundai to replace Sanyo in Piccadilly Circus

Drivers of the future could be targeted by personalised ads on digital billboards as advertisers invest in cameras and tech capable of recognising makes and models of car, as well as the ages, genders and even moods of drivers.

A billboard installed in London’s famous Piccadilly Circus is said to be able to target passing cars and occupants thanks to the use of high-tech camera systems. The cameras hidden in the screen are said to be able detect the vehicle make, model and colour as well as the age, sex and mood of people walking on the street nearby. The billboard will then show them personalised ads to suit their profile. The new tech is due to be switched on in the coming weeks, before the Christmas shopping period begins and could soon roll-out nationwide. 

Piccadilly’s Light screen is Europe’s biggest digital screen and is operated and owned by Land Securities. On the company’s homepage, the firm said: “The screen can deliver bespoke ad content that responds to real-time factors such as the weather or the colour of passing cars - but don't worry it won't collect or store personal details or data.” 

How to advertise your car with a great classified car ad

However, the new form of advertising has drawn criticism from privacy groups. The Big Brother Watch told The Times: “When the new look Picadilly Circus reveals itself to the general public, it will to all intents and purposes be a no-go zone for anyone who wishes to maintain their privacy and their security from prying eyes. 

“The suggestion that Piccadilly Circus will become a wall of personalised ads on monitoring people, vehicles and WiFi connections crosses the creepy line by a mile.” 

Would you want to see personalised ads on billboards as you drive by? Tell us in the comments below... 

Recommended

Fiat-Chrysler faces £5bn UK lawsuit over defeat devices
Fiat Doblo 2015 - steering wheel
Fiat

Fiat-Chrysler faces £5bn UK lawsuit over defeat devices

Around half a million FCA-engined vehicles in England and Wales could be affected by diesel emissions scandal, says law firm
27 Oct 2020
Dash cam portal saves 170,000 hours of police time in two years
News

Dash cam portal saves 170,000 hours of police time in two years

Nextbase's National Dash Cam Safety Portal is used by 33 police forces and has recorded more than 20,000 uploads
21 Oct 2020
All mobile phone use behind the wheel to be banned
Van mobile phone
News

All mobile phone use behind the wheel to be banned

A Government consultation seeks to update UK law in line with modern technology and close loopholes allowing drivers to take pictures and video at the…
16 Oct 2020
VED road tax: how much does it cost?
car tax calculator
Consumer news

VED road tax: how much does it cost?

Confused by VED road tax? Our comprehensive guide explains how much you'll pay on your next car
25 Sep 2020

Most Popular

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport turns up the wick to 296bhp
Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport turns up the wick to 296bhp

The new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport adds more power and gets an aero overhaul
13 Oct 2020
New Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Discovery Sport

New Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV 2020 review

The Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e plug-in hybrid promises 135mpg and an all-electric range of 38 miles, but does it deliver?
21 Oct 2020
Car exhaust smoke explained
British Steam Car
Tips & advice

Car exhaust smoke explained

Is your car suffering from a smoky exhaust? Our troubleshooting guide tells you the causes and what you need to do to fix it
22 Oct 2020