taxi top

How many times have you come home in a taxi after a great night out, only to later realise that you’ve left your phone, bag or wallet in there when you jumped out? When you’re running low on fumes, or perhaps a leaking a few of your own after a heavy drinking session, checking for forgotten items is usually the last thing on your mind, but it can really put a dampener on an evening when we realise we’re missing something valuable.

Thankfully, help is at hand! Japan’s Kokusai Motors announced on September 9 that it is currently researching and developing a lost property detector system for use inside taxis as part of a joint venture with IDEA CROSS INC. The system is scheduled to enter trial stages this month and is expected to go into widespread use sometime this year.

  • How it works

The system relies on the use of four cameras that are installed in the car, three in the ceiling above the passengers and one in the trunk. Shots are taken of these locations both before the passenger enters the taxi and after they have alighted at their destination, which are then compared and analyzed. As the passenger exits, if an item appears that was not present before the passenger got into the vehicle, it is recognized as belonging to them and an alarm is triggered so that it is not forgotten.

According to Kokusai Motors, the number of forgotten items left on the back seats of taxis is increasing each year, and if reports from the Tokyo Taxi Center are anything to go by, in 2012 alone a staggering 53,346 cases of lost property were reported by members of the public.

Well it all sounds good in theory, but what about the worrying issue of privacy? Some passengers may not be happy about being snapped every time they climb into a taxi! The good news is that the system is developed in a way that prevents face recognition so you know that footage of yourself won’t end up being misused.

▼ The areas covered by the system’s cameras.


One of the most commonly forgotten items on the list is a gadget that has become indispensable for many of us in our daily lives – the smartphone. Losing such an item can play real havoc with our daily lives. After all, smartphones are used for anything from storing important contact information, right across to acting as a substitute for cash in the form of NFC payment and commuter passes, so losing one can be a big deal.

The new lost property system isn’t just good news for the customer in terms of not having to worry about their cherished possessions but also for the taxi driver as well; when someone leaves an item behind, it’s also a hassle for the driver to go through the process of confirming the identity of the owner and making sure it gets back to them safely.

There you have it, a glimpse at what the near future has in store when riding a taxi! Could this kind of technology spell a complete end to lost property as we know it? Fingers crossed!

Source: Narinari