The next time you leave your phone or wallet behind as you get out of a taxicab, you'd better hope you're in Japan.
Next spring, the Tokyo-based Kokusai Motorcars Co. will start installing a system of cameras in each of its 3,100 taxis, the Wall Street Journal reports. Small cameras will be installed under the front seats, on the ceiling, and in the trunk of each taxi, and will record images of the cab's back seat both before passengers enter and after they exit. (To allay privacy concerns, the cameras won't take clear images of passengers' faces.) By comparing the two images, the cameras will automatically be able to detect when something is left behind, and trigger an alarm to alert the exiting passenger.
Last year, the Tokyo police received reports for 210,000 items left behind in cabs, 60% of which were mobile phones. The system, developed with the technology firm Ideacross, will cost an estimated $500 per car, but the Journal reports Kokusai hopes to sell it to other taxicab companies.
[Image: Flickr user fotoyong]