Article: Smart video could make public transport safer [Panasonic embeds Ipsotek Intelligent Video Analytics into its Rail Solutions].

 

Video analytics technology could soon make train and air travel safer, smarter and more efficient.

By IMECHE

 

 
   
   

A system developed by Panasonic for its CCTV cameras can automatically detect unattended baggage, trespassers on railway lines, and passengers in wheelchairs or with pushchairs who may need assistance. It can even tell if a passenger is swaying around because they’re drunk. 

“Transportation hubs have thousands of cameras, and they’re recording all the time,” Carl Pocknell, head of engineering at Panasonic System Solutions, told PE at a recent Railtex trade conference in Birmingham. “It’s a very difficult task for operators to manually appraise the threat caused by every passenger.”

The system uses algorithms and image processing to flag up potentially suspicious items or unsafe behaviour to an operator, both at the time of the event and afterwards. “It means operators can save a lot of time because they go straight to the footage of interest, rather than forwarding through hours where nothing is happening,” said Pocknell.

The system can also record potential incidents in the highest quality possible, while compressing the long periods of inactivity at a lower rate to save on bandwidth and storage costs. 

The technology was on display at the Railtex event last month, and PE understands that a version of it is being used in a trial at a level crossing near Durham, which is one of the most dangerous in the UK. “The system also produces an audible warning to trespassers that acts both as a deterrent and safety precaution,” said Pocknell.

Next generation of Intelligent Video Analytics driven by joined-up thinking
 

Similar technology is also being used at London’s City Airport to speed up the passenger experience. The business airport aims to get all passengers from the station to the gate in 20 minutes on departure, and 15 minutes on arrival, but, according to the airport’s director of public affairs Liam McKay, until two years ago there was no way of measuring that. 

Now the airport uses video analytics, provided by a company called Crowdvision, to help. The London-based firm has used its technology in Saudi Arabia to make the annual pilgrimage to Mecca safer. 

At City Airport, cameras embedded in the ceiling are used to anonymously track individual passengers as they travel through.

The technology, which only sees the tops of passengers’ heads, can also inform commercial decisions about the placement of retailers and advertising, and is now being rolled out at bigger airports, including Dubai, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Heathrow. 

“It has provided us with a rich set of data on our passengers and their movements, and how they spend their time in the airport,” said McKay. “It’s also created a platform that we can plug other data sources into.”

 

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