16 July 2009
AD Mobile - part of AD Group - believes that the high profile incidents involving commercial vehicles in the news serve as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of items in transit and, crucially, reflect an escalation in the incidence of attacks on vehicles and their loads as they travel across the country, something which the current economic climate is unlikely to change.
Said Jeff Berg from AD Mobile, the in-vehicle CCTV specialist: "The sad fact is that according to TruckPol, which is linked to the national ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, the cost to the UK economy from road freight crime may be up to £250 million per year. So what realistically can be done from a CCTV standpoint to help make vehicles in transit less vulnerable to attack by hardened criminals.
"For years CCTV has been applied extensively to monitor the perimeter of depots where vehicles are parked-up. We are now seeing a growing trend for this to be extended to commercial vehicles on the move, with enhanced fleet protection, beyond the depot, combining CCTV recording and transmission together with audio/GPS positioning and GSM connectivity.
"Naturally, it is vital that any mobile CCTV system should be specifically designed for use in transport applications and commercial vehicles are no exception. The hardware that makes the monitoring of vehicles possible – our own TransVu system is a good example - is typically a multi-camera digital video recorder, capable of multiplexing and recording from up to eight on-vehicle video cameras. With audio capability it is perfectly possible to store relevant voice information with the associated images from multiple points in the vehicle. The ability to process GPS (Global Positioning System) information is also invaluable to track the position of a vehicle from a security standpoint."
Using GPS to accurately track a lorry’s position, the latest systems such as AD Mobile's TransVu can report if they deviate from a given route by a specified amount, such as half a mile, which may be the first indication that something is wrong.
If the vehicle is off course then the latest CCTV systems can automatically phone-up the depot, send an SMS text or even pictures to alert an operator that something untoward may have occurred. The vehicle can then be carefully tracked, the police alerted, and intercepted if necessary.
Panic alarm input can also be configured to send images and data to a control room. Vehicle telemetry (vehicle speed, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions) can be readily stored by a unit like TransVu, as well as the forces on the vehicle from an associated G-sensor.
Commented AD Mobile's Jeff Berg: "Beyond security, this detailed CANbus data can provide an invaluable management resource for commercial vehicle fleet managers and engineers, when looking, for example, at the impact of driver behaviour on a vehicle’s cost of ownership, particularly if heavy braking and acceleration is impacting on component life and overall fuel efficiency.
"The evidence from the in-vehicle CCTV and other data is also extremely helpful should a vehicle be involved in an accident, especially in helping to clarify if there was a problem with the actual vehicle or whether the driver was failing to show due care and attention – this is important for fleet operators as directors may find themselves liable for such incidents if it results from a failure on their part."
Where a wireless LAN (Local Area Network) is available at the vehicle’s depot, the latest systems can download video and telemetry data at high speed, eliminating the need for human intervention with this process.
in-vehicle CCTV systems out there now offer powerful and flexible solutions”, said AD Mobile's Jeff Berg, "There is little doubt that when applied intelligently this has the potential to address the very real problems faced by commercial vehicles in transit."