Under-vehicle surveillance systems identify potential threats beneath the automobile

May 17, 2019
Comm Port Technologies’ CPAS under-vehicle surveillance and inspection system uses area scan machine vision cameras along with a monitor, industrial PC, license plate reader camera, driver image camera, LED lighting arrangement, and associated hardware and software modules to identify potential threats beneath cars.

Vehicles have commonly been used as weapons for conducting anything from simple crimes to acts of terrorism, so the practice of inspecting vehicles at check posts is not a new phenomenon. One such method of accomplishing undercarriage checks is using mirrors to inspect for things like fugitives, smuggled contraband goods, andexplosives.

Here, a convex mirror is mounted at the end of a stick and security personnel walk around a car while passing the mirror under the vehicle. This method, however, has its limitations since it provides only a partial view of the underside of the vehicle while potentially putting the person conducting the scan in harm’s way.

Understanding this, Comm Port Technologies (Cranbury, NJ, USA; www.comm-port.com), a developer of technology-based security solutions, introduced its Comm Port Area Scan (CPAS) under-vehicle surveillance and inspection system (UVIS), to meet the growing need for securing premises by checking vehicles at points of entry. CPAS UVIS is a complete inspection system consisting of an area scan camera, monitor, industrial PC, license plate reader camera, driver image camera, LED lighting, and associated hardware and software modules.

A fixed setup of the Comm Port CPAS UVIS system is shown at a checkpoint.

Comm Port’s system uses a color area scan camera, the Genie camera from Teledyne DALSA (Waterloo, ON, Canada; www.teledynedalsa.com), to inspect the underside of vehicles or other equipment entering and exiting a facility for explosives, contraband, or hidden compartments. Capable of day and night operation, the system can store 500,000 images or more and offers frame rates of 500 fps, 700 fps, 900 fps, and 1100 fps. The system’s sensors can adjust the image according to the speed of the vehicle, enabling the capture of a complete composite underbody image of any vehicle passing over the system at speeds of 1 to 75 km/h. (<1 to 46.6 mph).

Genie cameras—which feature GigE Vision interface and various CMOS image sensor options—were chosen due to a small form factor, enabling their integration into the low-profile, in-ground hardware configuration of the CPAS UVIS, as well as for their selection of lenses, varying frame rates and resolution, and overall reliability, according to Comm Port. Comm Port is in the process of integrating Teledyne DALSA’s latest area camera line, the Genie Nano, a compact camera with some of the latest CMOS sensors, that is available with GigE Vision, 5GigE, and Camera Link interface options.

Related: Vision-guided robot monitors and inspects hazardous environments

Machine vision solutions and software development company Active Inspection (Grand Rapids, MI, USA; https://activeinspection.com/) developed the image acquisition and processing software for the CPAS UVIS system. For more than 20 years, Active Inspection has developed machine vision solutions using the Teledyne DALSA Sapera imaging library. For CPAS UVIS, a custom algorithm was implemented to build high-quality, composite images from a large sequence of captured images in real time. Adjustments were made to the software to account for variations in the scene—as the CPAS UVIS system is outdoors—as well as the handling of a large variety of vehicles with various shapes, sizes, and appearances.

Comm Port’s Automatic Change Detection Module software technology provides instantaneous results.

Images generated by the CPAS UVIS system are instantly compared to a reference image of the underside of the vehicle through Comm Port’s Automatic Change Detection Module (ACDM) software. This software can be used for comparison of any images, whether identical, partially dissimilar, or substantially different, and is immediately able to detect any variations and anomalies found in the undercarriage of the vehicle and flag them for further inspection.

Related: Deep learning and cloud computing help perform security related tasks

“The challenge we have as a manufacturing company for the past 20+ years is to stay ahead of the technology curve while adapting to the changing threats and evolving needs of the multiple vertical markets we serve,” says Manny Patel, CEO, Comm Port. “In addition to our in-house Research & Development and Software teams, finding and working with key technology partners such as Teledyne keeps us in front of that market demand. Our technology partners allow us to consistently push the envelope in terms of the specification, performance, and flexibility of our products, which is something our customers appreciate and have come to expect from Comm Port.”

Comm Port’s CPAS system setup incorporates multiple cameras along with a PC, monitor, lighting, and associated hardware and software.

Comm Port currently has installations and customers on 5 continents and in over 40 countries. The CPAS UVIS system has helped strengthen security measures at commonly targeted public spots like airports, train tracks and border crossings and at secure sites such as embassies, major utility plants and government facilities.

About the Author

James Carroll

Former VSD Editor James Carroll joined the team 2013.  Carroll covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles, Carroll managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.

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