Vision system monitors the transport of dangerous goods

Engineers at Survision (Rueil-Malmaison, France) have developed a vision system that can monitor vehicles through tunnels in Europe by detecting the signs that indicate what substances they are carrying and their number plates.

Vision system monitors the transport of dangerous goods
Vision system monitors the transport of dangerous goods

To minimize the risk of accidents, the EU is seeking to implement regulations to restrict the access of vehicles transporting dangerous goods in tunnels. Approximately 30 tunnels around Paris and 30 around Belgium already ban vehicles transporting such substances.

Enforcing this ban, however, has proved difficult and several trucks are caught each year ignoring signs. Governments are therefore seeking ways to automatically monitor the tunnels to track the trucks that enter to ensure that correct emergency procedures can be followed should an incident occur, as well as to ensure that fines can be issued to drivers who enter the tunnels illegally.

Recently, engineers at Survision (Rueil-Malmaison, France) have developed such a system that is currently undergoing testing in eight tunnels throughout Europe, including a trial in tunnels that go under the French city of Toulon.

According to the company, two cameras from Sony Europe’s Image Sensing Solutions (Stuttgart, Germany) are used to detect the signs on the vehicles that indicate what substances they are carrying and their number plates.

The Sony cameras are interfaced to a Survision’s processing unit running optical character recognition software for ANPR (automatic number plate recognition system) and dangerous materials signage detection.

Once identified, the cameras instantly send an message to digital road signs by the entrance of the tunnel to alert the driver to either turn back, or continue if permitted. Cameras also track the vehicle as it travels through the tunnel, ensuring the authorities are aware of any incident.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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