Descartes UK

Latest advances in onboard CCTV systems

An appraisal of the latest developments in CCTV technology from Rick Treharne, Managing Director of the Cheshire-based commercial vehicle CCTV solutions provider, Vision UK.

The company launched a new range of 1080P Wide Dynamic Range Cameras

It is frequently said that the speed at which technology is advancing is getting faster and faster and that certainly seems to be the case with on vehicle CCTV systems.

The most recent development is a new range of 1080P WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) cameras specifically designed for truck applications that has just been introduced by Vision UK.

WDR cameras provide the highest quality images under all light conditions but, most notably, offer a significant improvement over a standard camera at night and under poor weather conditions. These new cameras are available in tough and compact IP rated housings that are specifically designed for external mounting on vehicles, and available with a range of high quality lenses that allow the camera to be optimised for different requirements. For example, typical requirements include providing close vision 360 degrees around a vehicle or, recording a better distance image and providing more detail of a frontal incident.

However, without a complementary DVR with the necessary processing power and capability, WDR cameras could not be used or their potential performance not realised.

Following on from the introduction of the first generation of Vision AHD DVR’s in 2016, a second generation range of 4ch and 8ch Type Approved 1080P AHD DVR’s were launched in the Autumn of 2017 and these have been designed to work with the new 1080P WDR Cameras.

For fleets that operate mainly during the day, WDR cameras may not be seen to offer such a significant benefit but for fleets that run vehicles through the night these new systems offer a significant benefit over standard camera systems and a very worthwhile upgrade over existing analogue camera DVR systems.

CLOCS, FORS, Crossrail and Tarmac-Compliant Systems

In other developments, Vision UK continues to evolve systems designed specifically for vehicles that deliver to sites requiring full CLOCS, FORS and Crossrail compliance.

So, for 2018, we have a new CLOCS-compliant 360 degree Recording System that features High Definition Cameras, DVR, and a 128 GBYTE SDD. This is specifically designed for vehicles that are frequently driven off road. This system is also ideal for sub-contractors and companies such as Tarmac that require 360 degree vision and recording systems.

An interesting development over 2017 is that the price of 128 GByte SSD drives and SD cards (which are the most suitable for the demands of our application) now makes it cost effective for us to promote the SSD drive as a standard option. For larger drive capacities - 500GB and above - SSD drives are still too expensive to offer as an alternative to a HDD. However, the current generation of HDD that we are using has proved to be extremely reliable in most applications.

For those operators who do not want a full recording system, Vision UK offers a comprehensive choice of vision-only FORS, CLOCS and Crossrail-compliant systems. For 2018, these systems have also been updated with AHD Monitors and Cameras to offer even better driver visibility.

IP DVR Systems

Although resource has mainly focused elsewhere, Vision UK continues to develop the IP DVR system. One reason for this is that the new 1080P AHD DVR in most cases currently better meets the requirements of our customers. However, the IP DVR still offers worthwhile benefits to some customers.

The IP DVR can provide even better quality images than the DVR-1080 (due to no quality loss of the signal through the wiring which cannot be totally avoided using AHD technology), however the main disadvantage - at this moment - is that the DVR is not able to integrate the driver vision capability that most of Vision UK’s current customers demand.

There are also smaller issues regarding chip set size that mean some types of cameras have to be larger than is ideal, and installing and maintaining systems on fleets of a mixed vehicle stock, or supporting multiple fleets, is more complicated than with the AHD system.

However, these issues will be addressed in time and, because an IP system has the potential to offer the highest quality, it is likely that these will become more popular choices in the future. Unless, of course, some even better technology becomes available in the meantime.