Clamping down on vehicle-based littering while helping the environment
What was the thinking behind the creation of LitterCam?
Litter and consumer waste continues to present a major issue, particularly in our towns and cities. Enforcement has worked to some degree for pedestrian offences, but solutions to tackle vehicle-based littering are largely ad hoc and mostly ineffective. With budgets already stretched, police and enforcement officers simply do not have the resource to manually watch traffic in an attempt to identify those who are offending. And this is where LitterCam comes in. We offer an enforcement and deterrent solution which spans offence detection to either payment or cancellation. It incorporates Axis network cameras with edge-based analytics and device control software, linked to our LitterCam platform.
What is your overall mission and objective?
Our mission is to help local government and highways operators to properly tackle vehicle-based littering. It’s a problem which can be mitigated by equipping our customers with managed service offerings that are user-friendly, fully scalable and, above all, affordable. We work with maintenance teams to help pinpoint litter hotspots. Once these areas have been identified, we work in accordance with local authority guidelines to mount our equipment to existing lamp posts, columns and other suitable supports. By working in close partnership with the relevant local authority to provide not only enforcement, but also education, motorists’ littering behaviours can be changed, resulting in more areas being kept clean and clear.
Can you explain Axis’ involvement in the project as a partner?
LitterCam is an Axis partner specialising in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) based environmental transformation platforms. Our solution is based around Axis’ open API architecture for simple interconnectivity, and the quality of the Axis cameras is fantastic. We’re confident in our ability to produce incredibly high-resolution images that can be relied on to make consistently accurate detections, even in areas where visibility is poor. Axis is regarded as a leader in the video surveillance field, and from working with Axis’ products it’s apparent that they really are miles ahead of the competition in terms of quality, reliability and adaptability to locations.
How is LitterCam directly helping National Highways?
National Highways faces a serious challenge when it comes to the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads today. LitterCam can play a valuable role by reducing the exposure of litter clearance teams to risk. The Axis cameras combined with our software utilise AI to remotely detect vehicle-based littering offences. Our platform then securely transmits high-quality video for validation by local authority partners, where an automatic request is made to the DVLA for details of a vehicle’s registered keeper where required. This enables a penalty notice to be automatically issued. In addition to playing our part in preventing loss of life or injury by physically lessening the requirement for litter collection teams on our roads, we can also help alleviate the costs associated with litter clearance programmes and improve their customer’s road using experience. As an added plus, video of litter offenders in action can be used by local authority education officers as a key part of the delivery of litter prevention training.
Can you explain the role of LitterCam in further helping to protect the environment?
LitterCam enables local authorities to gain cost-effective access to innovative technology that can help them protect the environment, while freeing up police and security resources for the investigation of more serious crime. LitterCam is assisting local authority officers with work relating to NI 195 monitoring. NI 195 is one of 198 national indicators that is designed to measure local environmental quality (LEQ), and covers litter, detritus, graffiti and fly-posting. By detecting the density of detritus and its build up, the presence of graffiti and broken paving slabs for example, maintenance crews can be scheduled to clear locations in greatest need, helping to make areas clean again and ultimately having a positive impact on health, wellbeing and public safety.
What are your future plans?
As an automated and fully scalable system, LitterCam very much lends itself to becoming a key part of the smart city of the future. As our cities become smarter with more and more integrated technology, and key departments work ever closer to share data and pool resources, solutions like LitterCam can play an important role in keeping our streets clear, clean and safe.