Major highways project seeks sustainable surveillance system
Axis Communications, global industry leader in network video, has helped develop an innovative and clean energy solution which illustrates the potential of sustainable surveillance technologies in remote locations. In response to a request to produce a system to document part of a major programme of improvements to Scotland’s A9 carriageway, Axis and its partner Camera Control UK, developed a solution which is capable of capturing high quality 4K time-lapse imagery using entirely renewable sources.
One of the main challenges was that the solution needed to be able to capture high-quality surveillance video in an area with no communication networks or local power, while coping with weather extremes and construction logistics. With diesel generators disregarded due to the pollutants they would produce, and the challenges associated with trying to lay power cables over a considerable distance along a route that twists and turns, a clean and sustainable solution was required.
The highways project will see a 10 mile stretch of the A9 from Perth to Inverness widened to increase the efficiency of the route and allow for smoother traffic flow. After winning a tender to document the project, local company, MB Productions Ltd, commissioned Camera Control UK to produce a solution. Camera Control UK in turn contacted Axis Communications, the industry leader in network video technology, to work in collaboration. The resulting video would be used for audit purposes, to provide evidence of best practice, and to serve as example material for future projects.
Martin Naylor, Director of Camera Control UK, elaborates: “We realised it had to be an off-grid solution to avoid using local power; a solution that could incorporate wireless communications and utilise renewable energy sources to be environmentally friendly and sustainable over the longer term.”
To bring the solution to life, AXIS P1448-LE 4K short bullet cameras were chosen for their robustness and durability. The final system uses eight solar power packs, charged by a mixture of wind turbine and solar PV panels. Eight towers with mounted cameras are employed at various key touchpoints along the A9. Communications masts, installed to enable cloud connectivity, ensured that the Axis cameras, connected via the IoT, were able to deliver imagery of incredible quality. The whole solution illustrates the possibilities for innovation when utilising the natural elements, having a virtually zero carbon footprint.
All captured video is relayed back to a central control location using a dedicated wireless network. The whole system can be remotely monitored to continually check its status of operation. Remote management also enables the cameras to be fine-tuned for precision imagery of the work in progress, without the need to manually touch the cameras, or even to be on-site in person.
Martin Naylor commented on the relationship with Axis that has made this solution possible: “Axis really values innovation and is therefore an ideal partner, not only because the team takes the time to understand the challenges when trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible in surveillance, but also because their drive towards sustainable and ethical practices is an inspiration to other technology companies.”
Matt Brown, Director, MBP, said of the solution: “We are now able to capture fantastic 4K imagery of the ongoing work on the A9. Camera Control UK has produced an entirely green solution; an incredible feat of engineering. The Axis cameras are in a completely different league, in terms of quality, to others we’ve seen. This project has been a great success.”