In-vehicle surveillance has a number of different advantages from evidence gathering to providing a sense of security and safety to passengers and making public passenger transport a much more attractive mode.
The output from in-vehicle security applications is mainly recorded for analysis after the event. However, driver-activated alarms are an important means of communication and may incorporate a direct communications link to control centres. Such communications may also be triggered automatically by in-vehicle systems when major physical shocks are experienced by the vehicle.
In-vehicle surveillance systems can also record images of occurrences external to the bus (such as collisions or damage) as well as within the vehicle itself. They can therefore be of great importance in insurance claims.
In-vehicle CCTV systems may also incorporate GPS position-recording and Wi-Fi and GSM connectivity. Generally CCTV images will not be transmitted because of the high bandwidth required - but stored for use at a later date.
Until recently image processing was non-existent in the bus sector - with CCTV image monitoring being completely reliant on operatives watching banks of screens. To date it is still largely confined to providing driver assistance rather than in-vehicle security aids.
Mobile CCTV can be incorporated into the vehicle design so that it is fitted into the bodywork at the time of construction. It is also increasingly common for rear-facing cameras and associated viewing screens for the driver to be installed as standard equipment on buses.
Those specifying equipment for in-vehicle surveillance should be aware of the rapid advances in technology relating to image processing and communications and must be alert to the need for equipment to be ‘future-proof’.
The European Bus System of the Future (EBSF - http://www.ebsf.eu) and its successor project 3iBS (http://www.3ibs.eu) have a major focus on on-board systems integration, in which safety and security applications play a key part.
As with many high-technology features customers in developing economies need to be particularly aware of the extent to which genuine spare parts are easily available at an affordable price. Also, poor coverage or unreliable telecommunications may mean that redundancy should be built into systems.