Bridges make up an essential component of a country’s transportation infrastructure, as well as the economy as a whole. Given their importance, it is crucial that bridge security breaches are properly addressed to protect these valuable assets.
Most outdoor security applications involve clearly defined interior and perimeter areas, normally separated by a fence or other barrier. But not with bridges. Often there’s a roadway or railroad track open to allow traffic, and no easy way to separate where a person or boat should be allowed. So bridges are exposed from all sides, making them vulnerable to breaches, accidents and transportation issues from above, below and at street or railway level.
Smart Thermal Cameras Solve Bridge Security Problems
This is where thermal cameras with video analytics excel. SightSensor “smart” thermal cameras are used to create a virtual buffer zone of bridge security to stop and detect intrusions the instant violations occur. By sensing heat rather than visible light, smart thermal cameras are a perfect human detector in bright sun and complete darkness without requiring additional lighting. On-board image processing is used to ignore headlights, reflections off water, as well as the movement of small animals, trees or blowing trash while accurately detecting the presence of unauthorized persons over great distances common for bridge security applications.
With SightLogix smart thermal cameras, onboard video analytics can detect boat traffic and generate an alert if a vessel stops. Audible messages can be sent to let the boater know they are in an unauthorized area; if the craft remains in place, the response can be escalated. The same thing works at bridge surfaces where individuals might attempt to climb to the top of the structure or enter the roadway or railway from the pedestrian path. Analytic rules can be set for detection based on object size or speed, time of day, location and other factors. Such geospatial rules can be used to alert bridge security personnel when a car has stopped on the roadway, which is critically important when there is little shoulder room; they can also be used to detect a vehicle traveling the wrong way across a bridge, and flash messages to instantly warn drivers.
SightLogix systems are particularly well suited for security for bridges. Bridges experience a lot of movement from wind and vibrations; electronic stabilization is used to remove camera shake from causing alerts. Bridges over water have humidity and fog; SightSensors are nitrogen sealed to keep out moisture and maintain high accuracy. Water movement and reflections will cause nuisance alerts for many smart cameras; SightSensors use image processing to ignore this activity and still detect intruders with great accuracy.
NY State Solves Bridge Security Challenges with SightLogix
The New York State Bridge Authority uses SightLogix SightSensor cameras to secure five Hudson River bridges, detecting unauthorized pedestrians, helping manage traffic incidents and securing the bridge and pylons against vandalism and sabotage. SightSensors’ capabilities make them ideal for the bridge environment, with the capability to detect people and boats in all weather and any lighting condition, while representing a much less costly solution than alternatives.
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