Traffic & transportation

June 08, 2021

The Easy Installing and Maintenance of ANPR Cameras

It’s one thing to manufacture ANPR cameras; they also have to be installed and maintained. Adaptive Recognition’s models have been designed with easy installation and maintenance in mind. See how it is done in practice.

We all know how important the proper installing of traffic monitoring cameras is. It doesn’t matter if they are located above the road on gantries or right next to it on poles. They have to endure extreme weather conditions 24/7 and need to last for many years without significant mechanical or software failure. ANPR camera manufacturers are well aware of that; this is why they design all camera models to be sturdy on the outside and reliable on the inside.

However, the traffic camera itself is only part of the equation. Once they are manufactured and delivered to the customers via the integrators, they must be installed, set up, and maintained properly to ensure long and uninterrupted operation. Thankfully, installing and maintaining ANPR cameras is also something manufacturers like Adaptive Recognition have taken into consideration, making them as simple and straightforward as possible.

A Careful Installing For Future-Proof Use

Although installing the camera itself is simple, it requires careful planning. Road operators may ask quite the price for closing the road, with a fixed minimum road closure fee. To minimize costs, camera installers usually have to set up the cameras on a gantry at once to avoid further expenditure resulting from additional modifications on the devices.

Then there is the positioning of the devices. Unlike software triggers, which can be set up remotely from a control center, tilting traffic cameras to capture passing vehicles accurately can only be done on the spot. Aside from the ball joint located on the camera console, ANPR imaging requires the camera console base to be firmly bolted onto the gantry. This guarantees that the device stays in place even in harsh conditions. Installing technicians also have to tilt the camera at the optimal 20°–30° angle when they fix the devices to their permanent positions.

Maintenance of ANPR Camera From a Mobile Crane

The above ensures the virtually uninterrupted operation of ANPR cameras. With careful planning, there is no need to remove console bases during the entire lifespan of the gantry. Another advantage of planning ahead is that it significantly reduces the time it takes to switch devices. The minimum amount of moving parts guarantees that the cameras are less prone to mechanical malfunction.

Speaking of malfunction, a crucial element in ensuring the prolonged operation of traffic cameras is the external cabling. Traffic monitoring camera manufacturers are always looking for options to reduce maintenance and ANPR system costs. This is why many modern cameras come with the Power over Ethernet (PoE) option. Fewer cables allow the installers to hide them inside the gantry’s holes, protecting them from harsh weather conditions and oxidation.

How Is Camera Maintenance Done?

We can all agree that the less maintenance ANPR cameras require, the better. After all, they are on a gantry above or next to multiple, usually busy lanes. So to get cameras and off the console, maintenance teams must close the road, and inform road operators in advance. However, no matter how fast they work, a closed lane is always a major nuisance.

In case of malfunction, the first obligatory step the camera support team has to take is a remote check. If the ANPR camera fails to respond, they alert the road operator and send out a mobile crane. Often the maintenance team doesn’t have to occupy the lanes for more than an hour or so. In most cases, all it takes is a bit of tinkering with the cables – or a single one if it’s PoE – and the camera comes back to life almost immediately.

But what if the traffic monitoring camera responds to neither remote maintenance nor the fixing of the cables? In that case, the mechanics dismount the faulty device and replace it with an identical model from the road operator’s stock. Once the broken ANPR camera is finally off its holder, the maintenance team takes it to the manufacturer for further, more thorough investigation.

Putting the spare camera in its place usually doesn’t take long. The original camera’s console is already in the position the road operator wanted it to be. Thus the switch is virtually unnoticeable.

Vidar: Less Hassle, More ANPR …

Admittedly, we can consider all modern traffic monitoring cameras reliable due to their durable design both inside and outside. Vidar, our latest ANPR camera, maintains that tradition – with a few added twists.

Despite requiring an extension piece to put it in place of previous Adaptive Recognition camera models, Vidar’s installing and maintenance is even easier thanks to such features as smart positioning. This means that the built-in laser – which also serves as a hardware-based trigger – and the gyroscope automatically position the camera to ensure the best ANPR results. In other words, installers can just mount the camera on its holder, and after the initial setups, it’ll adjust itself on its own.

Vidar models also come with an improved and simplified self-diagnostics feature. Thus operators can remotely access each Vidar camera to check such data as temperature, operating time, trigger settings, etc. If that’s not enough, Vidar ANPR cameras are all designed to be as future-proof as possible thanks to a stylish yet robust aluminum casing, a reduced amount of external cabling, and 73% fewer moving parts compared to our previous camera models. With this, the guaranteed MTBF of Vidar is over 55,000 hours – which translates to five and a half years.

… and Respects Nature

Vidar is also environmentally friendly. Fun fact: did you know that spiders love infrared lights? We found this out when we checked our ANPR cameras during maintenance works. Indeed, these tiny web crawlers built their silky homes around the IR sensors. Spider webs can be amazing in their design, but they are also reflective. This causes a huge problem with older ANPR camera types where the IR sensors are located around the optics. At night, this means that once the IR flashes, the web reflects the light. The then camera captures images where the only thing you can see is… well, Spider-Man is action.

In Vidar’s case, however, the spider problem was solved in a simple and environmentally friendly way; the IR sensors are located on the right, whereas the camera’s optics are on the left. In short, even if there is a web in front of the infrared lights, the camera still captures ANPR-ready images with ease, even in pitch darkness.