A Successful PTZ Auto Tracking Case

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 19, 2012

Auto Tracking functions in PTZs are oversold, but in certain cases can have real value. In this note, we examine a successful case study using Auto Tracking, describe the problem it solved, and provide details on how common pitfalls were avoided.

The Problem

As an integrator, I worked on a project that involved a novel application of autotracking at an airport facility. The customer asked for a camera to capture the tail numbers of aircraft entering a flightline and cross reference them with time/date stamps as an 'operational log' confirming when particular aircraft were active.

The goal of this project was to automate a process that otherwise required a staff member with a pair of binoculars to manually document activity. This staff member monitored two 'takeoff queing' areas, where aircraft would temporarily be staged before becoming airborne. Aircraft would stay in these areas for an average of 10 minutes, but sometimes for as little as 30 seconds depending on airfield traffic.

Because of the size of the stanging area, and the physical distance from the cameras, it was determined that fixed cameras were not sufficient to cover the area. The customer agreed that a dedicated camera for each takeoff area was optimal, however either camera needed to cover both takeoff areas, so an auto-zoom lens was also required.

Whatever solution was designed, the customer required that cameras must record activity to a 'high degree of confidence' so that no takeoff activities could be missed. The system had to pick up on registration numbers on every aircraft in all situations. Anecdotally, the customer said "Recording 99% of flights is passable, but only 98% is not acceptable." 

The Solution

After a successful 'proof of concept' test, it was determined a PTZ camera with autotracking would be provide a novel solution. The flexibility of the camera, coupled with the 'smartness' of the camera would enable the camera to be positioned to record tail numbers no matter where they might appear with range of the camera.

Two Axis PTZs with were installed onsite. The autotracking was configured within travel stops, so the camera would not be 'distrated' by insignificant movement outside of the intended FoV. Additionally, the camera was programed to return home after 3 minutes of inactivity to prepare for next flight.

Overview of Auto Tracking

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

The central element 'automating' the entire process was use of an autotracking feature. Here is a short marketing video demonstrating how the feature typically works:

The risk in relying on this feature is that like any analytic, it would not detect targets accurately. In this case, alternate plans to integrate motion sensors within a takeoff area were planned as an option. However, upon installation, the autotracing designed to be very successful and worked within the goal parameters. 

After a 'burn-in' period of two weeks, the customer was able to reassign the staff previously devoted to monitoring to other activities, and the project was considered a success.

Why It Worked

This deployment worked because auto-tracking was very tightly controled in a very controlled environment:

  • Tight Scene: The tracking movements were limited to a rather tight space, approximately a 60 foot box. Rather than a situation where the camera is asked to detect movement in a broad area, the area defined in this application was only a fraction of the entire scene.
  • No 'Interfering Noise': The only movement being tracked was within a restricted area with slow moving targets, generall moving in only one direction (away from camera). No 'movement noise' because it was restricted area, background was a tarmac with even lighting, color and no background movement.
  • Images Only: Only visual 'picture' data was collected, no OCR or numerical data was gathered. Unlike LPR applications, the pictures did not need to be read for data, and only a focused image of the registration numbers were required.
  • Home Position: Camera was programed to return 'home' after a period of time. Staging the camera in a central position allowed the camera to immediately pick up on new movement.
Cost/Benefit
 
 
The customer purchased two PTZs, and in return was able to free up 24 labor hours per day. The former staffed position was as 24/7/365 operation, and three shifts of workers were reassigned to other duties. In this project, the cameras quickly 'paid for themselves' by increasing the productivity of existing staff.

Conclusion

Surveillance cameras can be adapted into operational roles, and in some cirmstances provide unique solutions. In this situation, the combination of a tighly controlled environment coupled with powerful camera features resulted in a success story.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on PTZs

Last Chance - Camera Course Summer 2019 on Jul 11, 2019
Last day to register is Thursday, July 11, 2019. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology...
Police Department Surveillance Manager Interview on Feb 28, 2019
Former Memphis PD Surveillance Manager, Lt. Joseph Patty retired months ago, but kept busy during his decades on the force, working to build up...
Milesight Company Profile on Jan 22, 2019
Milesight Technology, a Chinese company building an International branded business, says they are slowly building their presence through a series...
Axis First IR PTZ Tested (Q6125-LE) on Aug 21, 2018
Axis is very late in releasing IR PTZs. While competitors such as Hikvision and Dahua have offered them for years, Axis has just released their...
Hikvision DarkfighterX Vs Darkfighter PTZ Tested on Apr 26, 2018
Hikvision has focused on improving low-light performance for PTZs, an area that has traditionally been a problem, even more so than fixed cameras,...
Axis Launches Mini Concealed IR PTZ on Apr 11, 2018
Axis has been a laggard in releasing IR PTZs. While the company released a laser focus PTZ (the Q6155-E tested) until now Axis has had no PTZs with...
Axis Z-Wave IP Camera Tested Poorly on Mar 20, 2018
Z-Wave is drawing notable interest for video surveillance use. In IPVM's initial coverage, 84% expressed interest in it, with nearly half being...
Camera Form Factor Guide on Mar 16, 2018
When selecting surveillance cameras, users may choose from a number of different form factors, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses,...
Hikvision 4K IR PTZ Tested (DS-2DF8836IV-AELW) on Nov 10, 2017
The IR PTZ trend continues, now with 4K resolution, with Hikvision releasing its DS-2DF8836IVAEL-W camera [link no longer available], a 4K 1/1.9"...
Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI [link no longer available], a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Video Surveillance 101 Course Opened on Dec 12, 2019
IPVM is adding a Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the most important terms,...
Verkada Notification Outage on Dec 12, 2019
Verkada is suffering an event notification outage and analytic search failures. Inside, we examine what the issues are, what Verkada told IPVM...
Hikvision DS 2nd Gen Intercom Tested on Dec 12, 2019
With its newest IP intercom, Hikvision proclaims users can 'get full control over an entrance' regardless of where it is installed, home or office...
Honeywell 30 Series Cameras Tested Vs Dahua and Hikvision on Dec 11, 2019
Honeywell has infamously OEMed Dahua and Hikvision for years, but now they have introduced an NDAA-compliant line, the 30 Series, claiming "lower...
"Good Market, Bad Business Models" - Residential Security on Dec 11, 2019
Industry banker John Mack, at his company's annual event, took aim squarely at the problems in the residential security...
IP Camera Browser Support: Who's Broken / Who Works on Dec 10, 2019
For many years, IP cameras depended on ActiveX control, whose security flaws have been known for more than a decade. The good news is that this is...
Acquisitions - Winners and Losers on Dec 10, 2019
Most major manufacturers have been acquired over the last decade. But which have been good deals or not? In this report, we analyze the...
IP Camera Installability Shootout 2019 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Dec 09, 2019
What are the best and worst cameras to install? Which manufacturers make it the hardest or easiest to install their cameras? We tested 35 total...
Viisights Raises $10 Million, Behavior Analytics Company Profile on Dec 09, 2019
Viisights, an Israeli AI analytics startup marketing "Behavioral Understanding Systems", announced $10 million Series A funding. We spoke to...
Disruptor Wyze Releases Undisruptive Smartlock on Dec 06, 2019
While Wyze has disrupted the consumer IP camera market with ~$20 cameras, its entrance into smart locks is entirely undisruptive. We have...