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Major highways project in Scotland underpinned by sustainable surveillance system

10 September 2020

IN RESPONSE to a request for producing a surveillance system that would document part of a major programme of improvements on Scotland’s A9 carriageway, Axis Communications and partner business Camera Control UK have developed a solution which is capable of capturing high quality 4K time-lapse imagery using entirely renewable sources.

The highways project will see a ten-mile stretch of the A9 from Perth to Inverness widened in order to increase the efficiency of the route and also allow for smoother traffic flow.

One of the main challenges was that the solution needed to be able to capture high-quality surveillance video in an area where there’s no communication networks or local power, while also having to cope 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 frequently twists and turns, a clean and sustainable solution was the foremost requirement.

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 video realised from the bespoke surveillance solution will be used for audit purposes to provide evidence of Best Practice and serve as an exemplar for future projects.

Martin Naylor, director of Camera Control UK, elaborated: “We realised it had to be an off-grid solution to avoid using local power. A solution that could incorporate wireless communications and use renewable energy sources to be environmentally friendly and sustainable over the longer term.”

Turning design into reality

To bring the solution to life, Axis Communications’ 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, ensure that the Axis cameras, themselves connected via the Internet of Things, are able to deliver imagery of “incredible quality”. Indeed, the whole solution illustrates the possibilities for innovation when using the natural elements, having a virtually zero carbon footprint.

All captured video is relayed back to a central Control Room using a dedicated wireless network. The entire 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 be on-site in person.

Naylor has also commented on the working relationship forged with Axis Communications that has made this solution possible. “Axis Communications really values innovation and is therefore an ideal partner, not only because the company’s team takes the time to understand the challenges when trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible in surveillance, but also because the business’ drive towards sustainable and ethical practices is an inspiration to other technology companies.”

Speaking about the solution, Matt Brown (director at MB Productions) observed: “We’re now able to capture fantastic 4K imagery of the ongoing work on the A9. Camera Control UK has produced an entirely green solution. It really is an incredible feat of engineering. The Axis Communications cameras are in a completely different league, in terms of quality, to others that we’ve seen. It’s fair to say that this project has been a great success.”

*Access the full Case Study online at https://www.axis.com/en-gb/customer-story/5081