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Hard shoulder

Innovative video solution for temporary opening of hard shoulder for traffic with Panomera®

Intelligent traffic distribution and control plays a critical part in making the best possible use of the existing infrastructure and reducing the risk of congestion and accidents. One important tool in this process is the ability to open the hard shoulder for temporary use by general traffic – and with the new Panomera® camera technology this option can now be used even more efficiently and reliably.

Of course, it is precisely during peak traffic hours that traffic becomes heavy on many stretches of motorways, and the high volumes of vehicles increase the risk of congestion and accidents. One option for increasing the capacity of roads during these rush hour periods that can be implemented much more quickly and cheaply than widening the road, is to open the hard shoulder temporarily for general traffic use. The temporary use of the hard shoulder can significantly increase the volume capacity of the road and alleviate traffic flow conditions.

However, the stretch of roadway must satisfy certain conditions. For example, the hard shoulders must be designed to withstand heavy loads, and emergency stopping bays must be present. During peak traffic periods, the maximum speed can be reduced with the aid of “variable traffic warning signs” of a traffic control system, so that the flow of traffic is more uniform and the hard shoulders can be opened for use.

Hard shoulder opening only with video verification

One important precondition for this general opening is that the hard shoulder must be open for travel without interruption or obstruction for the entire section – that is to say there must be no abandoned cars or any other objects on the lane. This is why the hard shoulder cannot be opened for such use without video technology to verify the condition of the road section.

Until now, this function has mainly entailed the use of pan and tilt heads. However, this solution has one fundamental drawback: When scanning a stretch of road, the camera can only ever keep certain sections in view, the overview is lost. Furthermore, the moving, mechanical parts are highly prone to wear, and shorten the service life of the components.

A completely new approach to solving the problem is offered by a novel camera technology called Panomera®. Unlike conventional cameras, Panomera® is a multifocal sensor technology that works with several lenses, each with different focal lengths. The already patented Panomera® technology thus combines several focal ranges to create a single, contiguous, harmonised field of view with outstanding resolution and pin-sharp detail. Thus, with Panomera®, it is possible to provide continuous surveillance and automatic analysis of long sections of road from a single location.

The Panomera® is always aligned in the direction in which the traffic is moving, and so helps to ensure consistently good quality analysis. Panomera® Traffic is able to reliably detect objects as small as 15x15x15 cm from distances up to 250 m. So Panomera® Traffic is ideally equipped to provide effective assistance for hard shoulder release instructions.

Private domain and data privacy guidelines are maintained at all times: Panomera® only reproduces the important areas in full detail, e.g., the hard shoulder to be analysed. All other areas are protected automatically by the graduated resolution concept, so no vehicle number plates can be recognized, for example. If necessary, however, and provided the requisite authorization is obtained, full resolution can be accessed without delay. Moreover, since the camera is fixed in position, there is no possibility that it might be redirected towards adjacent, private areas.

Video-IP total solution for traffic telematics applications

With the Panomera® multifocal camera system, a special traffic telematics video analysis for high resolution video streams, a virtual video matrix and the proven SeMSy® video management system with Traffic Package, “Panomera® Traffic” by Dallmeier is an intelligent Video-IP total solution for traffic telematics applications.

Panomera® Traffic offers traffic analyses for motorways, trunk roads, tunnels and urban roads in real time. The analysis modules have been designed specifically for the Traffic sector. They are based on the proprietary Dallmeier texture model, which means they are unaffected by fluctuations in outdoor lighting conditions. The analysis also includes image stabilizing mechanisms to significantly reduce the risk of false alarms.

Besides the hard shoulder analysis, there are also modules for detecting people, stationary and stop-and-go traffic as well as wrong-way drivers. In addition to the above, the traffic data module can be used to capture vehicle classifications, speeds and vehicle-to-vehicle distances.

The system is equipped with many validation processes for events. For this, there is a quality-of-video module, which delivers a continuous estimate of visibility conditions, controls the analyses and associated events, and provides the operator in charge with objective decision making criteria for the situation as it happens.

Panomera® Traffic is a novel, intelligent complete system and is the first one ever to combine excellent detection depth with an exceptionally low false alarm rate.