Almost everywhere we go these days, we can agree that we are no longer safe. Even in private or public vehicles, we can see in the news about terrible things happening to the people involved in vehicular-related crimes such as those who use cars to rob banks/people and then get away by car also; those who try to steal cars and then commit crimes using these cars as their getaway vehicles; and those who break the law related to traffic rules (driving under the influence or drunk driving) and then disrespect or try to harm the police officer who catches them. Thanks to the creation of security cameras and surveillance systems for vehicles, many wrongdoers have been caught and arrested, and those who have the tendency to misbehave on the road will think twice on doing something that will have them end up in jail.
In the early days, the only use for security cameras when it comes to the subject of vehicles is its license plate capture capabilities. These cameras are designed to operate under any ambient lighting condition, ranging from complete darkness of the night to direct glare from the sun as well as high beam headlights, at the speeds of up to 100 mph. These security measures have been helpful to the authorities in solving crimes, but it always only applies to instances of carjacking or those vehicles that are used as getaway cars of the suspect(s). Nowadays, thanks to the advancements in technology, more features and capabilities have been created in order to further enhance the power of security cameras and surveillance systems in any type of vehicle.
In the United States, laws have been passed concerning the installation of security cameras in all taxicabs, buses and metros in order to enhance and help with safety and security. This has resulted to an outcome of being more in control over the states security systems, therefore eliminating the average rates of assaults, encroachment and other homicidal cases. Security cameras and surveillance systems, unlike those used in homes and establishments, must possess certain features that will surely be of great use to vehicles, whether they may be private or public.
Below is a list of the most common and significant features of security cameras and surveillance systems in vehicles:
Auto White Balance (AWB) – lets your camera to get rid of unrealistic color casts so that objects which appear white to the human eye are rendered white by your camera. A wrong white balance can cast colors such as blue, orange or green hues onto the object.
Automatic Gain Control (AGC) – adjusts the video so that a much more consistent level of brightness is obtained. The signal is then fed back in order to adjust the gain to a median level for a range of input signal levels. If the brightness seems to look weak, the AGC boosts it. If the image is too bright, the AGC then decreases the brightness.
Back Light Compensation (BLC) – adjusts the brightness of an image. It is distinctively video gain used to correct the exposure of objects or people in front of a bright light source that causes the subject to appear like a silhouette. The most common example of the time this feature is needed is when a person is entering through a doorway that the light coming from behind him makes his image appear dark. With the help of BLC, that person’s image is corrected for proper illumination.
Charge Coupled Device (CCD) Imager – a specialized type of integrated circulated situated behind the camera lens. The lens focuses on a small image of the scene onto the CCD imager which then scans the image and, with the aid of other electronics, converts it to a video signal for use by a monitor or DVR.
CS Mount – is the industry-standard lens mount. It is entirely different from a C mount in terms of flange focal distance (FFD). FFD is the distance starting from the mounting flange (where the lens comes in contact with the camera) to the focal point. The CS mount has an FFD of 12.5 millimeters whereas a C mount has 17.5 millimeters. A C mount lens is compatible with a CS mount camera with the addition of an adapter ring known as the C ring.
Infrared (IR) – is the spectrum of radiation specified just beyond the red light in the visible range and below microwave radiation. Night-vision security cameras come equipped with infrared lights which enables the camera to view everything even in the dark.
Lux – is classified as an International System of Units for illumination that is equal to one lumen per square meter. It is a measure of the evident intensity of light that is hitting a surface. A lumen is described as the measure of perceived power of light.
Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) – this doubles the exposures per frame and also controls the length of time that the Automatic Electronic Shutter is open. A long exposure and short exposure image are taken by the security camera. The resulting two images per frame are then combined so that bright and dark areas are reproduced clearly, with complete detail in both dark and bright areas. With this method, the bright areas will not appear too washed out and the dark areas will not appear too black.
Security cameras in vehicles can be installed either at the back of the vehicle or inside it. If both ways are done, police can then guarantee that the driver and the passengers are fine, and they are able to keep track of them whenever something goes wrong. Regarding the privacy of the passengers, the driver should make a notice wherein all passengers will be able to see, read and be made aware that the vehicle they will be riding on has security cameras (either hidden or visible) installed for their safety. The passengers must be also made aware of the benefits that security cameras give in any journey, more specifically the fact that when such an unfortunate event happens while in the vehicle, the videos recorded on that incident will be used as concrete evidence in court.