Camera goes where human eyes can’t travel

Larger farms mean bigger bin yards with more activity as trucks come and go. It also means the yard may have drivers unfamiliar with your facility, your procedures and your people.

All that potentially sets the stage for accidents. The driver can see for certain where all the stationary objects are, but people move. Sometimes slowly. Sometimes quickly if they’re on an all-terrain vehicle or dirt bike.

Sometimes the mirrors, front windshield, side windows and the little door windows down at foot level aren’t enough. There are always blind spots.

If a driver could see everything happening at all times, most accidents could be avoided, even small costly ones. As well, truck efficiency is enhanced because the driver can manoeuvre with great confidence.

That’s where cameras come into play. They’re not perfect, but they do give the driver better visual contact with his environment. Vehicle cameras have become commonplace for trucks, construction vehicles and heavy equipment. And they are now starting to show up on more farms.

Before buying, there are a number of questions that must be addressed. How should your system be designed? Does it pay to invest in a high definition format? Warren Di Marco from Brigade Electronics provides recommendations that apply to all brands of camera systems, not just to Brigade products.

Front view

Due to the size and elevated driver position of farm equipment and trucks, a blind spot often exists directly in front. A front view camera will eliminate blind spots and help prevent front vehicle damage. When choosing a camera, bear in mind health and safety directives. For example ISO 5006 stipulates that operators of earth-moving machinery must see a person 1.5 metres high within a one metre perimeter all around the machine. For trucks, blind spot directive 2003/97/EC (Class VI) requires that a front-view camera is mandatory for forward speeds of less than 30 kilometers per hour.

Side-view cameras

These are recommended for road going vehicles, including trucks, construction and waste and refuse vehicles. The nearside blind spot is accountable for many collisions.

Side view cameras can face forward or backward to give the driver a better view of what or who is alongside the truck or field implement. The nearside blind spot is accountable for many accidents. | Brigade Electronics

Rear-view cameras

These are recommended for all vehicles. Regardless of the type of vehicle, the rear blind spot is a huge problem. Ninety percent of reversing incidents occurring off road. Twenty five percent of workplace deaths are caused by reversing vehicles. Reversing cameras are a crucial piece of technology to prevent costly collisions, reduce damage, and save lives.

360-degree cameras

Intelligent camera-monitor systems are designed to assist low speed manoeuvring by providing the driver with a complete surround view of the vehicle in real time. Ultra-wide angle cameras mounted to the front, sides and rear of the vehicle capture the entire surrounding areas, including all blind spots. Simultaneous images from these cameras are then processed and “video stitched” resulting in a 360-degree bird’s eye view in a single image.

Shutter cameras

Where vehicles operate in harsh environments, reversing cameras usually attract dirt and dust on the lens, blocking the driver’s view and rendering the camera useless. A shutter protects the camera by only revealing the lens when in use, reducing exposure time significantly. Brigade’s shutter camera has an operating temperature down to -40 C. Built-in heaters melt away ice. A shutter camera enhances the life and visibility of a reversing camera.

Vehicle CCTV cameras

Closed circuit television cameras are used for recording footage inside and outside a vehicle. Incidents involving vehicles are time-consuming issues to resolve, and can have extensive legal and insurance impacts. Having recorded footage where there are conflicting reports of actual events means companies can make major cost savings. More importantly, they can also support their drivers, who are often the subject of increased scrutiny after an incident. Vehicle CCTV cameras provide an accurate witness and irrefutable evidence.

High definition vehicle cameras

One of the most recent additions to vehicle camera systems is the high definition (HD) camera. These provide images in high definition format, which are clearer and more defined than conventional images. However, if you already have a vehicle CCTV system installed, it’s not likely compatible with a HD camera. Likewise, recording in HD format will require more data and therefore use up a lot more space on a hard drive, or rip through data allowance for cloud-based storage far more quickly.

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