CCTV cameras gain favour over drones

Two-Day Trial On Expressway To Check Lane-Cutting Offences Brings Out Shortcomings
Two days after using drones on the Pune-Mumbai expressway , especially in the Khandala ghat section, to detect 41 lane-cutting violations, the highway safety patrol (HSP) and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) authorities have realized their shortcomings.Authorities said live monitoring is required to avoid traffic jams and to book offenders which fixed cameras on the expressway could do.

A senior officer posted with the patrol told TOI that the cameras on the drones had provided timely feed but many shortcomings had come to the fore. A detailed report will be sent to the road development corporation, the HSP officer said.

In the last two days, there was rain and fog in the ghat section of the expressway . “We received poor quality videos and no action could be taken as nothing was clearly visible in the poor weather conditions,“ the officer said.

Also, the cameras do not work in poor light. Only headlamps of vehicles were spotted in the video after dusk, the officer added.

“The most important issue is of connectivity. It is a hilly region and it takes a lot of time to receive video footage from the drones’ cameras. Meanwhile, vehicles that violate traffic rules vanished before police could initiate any ac tion against them,“ the officer added.

At present, four persons are piloting the drones which have to be brought back to earth once every 15 minutes as their batteries run dry and it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to send them back into the air, an MSRDC officer said.

After experimenting with the drones, the authorities said fixed CCTV cameras to monitor the expressway would be a better option. A senior patrol officer said the entire PuneMumbai expressway has 27 overpasses where CCTV cameras can be fixed and extended arms can help operate the cameras in the ghat section.

“Drones do have their advantages, including their ability to monitor lane-cutting better, unlike CCTV cameras which would need to be placed at very close distances. The speed of vehicles can be moni tored in other ways too,“ Ashish Misra, head of training and consultancy at the Central Institute of Road Transport, said.

Saji Cherian of Save Life Foundation said however fancy they may look, drones cannot be the answer to enforcement. “Most accidents on the expressway happen in the early hours when drones would be completely ineffective. Besides, they cannot work for long stretches. Fear of being caught is the biggest deterrent to people breaking the law and in that sense, CCTV cameras and even automatic number plate recognition cameras would work better,“ he added.

Source : TOI