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AIRS system improves highway safety with FLIR thermal imaging cameras

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article image AIRS system improves highway safety with FLIR thermal imaging cameras

A FLIR A315 thermal imaging camera is being used in an Automated Infrared Roadside Screening (AIRS) system installed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to automatically detect defective brakes in trucks at several weighing stations. The AIRS system uses machine vision to check truck brakes for defects.

Thermal imaging cameras such as the FLIR A315 detect and display differences in temperatures by measuring the intensity of thermal radiation.

FLIR A315 thermal imaging cameras accurately measure the temperature of millions of separate points and export all the thermal data to a computer for precise analysis.

Automatically detects malfunctioning brakes

Installed in a protective enclosure and embedded at the entrance of a commercial vehicle weighing station, the FLIR A315 thermal imaging camera used in the AIRS system provides detailed thermal images of the undercarriage of commercial vehicles as they enter the station.

Project manager Victor Bagnall explains that AIRS automatically scans and assesses the underside of commercial vehicles for conditions such as malfunctioning brakes, overheated bearings and tyre risks.

Once the vehicle has passed the camera, the AIRS computer analyses the captured data and compares the signal patterns with the system’s predefined conditions. The computer creates a record of the vehicle, including relevant temperature data and a thermal image, which are displayed on the AIRS screen.

Defective brakes are typically colder than a vehicle’s operational brakes, and this difference is clearly visible on a thermal image, allowing the AIRS system to detect defective breaks in vehicles automatically. Records are deleted from the system once the truck leaves the station.

Fully automated brake inspection with thermal imaging

Bagnall adds that the AIRS system is designed to be fully automated with hands-off operation.

When a truck enters the weigh station and is within view of the thermal imaging camera, the AIRS system will detect the vehicle, initiate the automated scan as the truck passes overhead, and then analyse the data.

If AIRS finds a problem during the scan, it will alert station personnel, and show them which wheel location to inspect and what to look for.  

AIRS is a standalone software application that controls the thermal imaging camera, a colour camera, and all the associated systems necessary for AIRS operation. AIRS can scan and analyse multiple vehicles in quick succession. Data stored in the computer enables users to review and display multiple scans at one time.

Contracted to develop and implement the AIRS system, Vic Bagnall appreciates the contribution of FLIR in the AIRS development process.

AIRS systems with FLIR thermal imaging cameras have been installed at 11 weigh stations in the State of Washington, giving the state a valuable tool in the effort to increase safety on its highways.

Thermal imaging cameras are available in Australia through FLIR Systems Australia .

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