Techbeat Dated: March/April 2015 Pages: 3-7
This article describes the features and technology of a multiple-camera video system installed on Palo Alto (California) police cruisers to provide officers a broad view of activity surrounding the vehicle.
The system has five separate cameras that provide high-definition video and high fidelity audio. One of the cameras faces out the front windshield, similar to the traditional dashboard camera; another camera faces out the back of the cruiser, and two cameras are mounted on the sides of the car. The fifth camera focuses on the back-seat prisoner. A microphone on the officer's belt transmits audio back to the car even if the officer is out of camera view. All five cameras automatically record video as soon as the car is started. They can capture up to 40 hours of video. Audio is activated when the officer pushes the "record" button. At the end of a shift, the system automatically uploads data to a secure encrypted server. The department completed its outfitting of the entire 28-car fleet in November 2014. One example of the value of this panoramic camera system occurred when it was determined that a police car passed by a burglarized building during the estimated time of the burglary. The car's side camera captured a suspect's vehicle in the business' parking lot. The cost for installing the system in the 28 patrol cars was $305,000. A purchaser must also invest in servers that can accommodate the massive amounts of data.
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Date Published: April 1, 2015