German developer of sensor technology Sick has launched the lidar-based free flow profiler vehicle measurement system that enables the highly-accurate 3D profiling of vehicles across multiple lanes in free-flow traffic.
The Sick free flow profiler is versatile and adaptable all-weather system that is suitable for vehicle tolling and classification uses, especially useful in operations such as optimal weight loading of ferries or trains and for verifying vehicle dimensions to maximize revenue recovery. During multi-lane, free road movement, Sick 2D lidar sensors are set up to scan traffic at a high frequency and measure vehicle length, width and height automatically. Typically, three Sick sensors would be mounted on a gantry, but the system can also be enlarged to encompass multiple lanes or adapted with varying sensor layouts to obtain the required information for monitoring purposes. With ranges up to 130 feet (40m), the system profiles all vehicle types from heavy road transport to passenger cars, towed vehicles and motor cycles.
Vehicle measurements are processed in the Sick Traffic Controller unit to produce a highly-accurate 3D model of each vehicle. The system captures vehicle dimensions, vehicle type, driving direction and lane assignment. Options to integrate vehicle classification, axle counting, or detection of overheated vehicle parts can be added to meet specific local operator conditions and requirements. The free flow profiler system can be incorporated in new facilities, retrofitted and can be easily relocated. Capable of accurately profiling vehicles at speeds from 0-75mph (0-120km/h), it can be integrated with other traffic management monitoring systems, such as optical character recognition (OCR) or automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), CCTV and security.
The system can be gantry-mounted, or directly-mounted onto existing infrastructure over traffic lanes, and installation of the units is non-disruptive without disturbance of the road surface. The IP67 protected Sick LMS511 Class 1 (eye-safe) lidar sensors have an operating temperature range of -30°C to +60°C. The free flow profiler software provides operators with easy access to the collected and processed data. Easy to commission with an installation ‘wizard’ and simple to operate, data can be accessed via a standard web browser and downloaded via the TCP/IP interface to the customer traffic management control system. History of the last 50 vehicles is displayed automatically.
“Our new free flow profiler has been extensively trialed under arduous environmental and traffic conditions in Europa and Asia and proved so successful that several highway authorities have invested in further systems,” explained Neil Sandhu, Sick’s UK product manager for imaging, measurement, and ranging systems. “It offers a versatile solution whenever accurate 3D vehicle profile is an advantage. For example, warnings of over-height or over-sized vehicles, approaching bridges or tunnels, or loading ferries so that the distribution of vehicles and weights is optimized. Up to 30 different automated vehicle classifications enable precise charging of toll fees.”