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On board taxi cameras help to teach drivers to deal with emergencies

Dallmeier Electronic : 18 June, 2008  (Application Story)
Innovative project to provide training for taxi drivers in dealing with criminal passengers uses high resolution digital camera and recording system from Dallmeier
On board taxi cameras help to teach drivers to deal with emergencies
Dallmeier is supporting a unique Europe-wide project by providing high-tech surveillance solutions. The first European taxi emergency simulator is used to practically train taxi drivers on how to effectively deal with various emergencies that may occur on a daily basis. Camera and recorder technology by Dallmeier ensures that the training sessions can subsequently be analysed from different angles, which allows trainers to give drivers useful advice such as how they can adjust their individual behaviour in the case of an emergency.

Some people associate the job of a taxi driver with a certain romanticism. Thinking that as the taxi driver is relatively free on the road, he or she gets to know every corner of a city and meets many interesting people every day. Granted, that may be the case in some instances. However, as a taxi driver you never know who your next customer will be and some passengers might be less interested in a quick ride but rather the driver's daily takings. Albeit statistically less frequent than road accidents or other work-related injuries, robberies are all the more dangerous. In a two-day seminar, taxi drivers can educate themselves on how to react best to certain situations, with a focus on self-protection.

The idea for this innovative security training was developed by consultancy firm Cachee, who are based near Augsburg. Cachee is a subsidiary of Cachee & Wiedemann, which specialises on crisis, disaster and emergency management. In July 2007, the company location also served as the venue for the first seminar of that kind, along the lines of `Security and emergency management in the taxi industry´. The training concept was devised in cooperation between the consulting firm and the professional association of commercial car owners. Dallmeier lent its support to the organisers throughout the implementation of the recording system.

Inside the vehicle used as a simulator, which had been provided by Skoda Auto Germany, the driver's behaviour and reactions are recorded by four Dallmeier MDF3000A-CS high-resolution module cameras on to four DIS-2/M StreamerPro HDD Small video recorders. The compact cameras are ideally suited for this kind of application since their Cam_inPIX image capture technology enables them to quickly adjust to the rapidly changing lighting conditions, which frequently occur inside a moving vehicle. Such a performance is made possible through the innovative sensor concept of the Cam_inPIX technology which is based on the latest Digital Pixel System (DPS) platform. With this technology, the picture information of each individual pixel is converted digitally at the point of capture and processed in the most optimal way. Therefore, even situations with a great range in contrast can be recorded and documented in previously unseen picture qualities. Consequently every detail of the simulated emergency is registered, which is highly important because in a dangerous situation seemingly trivial things can be decisive. After the training, the recorded image material is usually analysed together with the instructor. Thanks to audio transmission the reaction of the driver to the simulated robbery can be assessed even more effectively, since talking can be a particularly useful strategy of de-escalation. However, in doing so, the choice of language is critical because an inconsiderate remark may quickly irritate the raider and increase the likelihood of a violent attack on the driver.

The recorder used for monitoring the driver's behaviour is a one-channel audio and video recorder for analogue cameras and recording is carried out in highest image quality at up to 25 fps. Simultaneously to the recording, audio as well as video data can be transmitted as a real-time stream via a network (RTP protocol). The entire simulation can therefore be viewed live and discussed by the instructor and other participants as it is happening.

Since a car does not necessarily provide the most ideal operating environment for a recorder in terms of vibrations and dust, the Dallmeier technicians decided to use the DIS-2/M model. The DIS-2/M StreamerPro HDD Small is a portable stand-alone recorder, whose compact and robust design makes it an ideal recording solution for temporary and mobile applications.

Dallmeier's involvement in the emergency simulator project originated from a meeting between Dallmeier Sales Manager Christian Linthaler and Philip Cachee at the BMW International Open 2007. Both parties soon agreed on the general conditions of a cooperation as well as the specific requirements and it took only three months to move from the initial planning to the actual realisation of the project. Everybody involved commented positively, particularly stressing the smooth cooperation with Dallmeier in all stages of the implementation.

Meanwhile, a number of reputable TV stations have shown interest in this extraordinarily innovative project. Various reports on the taxi emergency simulators have already been broadcast, such as during the popular series `Auto Motor und Sport TV´ on the German VOX as well as in a segment of a car magazine shown on the news channel N24.

The emergency training has already been shown in Cologne and Bad Tölz; training dates across the country can be requested from the professional association of commercial car owners. Dallmeier is pleased to have been able to contribute to the realisation and further expansion of this useful training opportunity.
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