Hikvision India introduces traffic cameras featuring DarkFighterX to combat urban light pollution

Hikvision India has introduced traffic cameras featuring DarkFighterX to combat urban light pollution. Traffic cameras fitted with DarkFighterX, Hikvision’s ultra-low-light video imaging technology, combine these three approaches to combat light pollution effectively. They are designed to sense both visible and invisible light, reducing the need for blinding flashes. This scales down the number of LEDs used in the flash—merely four LED beads suffice where once many were needed. What’s more, incorporating an LED lattice significantly diminishes stray light, so that the intensity that escapes beyond the camera’s focus is effectively eliminated.

In addition, the DarkFighterX technology features deep learning algorithms to enhance the image quality in Hikvision cameras. It effectively addresses common issues such as color bias, resulting in improved color reproduction. Furthermore, this technology helps to solve the problem of headlight halo effects, ensuring that the captured images are more accurate and realistic. The significance of this is that it not only greatly enhances the efficiency of traffic violation enforcement, but it also reduces the camera’s need for high ambient light levels to achieve high-quality imaging in urban environments.

“Hikvision’s innovative traffic cameras have already been successfully implemented in many countries and these cameras are helpful in the Indian environment too,” says Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Private Limited. “Given the increasing global emphasis on sustainable living, mitigating urban light pollution through advanced technology like Hikvision’s traffic cameras is not only an immediate solution but also a future trend.”

Managing the urban environment has always been about making progress and then dealing with the new that it inevitably creates. One of the latest challenges is the glare which is created by the guardians of our intersections—traffic cameras. Although they help detect violations and ensure road safety, this unintended glare also poses risks to drivers and residents. This blog explores the solutions to this problem.

For drivers, the bright flashes of traffic cameras operate like a double-edged sword—intended for safety but sometimes resulting in the exact opposite. According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s Traffic Safety Facts Report, in 2020, glare contributed to approximately 2.8% of road accidents. Intense bursts of sudden, unexpected supplemental light can obstruct drivers’ vision at crucial moments, especially when they are navigating complex urban roads at night. For city dwellers, these intrusive flashes enter through their windows, disrupting sleep patterns and affecting their quality of life.

Excessive lighting also disrupts wildlife behavior and impacts the natural rhythms of the environment. A study published in the journal Science Advances, estimated that artificial skyglow resulting from outdoor lighting, including traffic camera lights, has increased at a rate of 2.2% per year.

In order to combat light pollution, progressive cities such as Barcelona, London, Oslo, and San Diego, are adopting smart streetlights that dim when not needed. Motion sensors are employed to provide light only when necessary and shielded lighting is being implemented to focus light where it’s required, minimizing spillage into surrounding areas.

But what about the traffic cameras that need to operate around the clock? Engineers and urban designers have been working on developing cameras that emit less light while still capturing clear images. Here are a few approaches they are taking:

Shielding and directed lighting

One method involves installing shields around traffic cameras and using directed lighting techniques. This helps to focus the light only on the required areas while minimizing light pollution in other directions. The problem with this approach, however, is that these modifications require significant up-front investment and ongoing maintenance, which, understandably, is causing many urban areas to hesitate.

Cameras with invisible light sensors

Another approach involves the use of invisible light sensors, which significantly reduce the reliance on blinding flashes for successful imaging. Traffic cameras with this technology can operate within the non-visible spectrum. They effectively capture images without the intense bursts of light that pierce the night. This approach is particularly effective in areas with high levels of light pollution, where it is important to minimize the additional impact of traffic camera lights.

The utilization of AI-ISP techniques

With the latest camera technologies, artificial intelligence algorithms have been combined with image signal processing (AI-ISP) techniques to effectively handle color inconsistencies in images. By utilizing mathematical modeling and direct restoration of the information from the sensor input, deep learning image enhancement algorithms can capture color-accurate, high-definition images even in extremely low-light conditions. This diminishes the need for relying solely on environmental brightness and supplemental lights such as bright flashes. As a result, the efficiency of traffic cameras gets increased whilst their environmental impact is reduced.

Hikvision’s traffic cameras with DarkFighterX

Given the increasing global emphasis on sustainable living, mitigating urban light pollution through advanced technology like Hikvision’s traffic cameras is not only an immediate solution but also a future trend.

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