Camera Control made easy at Ford in Michigan

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Operators of high-speed cameras in sled and barrier facilities spend a great deal of their time on camera-related issues: camera setup, image download, AVI creation, and image archiving. These issues are both timeconsuming and costly. Users are also often limited to the use of cameras of one brand, and sometimes even cameras of only one type. This can be problematic, as it limits the ability to select the most suitable cameras for different situations.

Image Systems has recently completed a major update to its Enterprise Camera Control System, which is now in use at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. Many of the requirements of the system were specified by Ford, and by Grace & Wild, which operates the system for Ford.

The essence of the system is that it can take the camera-view requirements for 40 or more cameras from a test-planning database and pass these requirements in terms of frame rate, exposure, and record time into the camera-control software. It also passes through the post-test distribution requirements in terms of format and location. In this manner, an engineer’s requirements can be passed directly to the cameras in the most efficient, and error-free, manner.

The test operator can then view any, or all camera views, and also the real-time status of all cameras, at the test commandpost computer. When he is satisfied that sufficient cameras are online and their views are acceptable, he can initiate the test. If a camera drops out for any reason prior to test initiation, the operator is immediately notified and can take appropriate action to stop the test if necessary. A hardware trigger then initiates recording. As soon as the imaging is complete, a raw image is saved locally for safety, and then all the necessary files are distributed to a rendering computer.

Distribution to many different locations follows, enabling immediate use by the test engineers. This is all controlled from one GUIinterface at the test command post by one operator using the TEMA Enterprise Camera Control System, which is, in turn, fed from the test-planning database, and distributes to a rendering computer. The only thing the operator does is enter the test identification. Then TEMA searches the test planning system for all relevant information and any metadata for the test. In this way, the speed is greatly increased, especially when doing
multiple tests in larger facilities.

Typically 20 stationary and onboard cameras can be downloaded extremely quickly, enabling immediate tear down and preparation for the next test. Hand-held camera snapshots and videos can be added to the final download, and there is also a watermarking facility so that AVIs can be created during the initial download.

These have a watermark tying the recording to a definitive time for legal purposes. The key advantages that have accrued from the installations of this system are:
error-free implementation of a test engineer’s requirements; virtually no time restraints on the test program because of the camera setup; the ability to avoid a test initiation where a last-minute camera failure would compromise the results; immediate availability of test images on whatever formats and in the locations the end users need; traceability of records to the actual test for legal purposes; and the potential to add new types of cameras in the future, without having to change camera-control software.

Assuming no camera maintenance is required, the operator requires only a few minutes to check the setup, pretest, and to ensure all the required views are functional. Post-test, all that is needed is a quick check to verify that downloading is complete. TEMA Camera Control can be fully integrated with TEMA Automotive or TEMA Motion for tracking and motion analysis.

Tracking and analysis can be done directly after downloading an image sequence from a camera, minimizing the total analysis time. Using TEMA Camera Control, high-speed motion analysis has never been easier. It is easy and quick to set up, and more reliable than ever before. It gives any customer, worldwide, the opportunity to go out and select the top high-speed cameras from different manufacturers, and set up the perfect arena for testing according to their specific needs.