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OPTEX: ViiK Traffic Sensors

The installation of vehicular access control systems such as automated gates, barriers, rising bollards and other devices represents a lucrative business opportunity. As well as security, applications such as parking control, site management and automation of services make this space worthy of consideration. What puts many off is the need for civil works but that problem is solved with the new vehicle sensor range from OPTEX.

OPTEX has launched its ViiK vehicle sensor range which includes two models: a vehicle sensor and a vehicle counting sensor. Recently launched at the Intertraffic event, the new devices signal a wider approach to sensing technologies from the manufacturer. While best known for internal security detectors, active IR beams and external units including radar-based sensors, OPTEX has already looked at other detection-based markets including time-of-flight sensing to prevent tailgating violations and people counting for business intelligence applications.

The ViiK vehicle sensor series initially comprises two models: the OVS-01GT vehicle sensor which has been designed for gate, barrier or industrial door activation, offering a simple-to-install alternative to ground loops, and the OVS-01CC which is a moving vehicle counter. Both sensors in the ViiK range are based upon Frequency-Modulated-Continuous-Wave (FMCW) technology.

FMCW is a short-range measuring radar technology that is able to measure distance. The combination of distance and speed measurement can result in higher levels of accuracy in challenging conditions. Unlike video-based vehicle detection and counting systems, the ViiK range is not reliant on specific light levels of consistent illumination in the detection zone.

The OVS-01GT sensor is a dual technology unit, making use of combined microwave and ultrasonic technologies. It is able to sense a vehicle’s presence as well as its movement.

The OVS-01CC uses similar technology but applies a counting algorithm to any detections in order to provide traffic flow data.

How simple is deployment?

One of the most significant barriers (no pun intended) to the lucrative vehicular access control market for many installers and integrators is the requirement for civil works when such solutions are installed. The implementation of ground loops to identify the presence of a vehicle can require that road surfaces are lifted.

Putting aside the cost of such works and the need for specialised skills, in many applications the making good process is fraught with issues. Trying to accurately match aged cobbles or obsolete pavers can often be enough to make many companies shy away from such applications, which means that valuable contracts which include other security disciplines can be lost.

Companies that do take on such contacts can potentially discover unforeseen issues once the works are underway. Concealed cabling, pipes and drains can quickly see profit turn into loss, and where the installation only has a slim profit margin the risk is often considered not worth the reward by some engineers.

Many installers and integrators will happily consider the installation of automated gates and barriers at domestic sites, where making good is often much simpler, but the thought of taking on a commercial application is not one that they relish.

It is important to remember that with an electronic vehicle detector mounted above the road surface, such problems are no longer significant. Installation is above ground, typically at around 500mm, so costs, time on site and the need to make good are significantly reduced, if not totally eradicated in many applications.

Once installed above ground, the OVS-01GT is then connected to an automatic gate, automated barrier, rising bollards or kerbs, or an industrial garage door operator. Range is adjustable from 0.8 to 5.5 metres for the microwave sensor (adjustable in 0.5 metre increments) and 0.1 to 1 metre for the ultrasonic element. The detector, which has a response time of 500 milliseconds, can detect vehicles travelling at speeds of between roughly 1.2 to 12.5 miles per hour.

It has five sensitivity levels and also has five settings for cancellation of human activity, thus making it ideal for applications where pedestrian traffic needs to be ignored.

The detector is rated to IP65 and can be used for both internal and external applications. Power supply is 12-24V DC. To simplify set-up the device makes use of one-button calibration.

The OVS-01CC model is used to detect and count moving vehicles of various sizes. The counter is stated to be accurate in single lane traffic applications with speeds of up to 37mph. Using 24GHz microwave, the vehicle counter has a response time of 300 milliseconds.

It can be mounted quickly and easily on a pole or wall, much like the OVS-01GT device. It is mounted at an angle of 90 degrees to the traffic flow.

Detection areas can be of up to eight metres and the sensors can be customised to ensure high degrees of accuracy.

Configurations include eight range settings (from one to eight metres in single metre increments), five sensitivity settings and one-touch calibration.

Like the OVS-01GT, the OVS-01CC is rated to IP65 and can be used for both internal and external applications. Power supply is 12-24V DC.

A flexible approach

The ViiK range from OPTEX opens up new markets for many installers and integrators and allows many legacy security systems to be expanded or upgraded with value-added options for end users.

These can include revenue-generation via advanced parking management, site traffic management, logistics enhancement, etc.. The benefits can be realised on a day-to-day basis and therefore also help to eliminate the ‘grudge’ element that is often associated with security systems.

By eliminating one of the biggest issues with vehicle management, the ViiK devices allow implementation of vehicle-specific systems with minimal disruption at site, enabling installers and integrators to significantly reduce turnaround times on jobs while also delivering a more cost-effective solution to the customer without compromising on performance.

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