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January 18, 2024


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case study

Radar cameras used to protect National Grid CNI site

Obsidian Security works with National Grid to encompass a Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) site with almost 10 miles of fenceline and borders facing open water, to protect the site’s perimeter and detect potential intrusion.

Simon George, Obsidian’s Managing Director described the project saying: “Taking on National Grid’s challenging brief, Obsidian had a reputation to uphold at this hugely important location, where having security personnel on-hand to watch every part of the site at all times, was quite simply, impractical. For security reasons, the exact details of this COMAH site cannot be disclosed.

“The site itself is very wide, the fenceline alone is nearly 14 kilometres, and there are jetties about two and a half miles away from the main site. We had been using thermal analytics to protect the jetty areas, but those turned out to be very unreliable.

“From the jetty areas, there are pipe tracks and vast expanses of open ground with nothing much to see, so you don’t want to have security teams looking at camera feeds of just fence and grass all the time. We needed a technology that would reliably detect movement and potential intrusion over very wide spaces, and throughout all sorts of weather conditions, because being on the water can make visibility difficult at times.”

Radar-controlled for wide area detection

With the expansive area brief in mind, Simon spoke to UK manufacturer 360 Vision Technology: “360 Vision suggested that their Predator Radar camera, the only ruggedised radar equipped camera of its kind on the market, would be suited to the task,” explains Simon. “We also thought the radar camera might be a perfect fit for this deployment, so we decided to test it out, initially at Obsidian’s headquarters.”

The cameras are radar-controlled versions of the ruggedised Predator PTZ camera. Predator Radar is designed for applications where wide area detection and tracking of moving objects is required. The cameras with radar function therefore do not just use visual clarity to detect movement and are said to work in all weather conditions and extremes of temperature, whereas other analytics-based camera systems. Obsidian said, often struggle in rain, fog, snow, mist, and coastal environments, as well as extreme hot and cold climates.

Tracking multiple objects simultaneously 

Predator Radar uses a 1080p HD camera, said to provide up to 200m radius (400m diameter) constant surveillance, scanning 360 degrees ‘once every second’ designed to detect and automatically track up to eight simultaneous objects.

There’s also onboard edge storage and control of Predator’s long-range lighting, which offers up to 650m IR, together with white light and covert ‘no-glow’ IR options.

Obsidian deployed ten Predator Radars for perimeter detection at the CNI site, which join other 360 Vision Invictus cameras installed throughout the facility. Simon continues: “The way this site is positioned, it can be approached from the water, so we set up a radar camera and arranged for a tug to come in underneath the jetty dolphins, to see if the Predator Radar picked it up, and it did.”

When the cameras detect unusual movement, they are designed to ‘swing around’ to catch the movement on video, and raise an alarm to let security operatives know what’s happening. On the site, Obsidian is responsible for integrated security solutions, so they also take care of access control, barriers and power fences. The operation is integrated and controlled via Synergy 3 software from Synectics.

Ray Wright of the National Grid commented: “Obsidian Security has continually supplied a first-rate service at this facility. In this time, not only have they delivered consistently but have additionally provided security and safety advice to enhance the security of this top-tier COMAH site.”

“360 Vision have been incredibly helpful when working on this project,” Simon says. “Whenever we’ve run into any glitches, they have been more than happy to come down to the site and help us work through it. They’re good to work with, and that level of support is appreciated by us and the security team on-site.”

“We’re very happy to have been able to support Obsidian and National Grid to secure a solution for their challenging wide area surveillance problem,” says Jason Wyatt, National Account Manager at 360 Vision Technology. “Our radar camera solutions are supporting effective high-security, safety and site management applications across the globe, from the protection of national borders, to protecting utility and commercial sites, this complex project underlines the powerful surveillance capability of the Predator Radar camera.”

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