uWatch Haulage Trials in Conjunction with Suffolk Police
Secured by Design member company uWatch recently conducted a 6-week haulage trial with Suffolk Police, gathering and processing the data required to protect vehicles from immediate and ongoing theft of fuel and loads.
Prior to the start of the first stage of this trial, uWatch set out specific aims to demonstrate the capabilities of the technology. The first was to show that the technology can operate within the environment of a heavy goods vehicle. The second aim was to prove that the technology is simple to deploy and operate, ensuring the system can be easily implemented and used by the driver. The third aim was to show that the technology performs consistently, which was key to ensuring the system can be relied upon to deliver accurate and timely information.
uWatch also wanted to highlight the generated data and its effectiveness in being understood and delivered on time. During the trial, uWatch tested whether the data could be delivered quickly and efficiently to all interested parties, in a format which was clear and easy to understand and respond to. The system was designed to provide alerts within the cab of the vehicle and to connected smartphones, as well as remotely stored in the cloud for web-based access.
2 LoRa PIR (long range passive infrared) tags were attached via a magnetic limpet, one underneath the carriage with the PIR sensor pointing outwards to cover the rear of the vehicle, and another on the back of the cab pointing towards the fuel cap.
One 4G uWatch Cube with LoRa capabilities was placed inside the cab.
The transport manager and supervising police officer were given access to the WeWatch app, to which all Cube alerts were escalated.
The uWatch system performed flawlessly when implemented in accordance with the trial specification. uWatch were able to accurately conclude that the system is suitable to operate within the environment of a heavy goods vehicle.
A LoRa signal was transmitted from the Tag to the uWatch Cube through the confines of the vehicle to produce an alert. This was reproduced consistently over the length of the trial, eliminating concerns of the Cube being influenced by the Faraday effect, wherein the metal body of the vehicle could potentially block electrical fields, including the sending of alerts from the Cube to external devices.
From the results of the trial, uWatch reached a number of conclusions and considerations for moving forward with the haulage vehicle industry, and have since amended the virtual infrastructure to remove unnecessary access to features for the Cube user, giving more admin control to the person of authority, i.e., transport managers.
uWatch stated that further development of the system will need to reduce user involvement from the procedure as much as possible, in order to minimise potential issues caused by user error.
The system will need the ability to be deployed and made active when vulnerable with minimal intervention from the driver, via static GPS location-enabled Cube functionality (currently not present in the firmware), or so that Cube switch-on occurs when the engine is disengaged and power transitions from mains to battery power (present in firmware).
Further consideration needs to be given to the issue of false alerts produced when a driver accesses the fuel cap for legitimate purposes such as refuelling. Otherwise, this will be a significant burden when the system is adopted at scale.
For the second stage of the trial, the uWatch system is to be implemented in full with the Cube, uWatch-it, and the WeWatch app.
Further trials will also look to remove responsibility from the driver and instead utilise an externally designated authority through the WeWatch controller platform where Cube alerts and WeWatch reports are filtered. As such, the only function the driver will perform is powering the Cube, with prompts if the system is not activated.
Norman Guiver, Technical Director at uWatch, said: “Trials are an important part of developing ideas and technology into something that can actually deliver significant benefits in the real world.
“In this trial the Cube worked seamlessly, the alerts arrived quickly and consistently, and some important insights were learned. The advantage the Cube has is that it is a computer and therefore its systems can continually be enhanced, and in the HGV environment simplicity of installation is critical.
“Changes have been made so that without any input from the driver the Cube connects to the GSM network once plugged in to the vehicle’s USB port. It no longer puts any operational or technical onus on the driver and, if they happen to drive off in the morning without switching the tags off, they will get an alert to remind them.”
Ruari Robertson, Secured by Design, said “It is great to see that uWatch have run successful trials in highlighting the benefits of the Cube within a sector of the haulage industry. It is also a testament to their innovation that they were able to quickly adapt the system to alleviate identified problems, thus allowing the end user to interact more efficiently. I wish them well in the future with any further trials in proving the concept and adaptability of the Cube and its associated peripherals.”
Secured by Design (SBD) is owned by the UK Police Service with the specific aim of reducing crime and increasing safety for businesses and individuals.
SBD seeks to improve the physical security of buildings and the surrounding area using products such as doors, windows, locks and walling systems along with fencing systems that meet the SBD Police Preferred Specification security requirements.
SBD have many partner organisations, ranging from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities through to local authorities, housing associations, developers and manufacturers and work closely with standards and certification bodies.
SBD is the only way for companies to obtain police recognition for security-related products in the UK, through the Police Preferred Specification - a product-based accreditation scheme developed over 20 years ago, which provides a recognised standard for all security products that effectively deter and reduce crime. SBD work with manufacturers and standards authorities to ensure that security standards are current and updated to keep pace with emerging crime trends.
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