How Sydney Trains use live video to help during an emergency

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When an incident occurs on the rail network, Sydney Trains field technicians are the first on the ground to assess damage, record footage and report back to incident or network controllers.

This often requires setting up cumbersome camera equipment that has to be repeatedly moved around the site.

Design engineers at Sydney Trains knew there had to be a technology solution to better support these technicians on the ground.

“There was an incident where a freight train derailed,” says Richard Harding, Design Engineer, Program Delivery Operational Technology, Major Works Division.

“The team deployed an incident trailer with a mounted camera, but they wanted a way to get cameras quickly out to sites without the need for the trailer camera or the tripod versions.”

To find a solution, Richard was part of the project team that designed a helmet-mounted, high-definition camera that provides live streaming from the perspective of the field technician. The portable camera system allows incident controllers to manage incidents more efficiently and react faster to unfolding events.

“Those who are managing the scene can better identify hazards and issues with the real-time footage coming in.”

It’s also safer as it limits the amount of gear required on site, leaving the technician’s hands free.

“It’s designed to allow field technicians to focus on fixing the problem. Staff managing the impact of incidents from control centres can see what’s going on at the site so are less likely to interrupt the repair work with constant calls for status updates,” says Richard.

There is no set-up required as the camera slots into the accessory tab on existing helmets, and can be transferred from user to user. The cameras are also connected to their own power source contained within a lightweight backpack. The system is able to connect to 4G and 3G networks if in range, and also record locally on an SD card when out of range.

The helmet camera is also flexible enough to be used in other situations in the future, such as proactive safety inspections and worksite protection.

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