Scaling to support large commercial fleets - automatic post to ftp

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#1
Imagine trying to deploy dash cams on a commercial fleet with hundred or thousands of commercial vehicles. Physically visiting each vehicle to pull an SD card on a regular basis would be impractical, and a daunting impediment to implementation.

Now imagine that all of the vehicles periodically come into a yard, and that the company deploys wifi sufficient to cover the yard. Finally, since these are commercial installs, imagine that the dash cams are all hard wired to the vehicle and remain on (in low power mode) even when the vehicle is turned off.

All of the wifi equipped dash cams I have found were designed to operate in wifi AP mode and some of them have an FTP server. Unless I'm missing something, this doesn't work. What I'm looking for is both a wifi client and aFTP client, I believe. Then when the camera comes within range of a known wifi AP (and it should support several SSID's) it should post any new clips to a designated FTP site.

This seems to me to be both simple and logical. I don't seem to be finding it on any of the existing dash cams.

BTW, I know that I could do this perhaps by using an Eye-Fi or similar wifi equipped SD card, but the reality is that the radio range of these wonderful devices is pretty short. Nothing like a real wifi radio with a decent antenna.
 
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Hillbilly

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#2
Our buses had a system like that. When we came into the yard it downloaded all the days data to the office computer.
One minor problem was that it also set the bus system up in the morning and if it had gone down during the night (and it did occasionally)
we couldn't issue any tickets as the machine didn't load the required data.
Good for passengers Free trips till lunchtime or until we got within range again.

System cost mega dollars though.

Should be doable but our surveillance cameras inside the buses had to have the HDD removed to read the info. Werent wired into the WIFI.
 

jokiin

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#3
Imagine you are trying to deploy to support a commercial fleet of with hundred or thousands of commercial vehicles. Physically visiting each vehicle to pull an SD card would be impractical.

Now imagine that all of the vehicles periodically come into a yard. And that the company deploys wifi sufficient to cover the yard. Finally, since these are commercial installs, imagine that the dash cams are all hard wired to the vehicle and remain on (in low power mode) even when the vehicle is turned off.

All of the wifi equipped dash cams I have found were designed to operate in wifi AP mode and some of them have an FTP server. Unless I'm missing something, this doesn't work. What I'm looking for is both a wifi client and aFTP client, I believe. Then when the camera comes within range of a known wifi AP (and it should support several SSID's) it should post any new clips to a designated FTP site.

This seems to me to be both simple and logical. I don't seem to be finding it on any of the existing dash cams.

BTW, I know that I could do this perhaps by using an Eye-Fi or similar wifi equiped SD card, but the reality is that the range of these wonderful devices is pretty short. Nothing like a real wifi radio with a decent antenna.

if you're talking thousands of vehicles you could have this built to spec, it's logical but not that simple, achievable though
 

niko

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#4
The are few Korean dashcam systems that have something what you might need, but not sure if they can give you full range of options / specs you are asking.

I just received a Cowon AW1. It has some options to use WiFi / DDNS / SSID / WPA / WPA2 PSK for settings, files transfer and remote monitoring. Didn't had much time to play with it yet and because User Manual does not say much about those settings, so I did yesterday for you few settings screenshots from my mobile phone.
Not sure how it will work for you. Those options still need to be fully tested if I will get time and patience ;)

DDNS SSID Settings 1.jpg
 

sludgeguts

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#6
I wonder how long it will be before someone takes a tablet or smartphone & adds input for remote cameras (rather than the front/rear cams many already have).
There are already apps out there to utilise the cameras as a dashcam, so why not utilise the device's wifi capabilities as well?
On top of this, there is the device's ability to communicate with the vehicle's computer via the OBD port.
With the right app, all this info could be stored and uploaded whenever the vehicle is in a wifi hotspot.
 

mrted

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#9
I posted this on my list of demands as well. Being able to file sync over WiFi is one way to overcome the all-pervasive 64GB limitation, to retain video if the dash cam itself is stolen, and to have an easy to view system without needing to keep pulling the SD card.

mrted
 
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David Armitage
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#10
The are few Korean dashcam systems that have something what you might need, but not sure if they can give you full range of options / specs you are asking.

I just received a Cowon AW1. It has some options to use WiFi / DDNS / SSID / WPA / WPA2 PSK for settings, files transfer and remote monitoring. Didn't had much time to play with it yet and because User Manual does not say much about those settings, so I did yesterday for you few settings screenshots from my mobile phone.
Not sure how it will work for you. Those options still need to be fully tested if I will get time and patience ;)

View attachment 3547
Niko - thanks for pointing me towards the Cowon AW1. Ordered one yesterday to experiment with and have contacted the manufacturer. It sure appears from your screenshots that the device can work in wifi Client mode, and that's half the battle. The other half is automatic posting of events to an ftp site, and for that I will just have to experiement.
I am quite familiar with the drivecam device. Great system, but lots of drivers don't like the camera pointing at them. Feels like it pushes too far into the big brother zone. Also, it is expensive and the quality of the videos I have seem is mediocre by today's standards. If I can come up with an approach that piggybacks on 'free' wifi, respects privacy, and scales to large fleets, that feels like a win.
 
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David Armitage
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#11
I wonder how long it will be before someone takes a tablet or smartphone & adds input for remote cameras (rather than the front/rear cams many already have).
There are already apps out there to utilise the cameras as a dashcam, so why not utilise the device's wifi capabilities as well?
On top of this, there is the device's ability to communicate with the vehicle's computer via the OBD port.
With the right app, all this info could be stored and uploaded whenever the vehicle is in a wifi hotspot.
Great point. Sure feels like the smartphone may become the gateway for the connected car. Our work with ROVR and cellSAFE sure seem to be pointing us that way.
 

mrted

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#12
Great point. Sure feels like the smartphone may become the gateway for the connected car. Our work with ROVR and cellSAFE sure seem to be pointing us that way.
I've thought of doing something like that, but the hiccup is that wireless tech (i.e. bluetooth and WiFi) absolutely suck for real-time data storage. It wouldn't make sense to have to plug in several connections to your phone every time you turn on your car, but that would probably be what is needed. You would also need to keep the phone charged as recording from more than one camera could hit the phone battery pretty hard. And, if you need to make or take a phone call in the car, the whole setup would probably go to hell.

mrted
 
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David Armitage
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#13
I've thought of doing something like that, but the hiccup is that wireless tech (i.e. bluetooth and WiFi) absolutely suck for real-time data storage. It wouldn't make sense to have to plug in several connections to your phone every time you turn on your car, but that would probably be what is needed. You would also need to keep the phone charged as recording from more than one camera could hit the phone battery pretty hard. And, if you need to make or take a phone call in the car, the whole setup would probably go to hell.

mrted
Just to clarify, I don't care about moving the streaming video from the dashcam to the cloud...ONLY the 'events' (incidents). And although I imagine in a large fleet there might be a wifi AP in the yard that all the vehicles come home to every night, there is no reason I can think of why the dashcam couldn't FTP 1 minute videos of events right through the hotspot available on the smartphone. Just not going to suck up that much bandwidth....nothing like watching Netflix movies, for example.
 

mrted

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#14
I suppose we're talking about two different things. The dash cam is a computer. It probably has similar hardware to the smartphone and probably runs on a Linux or Linux variant. If the dash cam has WiFi, why would you need a smartphone? I'm not sure why you would just want to capture the events. It seems that would be a lot harder than just syncing everything. WiFi is fast and hard drive storage is cheap. You could probably sync all the events within 5 minutes of the vehicle coming back home and then build in a data retention policy to delete old events after a specified time period.

mrted
 

sludgeguts

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#15
I've thought of doing something like that, but the hiccup is that wireless tech (i.e. bluetooth and WiFi) absolutely suck for real-time data storage. It wouldn't make sense to have to plug in several connections to your phone every time you turn on your car, but that would probably be what is needed. You would also need to keep the phone charged as recording from more than one camera could hit the phone battery pretty hard. And, if you need to make or take a phone call in the car, the whole setup would probably go to hell.

mrted
"I wonder how long it will be before someone takes a tablet or smartphone"
Not YOUR phone, not someone taking THEIR own phone but some tech savvy person adapting what is already out there... smartphone or tablet, strip out the bloatware & adapt for use.
I'm not tech savvy but I assume a modern phone or tablet can cope as a data recorder?
 

mrted

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#16
There is software to do that for Android. The problem is that it isn't very good and there are some limitations like being able to getting one or more external cameras hooked up. In general, it could be done and it could be a good setup but there is a lot of engineering that would need to be done that probably just isn't worth it to do as a consumer.

mrted
 

sludgeguts

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#17
I know there are apps for android, I tried one when I was 'between cams'. I felt my Samsung S2 didn't do too well as a dashcam - getting hot, draining the battery even though it was on charge & losing footage when a call or text came in.
 

niko

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#19
Niko - thanks for pointing me towards the Cowon AW1. Ordered one yesterday to experiment with and have contacted the manufacturer. It sure appears from your screenshots that the device can work in wifi Client mode, and that's half the battle. The other half is automatic posting of events to an ftp site, and for that I will just have to experiement.
I am quite familiar with the drivecam device. Great system, but lots of drivers don't like the camera pointing at them. Feels like it pushes too far into the big brother zone. Also, it is expensive and the quality of the videos I have seem is mediocre by today's standards. If I can come up with an approach that piggybacks on 'free' wifi, respects privacy, and scales to large fleets, that feels like a win.
You are welcome.
Yes, this model has already implementations which are base for what you are looking for, however as its stands now, the FW is not 100% fully developed for all needs you mentioned. Still, I think it's just the matter of correction of firmware to work your way ( for you ) and can be done by software engineers of Cowon, but of course its all about the money they will charge you for that ;)
If there will be any progress ( you + Cowon in regards of new special FW for your needs ), - keep us updated, this is interesting features you asked and I am sure many would like to know more.
 

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