IP Camera System Used To Cut Down On Gas Station ‘Driveaways’
IQinVision recently announced that IQeye HD megapixel cameras are being deployed in an innovative Swedish project to cut down on costly gas station “driveaways.” The expanding project is being implemented in cooperation with Milestone Systems and Niscayah.
The Swedish Fuel Traders Association reports the industry loses over SEK 50 million ($7 million) every year from people driving off without paying for their fuel purchases. Ingalill Sedell, manager of a filling station in Örebro, Sweden, decided it was time to do something about mounting losses at her family’s 24-hour Statoil gasoline station and shop.
The station has 10 pumps, serving some 900 customers each day and as many as 1,200 during peak spring months. According to Sedell’s calculations, just one drive-off with a full tank resulted in a loss that required an entire day of fuel sales to recuperate.
Various counteraction systems had been tested at different stations, but they were either too expensive or negatively affected customer purchasing patterns. In Nordic countries, gasoline and food buffets are paid after the fact. If customers are asked to pay before the delicacies are served, they would be offended -- the same applies to fuel purchases. As Sedell cast about for a solution to limit her businesses losses, she was introduced to a new license plate recognition (LPR) analytics and video surveillance system intended to supplement filling station security systems.
The anti-theft system is comprised of a Milestone XProtect Corporate video surveillance management platform running Milestone XProtect LPR Analytics, with at least two IQinVision IQeye megapixel cameras per station deployed to record the gas pump areas. All customer license plate data is captured in crystal-clear IQeye image quality and fed to a Niscayah Customer Service Center, where the license plate data is stored in a database. Should a customer forget to pay a fuel bill or a dishonest person simply drive off without paying, this event data is registered in the system. The next time a car with an offending license plate comes into the station, or any filling station in the country connected to the Niscayah system, the Milestone system sends an alert locally to the station and remotely to the Niscayah Customer Service Center, and the pump is automatically locked.
Formerly, the Örebro fuel station had a general video surveillance system that could see which license plates came in to fill up, but staff had to manually monitor the 10 pumps at all times to try to prevent thefts. If there was a drive-off, staff had to check through what has been recorded by the surveillance cameras, burn the incident onto a CD, and send it to the police. Using the new LPR system avoids this tedious manual intervention and has markedly reduced gasoline thefts.
The Statoil station in Örebro is among the first 20 stations to have already installed the new Milestone/IQinVision/Niscayah system.
“Of course our aim is to have as many filling stations as possible, which will boost the efficiency of the system. We count on getting around 100 filling stations by mid-year,” said Hans Molin, business unit manager at Niscayah Retail.
The system does not prevent first-time drive-offs. In such cases, staff at the filling station e-mail the license plate number of the offender to the Niscayah Customer Service Center for registration in the database, and the system then makes repeat drive-offs impossible.