The Next “Big Thing” in Physical Security
3D LiDAR Transforms Physical Security from Reactive to Proactive
- By Enzo Signore
- Sep 22, 2023
A new and exciting technology makes its debut every few years that stimulates a paradigm shift in how physical security systems are designed, implemented, and provide new sources of intelligence. Many of the most impactful introductions have often launched without much fanfare, typically emanating from new players in the industry with limited resources and/or industry awareness at that time.
There are many examples to support this, from the transformation of analog to IP devices to the latest advancements in unified AI-driven management platforms, IoT, and all things cybersecurity. Countless such solutions were initially met with some degree of skepticism, yet are now considered core, mainstream technologies that created new models for enterprise level systems.
Joining that long list is the next big thing in physical security – 3D LiDAR Security.
3D LiDAR Security builds upon 3D spatial awareness (the 3D mapping of the world) and 3D situational awareness (the classification of objects so that we can distinguish between people and vehicles in the 3D world), to provide 3D proactive awareness by generating alarms and informing guards of threats in real-time.
3D LiDAR security solutions transform traditional security systems, built purely on forensic methodologies, into real-time proactive solutions to:
• Virtually eliminate false alarms.
• Help prevent crime before it happens.
• Shorten delays in addressing genuine alarms.
• Make guard services more effective.
• Reduce guard-services turnover.
3D LiDAR Defined
Short for Light Detection and Ranging, LiDAR is a time-of-flight sensing technology that emits low-power, eye-safe lasers that measures the time it takes for the laser to complete a round trip between the sensor and an object.
The resulting aggregate data is used to generate a 3D point cloud image, providing both spatial location and depth information to identify, classify, and track moving objects in real-time. Complementary perception software then derives useful insights from available 3D point data to meet a number of security and business intelligence imperatives.
Together, LiDAR sensors and smart perception software integrate with a VMS to comprise a fully integrated physical security system.
3D LiDAR vs. Traditional Security
There is often a sense of false security created with the deployment of traditional physical security systems, including access control, surveillance cameras, and security guards. By keeping intruders out via access control, the reasoning goes, unauthorized entry is prevented. And, if an unauthorized person does get in, then camera records are available to review and analyze the occurrence in addition to security guard recollections or other witnesses.
But these ‘reactive’ security solutions cannot actively prevent an intrusion from occurring. By the time an access control system raises a tailgating alarm, or someone notices a crime occurring on surveillance video, the reported incident has already happened.
3D LiDAR security solutions work differently, alerting the presence of intruders in real-time to help proactively prevent crimes from occurring, or escalating further. The system works day or night and under virtually any environmental condition since LiDAR sensors incorporate lasers and do not require any external lighting sources. 3D LiDAR is also not susceptible to metal reflections, operating perfectly in areas such as energy substations, where reflections are an issue.
While conventional video cameras provide 2D views of a perimeter, typically through a narrow field of view and at short range, LiDAR sensors create a precise 3D image of the entire area with a 360° field of view and at much longer range. This allows 3D LiDAR systems to pinpoint the exact location of a potential intrusion and track the direction and speed at which the intruder is moving. This provides 3D spatial awareness.
3D situational awareness is added via the classification of objects using smart perception software. This enables the 3D LiDAR system to distinguish between people and vehicles for a precise understanding of the objects moving within a 3D space.
The integrated system can track multiple targets simultaneously, and virtually eliminate all false alarms by employing mesh networking capabilities that assign a unique ID to an object irrespective of how many sensors are covering the area. 3D proactive awareness is achieved by ingesting this near-perfect accurate data into a Video Management Systems (VMS) so that a real-time alert can be generated.
“With Quanergy 3D LIDAR solutions, when we get an alarm, we know it’s a true alarm,” said Mark Heintzman, head of technical partnerships at Hanwha Vision.
LiDAR Sensors and Video Cameras Competing Technologies
Not at all, video cameras are necessary to positively identify intruders, objects and/or vehicles. LiDAR systems make cameras systems so much smarter since they can direct a PTZ camera to focus on exactly where a potential threat is coming from and focus precisely on that location. Once the threat has been identified, the camera (or multiple cameras) can then track each threat, in any direction and at any speed. Even if the person or vehicle temporarily disappears behind an object such as a pole or other fixed asset.
Since leading 3D LiDAR sensors provide 360° 3D coverage and up to 15,000 square meters of coverage per single sensor, they can also significantly reduce hardware, software, cabling, networking and installation requirements, significantly reducing the cost of overall systems.
It is also important to note that 3D LiDAR solutions are not subject to the same privacy concerns as camera video systems or facial recognition devices. No facial images or personally identifiable information is ever captured by LiDAR sensors, making it an ideal solution for highly regulated deployments. The result is a hyper accurate detection, tracking, and classification solution for all types of environments and in all types of weather without compromising personal privacy.
The proactive awareness afforded by 3D LiDAR systems has numerous applications. Critical infrastructures such as data centers, energy sub-stations, water utilities and even correction facilities can dramatically increase the security of their sites while improving the effectiveness of their guard services.
In smart cities, 3D LiDAR enables municipalities and commercial building planners to bring efficiency and safety to their citizens and residents while keeping their privacy intact.
3D LiDAR Sees Beyond
The world is three-dimensional, security should be too. 3D LiDAR solutions allow private, public and government organizations to see beyond the limitations of 2D imaging. 3D LiDAR solutions are a game-changer and the next big thing in physical security. One that will forever change how we see the world moving forward.