Non-security applications of surveillance equipment increase by the day. A Crisis and Emergency Management graduate has pioneered a taxi driver training program to teach drivers methods to cope with unforeseen circumstances.
"Cab drivers in my region told me that, not infrequently, those in their profession get robbed, are deprived of their fare by customers refusing to pay, suffer attacks perpetrated by passengers, witness violence among passengers, or are faced by medical emergencies occurring to passengers during their taxi journey," related Philip Cachee, who runs the training program First European Taxi Emergency Training Simulator, aimed at taxi drivers who wish to learn how to cope with emergencies and criminal incidents which take place during their work day. Cacheeˇs consultancy firm is a subsidiary of Cachee & Wiedemann, which specializes on crisis, disaster and emergency management.
Training covers criminal, medical, and technical/alarm incidents. Incidents related to technology are usually caused by DVD players or TVs installed in cabs by the drivers themselves, without the aid of a technician.
The program uses a specially designed Skoda Auto fitted out not only with all the required taxi-car equipment, but also with Dallmeier cameras for wireless
LAN communication with the training room, which is outfitted with DVRs. Trainees are placed in the driving seat and are accompanied by a trainer who simulates specific situations and guides the taxi professional through techniques to effectively handle and de-escalate the situation. Role-play is also reversed to give the trainee the chance to watch the trainer act out the part of a fully trained course graduate. The DVRs also allow playback for training room sessions.
Security vendors will soon have the chance to outfit more Skoda Autos for this program, as Cachee plans to outfit a number of cars for use in training programs across Europe. These programs, like its German predecessor, will consist of touring training sessions, which will allow nationwide access for taxi professionals. "Incidents of taxi drivers getting injured or killed are increasing," said Cachee, "as is crime in general. The fact is, financial problems among the populace have been on the rise for over five years now. Taxis are only one of many victims of crime."
How It Came About
At the BMW International Open 2007, Cachee met with Dallmeier representatives. Six months later, Cachee tested a Dallmeier camera and a DVR, and decided to install four high-resolution module cameras inside the Skoda training vehicle. One offers a view of the road in front of the car (driverˇs eye-view); the second sees into the front row of the car (driver and passenger seat occupant); the third faces the driverˇs face directly. The latter is for detecting whether the driverˇs attention is being diverted by conversation with a passenger in the back seat, in which case the driverˇs eyes will tend to go to the rearview mirror. The fourth camera shows the back row of the car. The training room is outfitted with four DVRs.
"High-performance cameras and recorders are crucial for successful training," said Cachee. "Image has to be of very good quality; and DVRs need to be user-friendly and easily installed for trainers viewing the action from the training room. The equipment ensures that training sessions can subsequently be analyzed from different angles, which allows trainers to give drivers useful advice such as how they can adjust their individual behavior in case of an emergency."
Compact cameras are ideally suited for this kind of application. They have to be able to quickly adjust to rapidly changing lighting conditions, which is made possible through the Digital Pixel System platform. Picture information of each individual pixel is converted digitally at the point of capture and processed in the most optimal way. Every detail of the simulated emergency is registered. In a dangerous situation, seemingly trivial things can be decisive. After training, the recorded image material is analyzed together with the instructor. By means of audio transmission, the reaction of the driver to the simulated robbery can be assessed effectively, since talking can be a particularly useful strategy of de-escalation.
The recorder used for monitoring the driverˇs behavior is a one-channel audio and video recorder for analog cameras. Recording is carried out in highest image quality at up to 25 fps. Simultaneously to the recording, audio as well as video data can be transmitted as a real-time stream via a network (RTP protocol). The entire simulation can therefore be viewed live and discussed by the instructor and other participants as it is happening.