Nature of the Problem

As IEM developed our SIRIS™ automated thermal inspection system for commercial motor vehicles and railroads, we came upon a fundamental technical hurdle that required attention. Affordable thermal infrared sensors are relatively slow to react to the temperature of the objects of interest. So long as the vehicles are moving slowly or are at a stop, this slow speed of temperature measurement presents no serious impediment to how the system works. However, with increased interest in wireless roadside inspection where larger numbers of vehicles are inspected at highway speed, thus eliminating a need to bring them into a weigh station or inspection site, and the increased interest in high speed rail operations, IEM addressed the issue of high speed thermal imaging.

IEM WISE Solution

IEM has devoted a substantial amount of R&D effort to better understanding the nature of the problem of slow speed thermal imaging. We have conducted extensive experimentation with a wide range of commercially available infrared camera systems, have developed unique testing protocols for measuring the effectiveness of these cameras at different speeds, and have ultimately identified a range of technical solutions.

IEM is currently coordinating high speed inspection activities with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority with the short term goal of developing, testing, and demonstrating a version of our SIRIS™ automated thermal inspection system at speeds up to at least 50 mph. This system is in advanced development with field testing anticipated during 2012.

Beyond that, IEM has also begun to investigate a different technology based on use of mid-wave infrared sensors. IEM is developing a new mid-wave infrared camera system that may be capable of capturing clear thermal information from vehicles traveling up to 200mph.