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The first IP-enabled vehicle tracking, monitoring, control and connectivity solution has been launched by APD.
“We have introduced a single pipe to the outside world,” said John Gwynne, APD's Product Manager. “INCA1 started as GPS tracking, but INCA2 recognises that there is a lot more communications equipment out there and provides the means to act as a single point of access for all in-vehicle systems to data networks and GPS. If there is a Tetra IP capability bearer and a PDA or MDT, the INCA2 can be used to communicate back to base, or the DVLA, ANPR, and the incident despatch system. It removes the need for MDTs to have outside communications.”
INCA 2 uses standard connections (USB, RJ45 Ethernet and RS232 serial) so that users can easily mobilise applications using off-the-shelf hardware and software. Applications for the emergency services include vehicle tracking; secure distribution of high risk/high value information; access to despatch systems; monitoring response times; optimal use of assets.
INCA2 can be programmed to respond to various inputs, explained John. “It responds to position, speed, heading, distance travelled. It can sense if the blue lights are on, if the gun cabinet is locked, if the vehicle has travelled outside a pre-defined area and even the status of the engine – and report back to base.
The new system, added John, recognises that communications managers have many devices and contracts to manage and seeks to simplify it by having a single communications contract. “All communications are IP and they are non proprietary and use standard protocols. We are looking at wifi and additional bearers at hot spots.”
The INCA 2 has a Linux operating system so operators can write their own applications on a PC. John told BAPCO Journal two examples of possible applications for the police force. “Officers on the road don’t normally check every vehicle number plate against the PNC, but rather a locally-held hot list. Software for INCA 2 can be written so that it holds a local hot list, minimising bearer use.
“Another example is in-vehicle officer authentication. Usually officers log on so the incident dispatch system knows who is on the vehicle, their rank and skills. If everyone logs on over the air at the same time it puts a lot of pressure on the network. But INCA 2 can be set up so that the information is first held locally, and when the data network is quiet it automatically sends the information.”
INCA2 also has dual bearer capability, so Tetra can be used for safety critical information and GPRS for lower security radio. This is what we installed with the security services in Romania, because they were having coverage problems at airports.”