Video analysis is a technology that is getting more and more popular in the field of traffic monitoring. The analysis of camera video streams nowadays allows both the detection of several kinds of events (stopped vehicles, wrong-way drivers, pedestrians in restricted areas, etc.) and the collection of relevant statistics about the traffic flow (counting and classification, traffic density, etc.).
The application of this kind of technology can significantly reduce the time of reaction when an incident occurs while contemporaneously collecting useful information that can benefit traffic engineers and planners.
All these possibilities are further enhanced by the capability of running all the detections and statistic data collection directly onboard the camera, creating a distributed network of smart sensors and increasing the reliability and robustness of the system, but also optimizing the number of servers required for the analysis.
Even if video analysis has been proven to reach a very high-performance rate, there are still some specific issues that can arise in outdoor environments, both linked to the technology (the camera can have some difficulties to adapting to reflections or abrupt light changes) and due to the environment (complete darkness, fog, snow). These effects can not only reduce the detection rate but also increase the number of false alarms. One of the most recent advancements in this technology is the possibility to embed video analysis for traffic in thermal cameras. Thermal cameras are not influenced by glares from the Sun or car headlights and can see clearly even in the dark or through the fog.