Sentinel delivers safety camera systems to over 100 school buses in Northern Ireland

Vehicle Safety News

Project Overview

Sentinel provided over 100 camera systems to six different bus builders as part of a new school transport project for the Northern Ireland Education Authority (NIEA).

This project is part of a multi-million pound, five-year plan to replace 50% of NIEA’s school bus fleet and maintain a school transport service that is high quality, safe and efficient.

Working within a short timeframe

The delays and challenges of the Covid pandemic resulted in NIEA having a reduced timeframe for procuring this first batch of new buses. With the project approved in Q4 2020, over 100 buses and coaches needed to be procured by the end of the budget year in March 2021.

Despite the short timescale, there was no compromising on quality, and the vehicle safety features remained a top priority.

NIEA had been very satisfied with the performance and quality of video images delivered by Sentinel’s solutions supplied under previous procurement contracts, and were therefore confident in specifying Sentinel’s camera systems again.

Supplying a comprehensive vehicle camera system

The new buses and coaches ranged from 14 to 60 seaters, so the camera systems were specified to suit the size of each vehicle and the areas to be monitored. In total, over 100 camera systems were supplied.

The camera systems were installed in the new school buses to provide enhanced all-round exterior visibility for the safety of other road users. An interior camera system was also installed in each vehicle to monitor passenger safety and personal security, including a driver camera with audio.

Each system included a 7” AHD colour monitor positioned for safe driver viewing when manoeuvring, and a high-spec, eight-channel DVR featuring GPS for vehicle tracking on video playback.

Safety system installation support and logistics

Sentinel was selected to provide this important element of the new bus fleet because of their proven capability to supply and install safety cameras in high volumes, and their reputation for delivering high quality safety systems on time and on budget.

The project involved Sentinel dealing with six separate bus building companies, some of whom represented new customer accounts for the business. Sentinel planned the logistics to ensure the camera systems would be delivered to fit in with each of the bus builders’ schedules, several of which shifted as the project progressed.

The camera systems were installed by a mix of Sentinel’s team and partners, with some of the bus builders also opting to install the systems themselves. For these, Sentinel provided comprehensive planning and technical support. This included the provision of in-depth installation guides and system operation instructions, backed up with live video calls as needed.

Installation elements such as cabling lengths and camera positioning involved detailed, effective communication, and the incorporation of technical advice from Sentinel into the bus builders’ technical drawings.

In addition, all DVRs were factory set and pre-programmed to ensure conformity amongst the different bodybuilders, and to help ensure efficient installation.

Safely transporting 3,500 students

All vehicles were successfully fitted out with Sentinel’s vehicle safety system on schedule.

The fleet of new, high-spec buses is now in operation and safely transporting 3,500 children to school across Northern Ireland, having been well-received by drivers and pupils alike.

“It was a privilege to have helped deliver the NIEA’s school bus procurement project, and to see our vehicle safety solutions in use on the buses. Thanks to great teamwork and communication between all parties involved, the installation of our systems ran smoothly across the multiple coachbuilders, and we’re delighted to see that the new school buses have already made such a positive difference.”

Daniel Boulton, Operations Manager, Sentinel Systems

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