Carl Zeiss Optronics unveils first SA-built mobile surveillance vehicle


The South African affiliate of renowned German company, Carl Zeiss Optronics (CZO), in partnership with Afrisec, a leading supplier of integrated security systems, unveiled an innovative Mobile Surveillance Vehicle (MSV) at its Centurion facilities.

The first South African-built MSV is based on the Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 platform and provides long range, 360°, day and night surveillance capability, even under adverse weather conditions.  The vehicle is expected to play an important role in South African border control and crime fighting operations in the future.

Carl Zeiss Optronics is a world leader in the supply of Mobile Surveillance vehicles, having supplied over 250 systems, primarily for European border control projects.

The MSV features state-of-the-art sensors, including a daylight CCD camera with 36x zoom lens, high-resolution thermal imager for night surveillance and an eye-safe laser rangefinder for intruder position location.  The sensors are mounted on a mast, which emerges from the vehicle’s roof and controlled by operators in the vehicle’s control compartment, who also monitor the video image from the sensors.  Any suspicious activities get displayed on a digital map to aid reaction forces to locate suspects.

To reduce operator fatigue, the MSV utilises sensor automation, automatic intruder movement detection, intruder tracking, and situational recording.  Video footage can also be send to a central control room for remote observation.  For under-cover operations the vehicle is fitted with a driver’s thermal camera, which enables the vehicle to be positioned to a strategic location in total darkness without use of its headlights.

The sensor system is based on CZO’s proven high-technology observation and surveillance equipment for aircraft and ground forces.

“With the increased global emphasis on security and border control, we are pleased to be at the forefront of surveillance technology which will aid border control and crime fighting operations in South Africa,” says Kobus Viljoen, CZO managing director.

CZO’s partner, Afrisec, will deliver the first MSV to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM), with further orders expected from other leading South African municipalities.  Part of the brief to Afrisec was that the Mobile Surveillance Vehicle needed to communicate with the existing NMBM Central Control Room, which Afrisec designed and implemented.  Operators in the Central Control Room will be able to monitor the thermal images from the mobile unit and the operators in the vehicle will be able to select and monitor from the existing 350 Surveillance Cameras already installed by Afrisec in the central business district and various NMBM buildings.

A primary function of the MSV is to proactively combat electrical cable and non-ferrous metal theft by coordinating the mobile unit with the existing Street Surveillance cameras and mobile surveillance trailers that Afrisec has built.