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23 November 2007 PR 07/150

Ground breaking passenger detection technology wins global award for innovation

A new infrared imaging system developed at Loughborough University that automatically counts the number of people in moving road vehicles has won a prestigious innovation award from The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), one of the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community.

The vehicle monitoring system, dtect, can be used in all weathers, day or night, to instantly to detect human skin behind all types of automotive glass at a range of 10-100 metres. Its inventor Dr John Tyrer, a Loughborough University optical engineer, designed it as a means of enforcing car sharing priority lanes to ease congestion, but the technology is also used in road tolling and to monitor vehicles entering high security areas.

Since its successful trial on some of the UK’s major trunk roads and traffic black spots, dtect has received considerable investment by Avingtrans Plc, an AIM listed company specialising in the design and manufacture of critical components and associated services to the medical, aerospace and transport sectors.

dtect is part of a portfolio of innovations in non-contact testing developed by John Tyrer who formed his first spin out company Laser Optical Engineering in 1997. Seven years later, he formed his second, Vehicle Occupancy Ltd, specifically to boost dtect’s commercial prospects. The recent alliance with Avingtrans has proved a shrewd move as its subsidiary company Crown UK is the leading UK supplier of roadside camera housings.

John Tyrer was presented with the Transport category award at the IET’s annual Innovation in Engineering Awards ceremony at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London, to celebrate excellence in engineering innovation across a range of industry sectors and engineering disciplines. Winners were selected from hundreds of entries from around the world by a distinguished panel of judges.

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Notes for editors:

  1. The Institution of Engineering and Technology
    The Institution of Engineering and Technology (http://www.theiet.org) is one of the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. The IET has more than 150,000 members in 127 countries and has offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The Institution provides a global knowledge network to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas and promotes the positive role of Science, Engineering and Technology in the world.
  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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