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    Accurate Automated People Counting Using mmWave Radar

    People counting and occupancy detection systems deliver statistical data on the visitor traffic entering and exiting premises, presence time in line ups, ticket booths, bathrooms, elevators, meeting rooms, and halls. This data allows businesses to detect hot spots, control environmental conditions, and provide a comfortable and safe experience for visitors, employees, and tenants.

    Accurate automated people counting is quite a challenging task!

    Already growing in popularity, new generation mmWave Radar sensors deliver much better efficiency opening up new possibilities in that field.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of contactless people counting systems has become even higher than before 2019.

    When choosing the optimum and accurate people counting system for their application, users must consider the budget, operating environment, required counting accuracy, communication, and interfacing requirements.

    With SensMax TAC-B mmWave radar sensors and SensMax software solution, people counting and tracking the occupancy is now accurate and automated. 

    This system makes it easier for businesses to make data-driven decisions to optimize space utilization better. Aggregated data provides powerful insights to remove friction points in high traffic areas, protecting society.

    Existing Technologies

    Modern existing people counting technologies, including various types of beam sensors, 2D/3D vision cameras, thermal imagers, etc., detect the presence, occupancy, and location. Each has its reliability, performance, expense, and complexity of processing or even privacy issues.

    Passive infrared beam sensors (PIR)

    The first automated people counting systems used infrared beams across the entrance, counting the number of people passing them. Systems based on this technology are still widely used, offering around a 90% accuracy rate.

    Ultrasonic sensors

    Another typical occupancy sensor is an ultrasonic sensor that emits high-frequency sound waves outside the human hearing range and uses the doppler effect of returning sound waves to detect people. These sensors often pick up noises from devices like fans, TVs, refrigerators, and people’s footsteps, which cause increased inaccuracy.

    Thermal imaging sensors

    Thermal sensors detect people as heat sources and are widely used in people counting systems. Thermal solutions provide relatively high accuracy levels up to 95%, even with high traffic volumes, although they require steadily flowing traffic. People stopping in the counting area lead to wrong counts, reducing the thermal sensor counting accuracy rate.

    Bluetooth sensors

    People counting solutions that don’t require high accuracy often employ inexpensive modern technologies such as Bluetooth. The system counts only the people with mobile phones in the detection zone, therefore provides a relatively low accuracy rate.

    Video 2D/3D imaging sensors

    Image-based counting systems take advantage of the wide use of high-resolution video cameras and powerful processors on the market. The accuracy of such systems is up to 98%. They can track individual customers moving through the building and generate valuable data for retail analytics. However, image-based 2D/3D people counting systems require thorough maintenance, are expensive and difficult to install, need sophisticated image processing software. Furthermore, they consume more electrical power and data. That leads such systems to a high total cost of ownership.

    Another issue is that image-based people counting systems cannot separate people from “background” unless they make large active motions. That is why thermal, 2D/3D vision cameras must be installed “ceiling to floor” view method to obtain the traffic data. They may also bring up privacy issues depending on specific country regulations.

    TOF sensors

    ToF (time-of-flight) sensors detect and recognize objects within their field of view. ToF imaging sensors emit laser rays that reach the target objects and then travel back to the sensor. Thin laser beams deliver high resolutions and accuracies at short ranges, but they fade at longer ranges as the beams widen. Poor weather conditions, very bright reflections, and some surfaces may also negatively affect the accuracy. 

    Radar sensors

    Radar sensors operate in the millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum. They are highly effective at detecting even small movements in bad environmental conditions and poor weather like fog, rain, snow, vapor, and low light. Additionally, the radar sensor is not affected by debris or dirt buildup. 

    Radar sensors use radio waves rather than lasers to detect objects and operate accurately over longer ranges than ToF sensors.

    Millimeter-wave radar sensors transmit radio waves and receive reflections back to the sensor. The system can determine the distance to target objects by processing the time of flight of the radio wave energy across antennas. It also detects the angle of arrival and relative velocity of the people. This information enables a mmWave radar of sensing people and their behavior and resolves new detection and recognition challenges. 

    Because radar sensors use radio frequency-based technology, it doesn’t capture any personally identifiable information, making them GDPR-compliant and fit for privacy-sensitive environments such as shower rooms, restrooms, dressing rooms, private settings like offices or homes.

    Quick and easy to install and operate, relatively inexpensive mmWave radar sensors provide automated, accurate solutions to people counting.

    Top Reasons to Choose SensMax Radar for People Counting

    • Long detection ranges are suitable for various installation heights.
    • No camera means no privacy-related issues, GDPR/Privacy law 100% compliant, no filming.
    • Support for up to 5 user-defined counting lines and zones.
    • High accuracy up to 98% automated counting.
    • The sensor counts people in up to 10m range at 120° viewing angle (100sq.m).
    • Low power consumption allows up to 1 year of battery operation. 
    • Radio waves emission is harmless to humans.
    • Environmental conditions like smoke, rain, dirt, low light don’t affect the radar sensors.
    • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use featuring ABS plastic and IP68 outdoor cases.
    • MQTT protocol support.
    • Quick and easy 5 minutes wireless installation.
    • No regular maintenance is needed.

    Variety of SensMax radar sensor applications

    Advanced mmWave people counting technology allows the sensor to count people indoors at Retail stores, shopping malls, office buildings, schools, libraries, and museums; outdoors at bus stops, parks, walking trails, street counting of pedestrians and cyclists, and even skiers at ski resorts. 

    They provide Line up and queue management for indoor and outdoor projects, helping maintain high quality and fast service for customers.

    Available in various mounting options, the bidirectional sensors come ready-configured to meet the challenges of people counting projects.

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