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SEN Magazine deep dives into Sydney Harbour Tunnel Upgrade

Sydney Harbour Tunnel

The installation of new Bosch IP cameras delivers improved performance, as well as onboard analytics that Sydney Harbour Tunnel will use to count vehicles, as well as to deliver an additional layer of fire protection.

John Adams, Editor of SEN magazine

Sydney Harbour Tunnel digital upgrade

mic sydney harbour tunnel

Sydney Harbour Tunnel (SHT) is a vast piece of infrastructure that’s central to traffic flows across Sydney. First opened to traffic in August 1992, SHT was last upgraded in 2013. Although the analogue solution was robust and reliable, when the cameras and management system were due for an upgrade, SHT decided to undertake a system-wide digital upgrade at the same time.

An upgrade of this nature is a highly complex process. Enhancements to the surveillance system need to be undertaken at quiet periods, or with new and existing systems running in parallel. Physical work requires careful planning and can only be carried out when the tunnel is closed to traffic.

Managing video surveillance response

Sydney Harbour Tunnel monitors

Operational imperatives made a fully-integrated management solution the right choice for SHT. A key aspect is synchronization to deliver the highest levels of situational awareness in real time. a new management solution, procedures are related to camera numbers for very fast, intuitive response in live monitoring applications. The system is programmed so incidents in a camera’s field of view generate the desired response. This means all SHT’s emergency traffic plans, from sprinkler system to emergency fire alerts, can be actioned by operators via a single camera.

I visit SHT with Brad Ballesty and Leigh Davies from Bosch and Leo Ascone from Trantek. We start in the main control room, which is also in the process of upgrades. This includes end-to-end IP, replacement video wall, monitor-based tunnel schematic map, and integrated alarms with video, including over-height vehicle alerts and vehicle ID.

Edge-based Video Analytics

Vehicle counting analtyics

According to Ascone, the shift from analogue has changed the way the video system is used at SHT. “Because we are going to digital, there’s a lot of focus on analytics and metadata and the ways in which that can be used to streamline operations and give additional information. In the case of these Bosch cameras, the metadata and analytics are in the cameras and if you want to use them, they’re already there, which makes the deployment process easier.”

“Bosch’s latest cameras and systems are designed to be predictive with all the information needed to run a successful operation straight out of the camera.”
Brad Ballesty, Bosch

“There are 124 Bosch cameras being installed – 40 MIC 7000i PTZ units and 84 AVIOTEC IP starlight 8000 fixed cameras, which also deliver fire detection via IVA (Intelligent Video Analytics),” Ballesty explains. “When the solution is completed, the AVIOTEC cameras will not only trigger the exhaust system, but the sprinkler system as well,” says Ascone. “They’ll achieve this by being hooked into the new distributed controllers, which will also allow events to be reported back to the control rooms.”

In the past, this was driven through camera numbers, but with the Bosch IP cameras this will be done with camera data processed for incident detection. Operators will be alerted to the presence of fire and smoke and will be able to click on an alarm to view incident video for event verification.

MIC 7000i PTZ and AVIOTEC IP starlight 8000 cameras

MIC installation Sydney harbour tunnel

After the control room we inspect the Northbound tunnel where 40 Bosch MIC 7000i PTZ cameras will support the AVIOTEC fire detection cameras, plus a small number of traffic counting cameras.

When SEN tested an earlier version of the Bosch MIC 7000i cameras, we found it was an absolute weapon on the street, delivering extraordinary performance in a rugged package first developed for marine application, qualities that make it ideal for life in a road tunnel 25 meters under the sea.

We also check out the Bosch AVIOTEC IP starlight 8000 cameras installed in the center of the tunnel at 60 meter intervals. These operate stand-alone and feature Bosch IVA, which allows analyzing and evaluating moving objects in parallel.

The ideal angle of view delivers best IVA performance and the distance between cameras is tuned to ensure accurate analytics. When completed, there will be analytics for fires, as well as heartbeat from cars traveling through the tunnel to detect normal traffic flow.


SHT’s IP video systems upgrade is part of a system-wide digital transition that will significantly enhance the operation of one of Sydney’s most important pieces of infrastructure, delivering increased reliability and higher levels of automation. A complex upgrade like this requires near 100% uptime, as well as serious partnerships. All those involved are committed to ensuring the Sydney Harbour Tunnel has the best possible solution, now and into the future.

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