Laser Scanning Helps Police Create 3D Virtual Models for Crush Damage Assessment

November 18, 2013 -- A state of the art laser scanner is helping Hertfordshire Police collect essential data which can be used to calculate the speed of impact of vehicles involved in road traffic collisions. The RIEGL VZ-400, purchased from 3D Laser Mapping, is being used to build highly accurate virtual 3D models of vehicles after their involvement in a crash. These computer generated simulations can then be compared to models of the same type of vehicle, prior to damage, to help estimate the speed of impact and other factors that may have impacted on the incident.

“Whilst conventional measurement methods still work by using the RIEGL laser scanner, we collect more accurate data, much faster and more safely,” commented PC Matthew Hollingsworth a Forensic Collision Investigator at the Beds, Herts and Cambs Collision Investigation Unit. “With the laser scanner there is no need to touch the vehicle which may have sharp edges or be contaminated with vehicle fluids such as oil and battery acid.”

“Not touching the vehicle also helps to preserve other evidence, so that forensically a vehicle can still be analysed,” he continued. “This is significant as it allows the Collision Investigator to obtain essential data without having to wait for a Forensic Examination to be completed.”

Using the RIEGL VZ-400 a vehicle can be scanned, in detail, either at the scene or later at a recovery garage. By then scanning a similar, undamaged, vehicle and overlaying the two datasets a very accurate measurement of impact damage is obtained. Using specialist software, such as Ai Damage, Collision Investigators can then calculate the speed of impact as well as other details of the impact configuration.

Hertfordshire Police purchased the 3D scanner following funding by the Department of Transport, together with National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) contributions. Since taking delivery of the VZ-400 from 3D Laser Mapping the device has been regularly deployed on the county’s roads. One example of where the scanner has been used was a two car collision on a busy town centre ring road where the use of the VZ-400 allowed for significant time savings and prevented the need for a full road closure.

The VZ-400 from 3D Laser Mapping was the product of choice of 14 out of 22 Police Forces awarded funding, ordering a total of 26 RIEGL laser scanners. The devices have now all been delivered to the respective forces by 3D Laser Mapping supported by a comprehensive and well received training programme.

Charlie Whyman,, +44 (0)1949 838 004

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