In August 2018 a fire broke out on a ferry with 1000 passengers on board in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea around Greece. Beside the passengers also 80 trucks and buses as well as 152 cars and motorcycles were loaded on the ferry. Later on the ferry operator said the fire had started at a parking bay used by trucks.
Vehicles on ferries pose an uncontrolled fire risk as there is not much time to check every single vehicle when loaded on the ferry. Thus nobody will notice if a vehicle with overheated components (breaks, engine, cooling aggregate of a refrigerated transport, …) will enter the ferry and might inflame later far away from the mainland.
For this purpose, the Vehicle Hot Spot Detector (VHD) detects overheated vehicles before ferrying. The system combines data from 2D LiDAR sensors and temperature data from infrared cameras. This enables individual vehicle components, such as wheels and exhaust systems, to be differentiated and checked against specific temperature limits without affect the traffic flow. For example, if the brakes are too hot, an alarm is triggered and the vehicle is not allowed to enter the ferry.
The VHD system also provides the vehicle dimensions such as length, width and height, which helps to optimize the loading process. Additionally the system can be combined with a Vehicle Dangerous Goods Detector or an Over-Height Detector. As a result beside the reduction of the fire risk the system generally improves the safety on ferries.