Knott Laboratory provides forensic engineering and animation, Civil & Structural, and Fire & Explosion Investigation services to reconstruct accidents.

Forensic Engineering Usage of Surveillance Video in Accident Reconstruction

Richard M. Ziernicki, Ph.D., P.E. (NAFE 308F), William H. Pierce, P.E. (NAFE 846C), and Angelos G. Leiloglou, M. Arch.

With the increased use of surveillance cameras, more and more video footage depicting accidents is available these days, for accident reconstruction.

The authors present an accident reconstruction case study involving an impact between a tractor-tanker and a pedestrian using surveillance video footage from a nearby business.

Overall, the video footage is of poor quality, which is typical of surveillance video. This is usually evidenced by low frame rate, low resolution, and significant lens distortion – not to mention the fact that the video is not centered on the actual accident.

This paper addresses a solution to minimize the error often associated with such surveillance video.

First, the distortion in the video footage is corrected using software that wraps the image with reverse distortion. Once the distortion in the video footage is corrected, then accurate photo/videogrammetry is performed to attain desired measurements.

These measurements are then processed to perform a more accurate and detailed time/space analysis. Finally, graphics and photo-realistic animation are used to present the accident in time-space domain.

Published By

Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers. Dec. 2015