Intelligent camera broadcasts live directly from the football stadium

Veo Cam 2 is an autonomous camera that, with the help of artificial intelligence, can follow the game on a football pitch and live stream it through a built-in SIM card. Illustration: Veo Technologies

When football players from different clubs compete on the pitch in the future, the matches may be broadcast live from a new autonomous camera with artificial intelligence.

The camera is a successor to the so-called Veo Cam 1, which is currently used in over 5000 stadiums in Europe. Like its predecessor, it is designed, developed, and manufactured in Denmark. However, this is not an upgraded version of the original camera, but a completely new product.

The various parts are manufactured by companies in Denmark as well as abroad, but the camera as a whole is assembled by Veo on Rovsingsgade in Copenhagen. Illustration: Veo Technologies

“With Veo Cam 1, we showed that we could develop a product with an automated camera operator. But we have observed market demand to able to live stream the matches, and that is the new thing that Veo Cam 2 can do,” says Kris Retoft, product manager at Veo Technologies.

The camera is dimensioned to film an entire football pitch. Through the footage from over a million matches recorded by the Veo Cam 1, the software has learned the fundamental dynamics of the game. In this way, the software, which was developed by Veo, can detect where on the pitch the game is taking place and zoom in on the relevant areas.

However, understanding the game is not enough. The camera needs to not only follow the ball, but also move at a suitable speed, so that it is pleasant to follow the match. Therefore, Veo has had to experiment to find the right balance in the camera work.

The recording is transmitted through a SIM card in the camera, and the recipient can then follow along on a phone or tablet.

Cooperation

Veo has not been working on the new camera alone. The exterior design was conceived by Kilo, and the mechanical design was made in collaboration with Kapacitet.

“We made the calculations and the thermal simulation that are the basis for designing all the elements that are needed to make the camera and the microphone work. We designed the buttons. We designed the pressure equalisation. We designed gaskets. We are responsible for all the mechanical and thermal work,” explains Marie Bay Borg, engineer at Kapacitet.

Each individual part is produced by various Danish and foreign manufacturers, but the camera itself is assembled by Veo on Rovsingsgade in Copenhagen. Here, all the electronics are placed into a carefully designed plastic shell.

Engineer Marie Bay Borg from Kapacitet was responsible for the mechanical design of Veo Cam 2, while Kilo Design is behind the outer shell. Illustration: Veo Technologies

“The camera is designed to be able to withstand all weather conditions, for example changing temperatures, heavy rain, and harsh sun,” Marie Bay Borg says.

A good compromise

Approximately one and a half years have passed since Veo first floated the idea of developing the camera until the product was fully developed. The development had to be carried out as quickly as possible to avoid a similar product entering the market before Veo Cam 2.

The people at Veo, Kapacitet, and Kilo have therefore worked hard and under time pressure. And the path from the drawing board to the football pitches has been paved with various issues that had to be resolved in a sensible way.

“The most difficult thing has been making the right compromises. You can’t make something that will leave the designer, the electronics guy, and the manufacturer all 100 percent satisfied. So you have to figure out how to adjust the design to get the best solution. Even though we have had an extremely short time, we had to find a solution with which as many people as possible will be happy,” Marie Bay Borg says.

The first challenge for Kapacitet was to calculate how much cooling was needed based on Veo’s design proposal and then provide the necessary cooling solution. Subsequently, the mechanical design was developed and integrated into Kilo’s exterior design. Only then could Kapacitet develop, design, and order the necessary components from various suppliers.

Along the way, the engineering company has drawn heavily on its other business partners and contacts. For example, a lunch box manufacturer has supplied rubber bands to insulate the camera, while technology company Zeiss has advised them on measurement strategy and was responsible for scanning and measuring the various injection-moulded elements so that the camera could ultimately be assembled.

Satisfied partners

Today, the camera is in production, and the first customers have already had their orders delivered.

And although the time pressure has been intense, and many of the decisions had to be taken with a short reflection period, both Marie Bay Borg and Kris Retoft are satisfied with the result.

“I think we have succeeded in making a product with a mechanical solution that can both be produced in a sensible way, looks aesthetically pleasing, and meets the functional requirements for a camera,” Marie Bay Borg says.