The Future of School Bus Video is "Solid-State Drive"

The mobile digital data market is rapidly migrating to 100% Solid State Drive (SSD) to achieve the highest levels of data integrity, reliability, and durability inherent in the Solid State Drive flash memory devices (CF or SD cards & RAM drives).

It is reasonable to surmise as Solid State Drive (SSD) memory capacity increases and cost decreases; they will soon replace the fragile hard drives of the digital bus video systems and offer the school districts a system capable of outlasting the expected 20-year bus life.

Within the next five years, we will see the sunset on hard drive technology in digital bus video systems, and a new dawn of 100% Solid State Drive (SSD) will provide the school bus video market the extreme durability and uncompromising data integrity those districts deserve for their tax dollars. When that sunsets on hard drives and the new dawn brings a sunrise on the Solid State Drives, will your district be "in the dark" or "enjoying the sunrise" of true data integrity and reliability?

100% Solid State Drive Memory (SSD)

Hard drive disk failure is a common occurrence in this age of desktop computers, but when you move the same technology to a mobile application, the incidence of failure and damage to the fragile drive mechanism of a conventional hard drive can increase exponentially.

The frequency of drive failure crashed drives and lost data are well known in the PC markets. Entire industries and submarkets have arisen to help safeguard business entities from the all too common problems with hard drives offering back up, archival, off-site storage, and data recovery services. Risking your district's bus video liability protection to a fragile recording mechanism that could fail when you need it most does not make sense when the most dependable, 100% Solid State Drive (SSD) is now available.

Once the decision is made to move forward to limit risk and enhance child safety on the bus by investing in a digital bus video system, accept nothing less than a 100% Solid State Drive (SSD).  The one unifying desire is to have video file evidence when there is an alleged or perpetrated crime or incident that can be documented by a functional school bus digital video camera system, bus video camera system, bus video system, and school bus camera system, or vehicle camera system.

Hard Drive Problems & Life Span

The main problem with hard drives is they are fragile mechanical mechanisms with moving parts susceptible to wear and tear. Even under the best of circumstances within an ideal operation environment of an air-conditioned office, they are wearing themselves out over time simply from normal wear and tear on the moving recording mechanism each time it is turned on and required to read from the disk or write to the disk.

HDDs mechanism will deteriorate over time. HDDs consist of rotating, magnetically coated disks, known as platters, which are used to store data. This rotating motion of the mechanical arms results in considerable wear and tear after long periods of use. The operational life span of a computer HDD is typically over three years under controlled conditions, but your bus's life span can be up to 20 years, and it does not spend that time sitting still in an air-conditioned office.

No matter how much cushioning a manufacturer provides the conventional hard drive, no matter how buffered the case is from shock and vibration, none of that addresses the primary flaw in the design of the system; that the unit begins wearing out the day it is first turned on, and with each hour of video it records it gets that much closer to failure due to natural wear and tear. Regardless of your intended application, what does it matter if the data you must have for liability defense goes up in smoke like the last gasps of a fragile hard drive when it crashes?

100% Solid State Drive (SSD) Life Span

“CF or SD”  Flash-based SSD are uniquely suited for mobile applications like school buses. They have no moving parts to wear out, no fragile mechanism to be damaged by potholes, hitting curbs, impacting other vehicles, plus their temperature operating range far exceeds what conventional PC hard drives. “CF” Compact Flash cards are rated at around 300,000 write cycles; the best Flash chips are rated at 1,000,000 write cycles per block. This is the only rating I can find to determine the expected life of the CF card.

As the only measure I can find for the expected life of an SSD is “Write Cycles” if you multiply the number of days a year most buses operate (180) by the number of trips per day (2), you will get an average trip per year of 360, then double that for good measure and you have 720 trips per year per bus on average. Divide the expected life (write cycles) 300,000 by the number of trips expected each year, and you get about 4,166 years' worth of write cycles. This is not meant to imply they will work that long, but it does seem to indicate they are capable of lasting the life of the bus or longer. This 100% Solid State Disk (SSD) is the only memory device I am aware of that seems capable of lasting the life of the bus in a school bus digital video camera system, bus video camera system, bus video system, school bus camera system, vehicle camera system, school bus video surveillance cameras or digital bus video application.

Hidden Costs Of Hard Drives

The trade-off of massive storage capacity in a hard drive is a poor substitute for dependable data integrity when everything that can go wrong in the mobile video environment is calculated into the equation.

Assuming your bus lasts 20 years, it could require up to 6 hard drive replacements over the life of the bus costing your district to bleed budget funds far into the future. This 3-year life expectancy of the hard drives is based on the longest warranty coverage of a hard drive by the manufacturer of a bus video system I am aware of, currently at three years.

The fact they will warranty its function for three years leads one to believe it will last three years.

Given this same deductive reasoning of the expected life of the drive, many CF or SD Flashcards manufacturers  (Flashcards are 100% Solid State Drives SSD) offer Limited lifetime warranties based on their belief that with no moving parts and extreme durability the CF or SD flash cards (SSD) will outlast their user. For the first time in school bus video, the system memory storage is capable of outlasting the bus life of 20 years of daily use.


In terms of reliability, conventional HDDs pale when compared to SSDs. The absence of mechanical arms and spinning platters to wear out or crash is the reason behind its reliability. In demanding environments, SSDs provide the type of ruggedness required for mobile applications. Unlike HDDs, SSDs can withstand extreme shock and vibration with data integrity and without any danger of data loss. This feature is very important in school bus applications as there may come a time when the district is facing a $40,000,000.00 liability lawsuit resulting from a school bus-related incident, and the only thing standing between your district and a damaging court ruling or costly damages settlement may be the bus video system you invested in to protect yourself from this very situation.

That is not the time to remember reading about the extreme durability and dependability of an SSD-based system while you try to explain why you chose the fragile hard-drive-based system that failed because it offered more storage capacity or saved a few bucks.

The US Armed Forces are the best-equipped fighting force in history. They demand the highest quality standards from their equipment and set extreme specifications that can survive the most abuse in every extreme environment and situation they can anticipate.

The SSD's ability to deliver unnerving performance in extreme conditions also makes SSD play a vital role in military operations, be it in defense, aerospace, or aviation applications.