Need help on detecting when the garbage truck arrives

Here’s a little backstory. I’m an apartment manager of a small complex in Los Angeles. Just about a year or so ago they made it so that nobody has a choice who services their trash. The city just designated which company serviced which area. Then the companies jacked up their prices 2 or 3 times since no one had a say or choice to choose another company. One of those ridiculous fees that we are being changed is a gate opener/key fee. For the driver to push a button on a remote they charge $89.00 per push. They come twice a week that’s 2 fees. I will not leave to gate open from 6am-6pm for the safety of my tenants.
I’m trying to figure out a way to automate it so somehow when the trucks come in the alley the gate opens automatically for them BUT for only them and not every vehicle that comes down the back alley.
The only way I was thinking is to have a security camera let’s say a ring doorbell but install it higher then normal to the building then mask out the bottom of the camera to the height of the largest car or truck so that they dont set off a motion alert and since the garbage vehicles are taller the normal vehicles it would trigger movement in the unmasked area of the camera and set off a notification or something that triggers the garbage gate to open. I already have a switch set up for the garage gate. …
What are your thoughts or ideas on how I would go about achieving this and if what I said was plausible then what camera would work best for what I need it to do?

** its $89.00 for the whole month. It’s still a ridiculous fee just to push a button on a remote


If the garbage truck is the tallest truck that goes in the ally, then what your proposing would definitely work. You can restrict the automation to only work on garbage days.

Also, you could set it to have a second sensor down lower and the automation to be triggered when both are active.

That prevents a bird from setting off, or if one has a false trigger.

The problem is that the ring isn’t just using a PIR motion sensor. It’s using image analysis.

A human looking at an image which is only the tops of the trucks would recognize it as a truck. But I don’t think the ring will.

My guess, although it’s just a guess, is that in the set up you describe you will either be getting alerts all day long or you won’t get any. I don’t think it’s going to discriminate to the point where it just recognizes the garbage truck.

However, you might be able to do something with the built-in zones option.


By any chance is there a dumpster in the alley that gets picked up before they get to the gate for your building?

I feel more optimistic that you could measure the dumpster being moved as a discreet event, although you might need permission from the dumpster owner to put a sensor on it.

Also, can you sketch the exact layout of the area? There might be some driveway alarm options that would work, it just depends on the details.


ho w about a mdofied PIR or beam system monuted around >2.2m that way only tall vehical would set it off

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Actually, the ring would work fine. The way the motion detection works is that is compares differences in pixels from moment to moment.

If the garbage truck is the only thing tall enough to make a change in the pixels of the picture, then you get a motion alert.

Using the detection zones just tells the ring what areas of the picture to analyze and compare.


Arlo cameras might be useful. You can set a zone within the image where activity should be tracked and they have image categorisation for people, animals and vehicles. Works reasonably well, though my daughter wasn’t impressed at being categorised as a vehicle last week :grimacing:


Well that’s what I was thinking . I would designate the zone that only the garbage truck would enter and that would sets off the trigger. I know in my post I said masking but the zones is what I really was referring to…

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Beam system? Like a laser and when it breaks the beam, sets off the trigger?


Yea , I use a fibro motion sensor with a long tube round it to make a narow beam, cheap and cherfull