new york camera

New Tool Uses Video Surveillance Feeds and Computer Algorithms to Track Social Distancing Behaviors

A MIchigan company is monitoring traffic in typically busy areas to show how locals are following stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus crisis.

A startup based out of the University of Michigan is using a new tool to show how video surveillance and artificial intelligence can come together to help monitor social distancing behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voxel51, which is run by electrical and computer engineering professor and CEO Jason Corso, announced last week that his company has developed a tool to track vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian traffic in several usually busy areas across the U.S. and Europe, ClickOnDetroit reported.

The tool combines footage from existing public street cameras with computer vision models to track whether social distancing protocols are being followed at a certain time in a specific location. Voxel51’s algorithm assigns each location a “physical distancing index,” or PDI score, every 15 minutes by counting the number of objects in the frame.

“The PDI score helps people understand and compare how the coronavirus is changing social behaviors over time and enables municipalities to visualize how they’re doing from a public health perspective," Corso said, according to ClickOnDetroit. "Even though the virus is spreading, overall, we can see that the public response to the stay-at-home mandates has been rather dramatic and impressive.”

Right now, the program is actively tracking coronavirus hotspots like New York’s Times Square and Seaside Heights in New Jersey as well as Abbey Road in London, Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas and a Fort Lauderdale beach. Intersections in Dublin and Prague are also part of the project.

Corso told MLive that the researchers chose to pull data from public camera feeds with higher quality footage that included “historical data” that researchers could access to compare to despite emergency warnings by the government, but have since tapered off due to fears of spread and shelter-in-place orders.

Responding to concerns about privacy of the people seen in video surveillance footage, Corso told VICE that the data is “an aggregate statistical measure with no identifying information at all” and would not include any individualized information if shared with law enforcement.

Voxel51 plans to add more specific locations for local governments and imagines that residents could use the tool to see if an area is crowded before deciding to head to the location, according to MLive.

“We expect to find rich information in the joint analysis of the physical distancing index and these other feeds,” Corso told ClickOnDetroit. “There is even a chance that the PDI can feed into a predictive model for cities not yet greatly affected and the potential for a renewed outbreak next year.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today is proud to announce the launch of the 2023 Government Security Awards. The Govies honor outstanding government security products in a variety of categories. For this year’s awards program, participants can choose from 38 different categories to enter their product(s) into. Read Now

  • Back to the Basics

    Back to the Basics

    Security is a continuous evolution of practices and procedures. The developments in technology and advancements in threats make security difficult at times. Although security from one location may look different from another location, there is a common goal applied to security measures. The common goal is protection. Read Now

  • The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    As security technology has become more widely used, the interest in new capabilities and increased security measures has increased. As we head into 2023, these three trends will shape the security landscape. Read Now

  • TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers in Washington detected 164 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, with the majority of the firearms discovered at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA) security checkpoints. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Tyco Kantech EntraPass security management software

    Tyco Kantech EntraPass security management software

    Johnson Controls, the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, and architect of the Open Blue digital connected platforms, has released the newest version of the Tyco Kantech EntraPass security management software. 3

  • Camden Door Controls CV-603 2 Door Bluetooth Access Control System

    Camden Door Controls CV-603 2 Door Bluetooth Access Control System

    his app-based system is designed to provide ‘best in class’ security of doors and gates, with up to 2,000 users. The intuitive programming app is Apple® and Android® compatible, with easy to use system set-up, user administration, downloadable audit trail and data back-up. 3

  • Kangaroo Home Security System

    Kangaroo Home Security System

    Kangaroo is the affordable, easy-to-install home security system designed for anyone who wants an added layer of peace of mind and protection. It has several products, ranging from the fan-favorite Doorbell Camera + Chime, to the more comprehensive Front Door Security Kit with Professional Monitoring. Regardless of the level of desired security, Kangaroo’s designed to move with consumers - wherever that next chapter may be. Motion sensors, keypads and additional features can be part of the package to any Kangaroo system in place, anytime. Additionally, Kangaroo offers scalable protection plans with a variety of benefits ranging from 24/7 professional monitoring to expanded cloud storage, coverage for damage and theft. 3