AI-enhanced security cameras will soon be able to catch you texting and driving

Image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
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Soon, police officers won’t need to pull you over if you’re caught texting while driving. An artificial-intelligence-enhanced speed camera will simply notify authorities directly.

The machine vision technology company Movidius has teamed up with the Chinese security camera maker Hikvision to create smart cameras that can catch behavior such as leaving a suspicious package in a public place, driving while distracted by mobile devices, and break ins. Advanced visual analytics will also allow cameras to identify car models and detect seat belts. The partnership will debut a new line of cameras with higher accuracy than traditional computing techniques in China this week. (Movidius has announced its acquisition by Intel.)

Both search giant Google and the world’s leading drone manufacturer DJI have relied on Movidius to enhance spatial awareness in virtual reality and engineer the sense and avoid features inside drones respectively. Movidius’s Myriad 2 Vision Processing Unit (VPU) uses deep neural networks that learns patterns from massive amounts of data in order to identify features in a video or still image. Its computer vision lowers risk of false positives.

Hikvision claims it has been able to achieve 99% accuracy in visual analytics with Movidius’s help.

“Advances in artificial intelligence are revolutionizing the way we think about personal and public security” Movidius CEO Remi El-Ouazzane said in the company’s press release. “The ability to automatically process video in real-time to detect anomalies will have a large impact on the way cities infrastructure are being used.”

The low-power VPU allows the advanced algorithms to reside inside the cameras themselves, and information processing occurs instantaneously, instead of requiring additional computing infrastructure in the cloud. This means that information only needs to be transmitted to a central server or human operator when a serious threat or violation is reported.

Intelligent systems, such as smart cameras, are slated to grow at over 7% each year from 2015 to 2020, with revenues exceeding $2.2 trillion in 2020, according to the International Data Corporation. However, high levels of visual intelligence could pose a threat to privacy. The facial recognition used to discover missing persons and intruders could just as easily be manipulated by the government to surveil people.