Amazon has launched an artificial intelligence-based tracking system to enforce social distancing at its offices and warehouses to help reduce any risk of contracting the new coronavirus among its workers.
One of the early solutions developed at Amazon applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to the camera footage in the buildings to help site leaders identify high traffic areas and implement additional measures to improve social distancing.
As the company continued to learn and innovate to support the health and safety of associates, it also saw an opportunity to evolve tech even further and promote social distancing behavior in real-time. Given social distancing isn’t always natural, the company set out to use augmented reality to create a magic-mirror-like tool that helps associates see their physical distancing from others. Working backward from a concept of immediate visual feedback, and inspired by existing examples like radar speed check signs, ‘Distance Assistant’ provides employees with live feedback on social distancing via a 50-inch monitor, a camera, and a local computing device.
The standalone unit uses machine learning models to differentiate people from their surroundings. Combined with depth sensors, it creates an accurate distance measurement between associates.
As people walk past the camera, a monitor displays live video with visual overlays to show if associates are within 6 feet of one another. Individuals remaining 6 feet apart are highlighted with green circles, while those who are closer together are highlighted with red circles. The on-screen indicators are designed to remind and encourage associates to maintain an appropriate distance from others. The self-contained device requires only a standard electrical outlet and can be quickly deployed to building entrances and other high-visibility areas.
Amazon is also beginning the process to open source the software and AI behind this innovation so that anyone can create their own Distance Assistant.