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London and other UK cities are using AI-powered cameras to monitor social distancing

Right now, there are over 1,000 Vivacity sensors collecting social distancing data.

ai cameras used for social distancing
Image: Vivacity

In the battle against COVID-19, London and other UK cities have started using AI-powered cameras to measure social distancing.

However, this is not something new as Vivacity, the company that developed these systems, installed these additional sensors on their AI-powered tracking cameras in early March.

According to Vivacity, the camera systems are not there to record people or for surveillance purposes. They only track social distancing and gather raw data. They assure that they don’t use their tracking systems to identify individuals or collect any kind of persona data. Furthermore, they also stated that no one would be watching the streams nor storing what they have captured, aside from the collected data.

The data is collected to help the UK government to make informed policies related to the coronavirus pandemic. Right now, there are over 1,000 Vivacity sensors to collect social distancing data in various cities such as London, Nottingham, Cambridge, and Oxford.

According to Peter Mildon, the CEO of Vivacity, their algorithm can easily distinguish pedestrians from a cyclist, or a vehicle. He believes that their data can help the UK government update its measures to stop the coronavirus spread.

Mildon also said that the data they collected through these cameras reveal how pedestrians were using the roads. That can have a significant impact on any upcoming coronavirus strategy, too.

The Department for Transport in the UK, together with several other government agencies, regularly receives data from Vivacity. The reports they receive don’t contain any personal data or anything that can be considered a violation of people’s rights.

However, Peter Mildon didn’t exclude that one day they might use the cameras for enforcement purposes if the government asks them to do so. But for now, they are solely focused on data collecting.

What do you think? How do you feel about using cameras like this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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