Due to Amazon’s current legal case concerning its negligence in providing employees with adequate safety measures against COVID-19, the company has now unveiled a new AI device that supports social distancing practises amidst the global pandemic.
How does it work?
Amazon’s “Distance Assistance” amalgamates a TV screen, artificial intelligence cameras and in-depth sensors to observe employees’ movements and provide feedback in real time. By adopting machine model learning it will allow Amazon’s standalone device to differentiate people from their surroundings, combined with depth sensors to provide accurate distance measurements between colleagues. The 50-inch monitor screen will display a live video with optical overlays to identify whether workers are following social distancing rules. Associates that remain six feet apart are highlighted with green circles, while those who are closer are highlighted with red circles which indicates that they should move to a safe distance.
Amazon’s Distance Assistance accommodates safe working environments for warehouse employees by monitoring social distancing measures at all times. The independent device comes with a standard electrical outlet which is perfect for transferring it between different locations such as; building entrances, corridors and crowded areas.
In a recent blog post, Brad Porter, Vice President of Amazon Robotics, confirmed that assistants have been tested in a few company buildings and that they plan on rolling out hundreds more to new locations in the forthcoming weeks. Amazon has also verified to open-source its innovation to third-parties which permits them to replicate its technology and allocate them in various establishments.
Window of opportunity
Amazon’s Distance Assistance presents itself with numerous opportunities to assist various industries that now accommodate social distancing guidelines, as the UK slowly exits lockdown. For example, gyms and health clubs across the country are undergoing a transition to ensure that they implement a safe and clean environment that supports social distancing before re-opening their doors to the public. Therefore, Amazon’s technology could further accommodate these companies by monitoring crowded areas that are left unsupervised during busy intervals.