Live public street cams are tracking social distancing

By | April 10, 2020

With advanced computer vision models and live public street cam video, a U-M startup is tracking social distancing behaviors in real time at some of the most visited places in the world. Voxel51’s new tool uses the company’s existing platform and underlying custom AI to continuously track vehicle, cyclist, and pedestrian traffic at seven locations around the world, and assigns each place a “physical distancing index,” or PDI score, once every 15 minutes.

“This pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our daily lives and what we’re trying to do is create a tool to improve public awareness,” said Jason Corso, U-M professor of electrical and computer engineering and CEO of Voxel51, an Ann Arbor video analytics and data management company. While other projects are also tracking lockdown compliance, what’s different about Voxel51’s approach is that it’s real-time, video-based, and protects privacy. Data sources like mobile phones don’t protect privacy and only offer approximate locations.