Amazon to use AI to enforce social distancing

Distance Assistant uses 50-inch monitor to encourage social distancing among employees

Amazon has announced the launch of an AI-based tracking system, Distance Assistant, to enforce social distancing within its offices and warehouses.

Amazon is using the system in hopes of reducing the risk of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus among its employees. The unveiling of the AI-based system comes at a time when Amazon has faced scrutiny in the US over whether it’s done enough to protect its employees from the virus.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Distance Assistant was inspired by radar speed-check traffic signs and provides employees with real-time feedback on social distancing via a 50-inch monitor, a camera and a local computing device. 

Using both machine learning models and depth sensors, Distance Assistant can differentiate employees from their surroundings while also determining accurate distance measurements between employees.

According to Amazon, as employees walk by the camera, a monitor displays live video and visual overlays showing whether or not employees are within 6 feet of each other. While those 6 feet apart are highlighted with green circles, employees who are closer together are highlighted with red ones. 

“Our first Distance Assistant installations are now live at a handful of our buildings. We’ve heard that employees find value in getting immediate visual feedback, and site leaders are welcoming another safety measure,” read a blog post announcing Distance Assistant.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

“Based on that positive employee feedback, we will be deploying hundreds of these units over the next few weeks. We are also beginning the process to open source the software and AI behind this innovation so that anyone can create their own Distance Assistant,” it continued.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Amazon previously faced backlash over its handling of the coronavirus within its warehouse facilities. Many employees accused the company of not providing them with the proper protections, leading many to contract the coronavirus.

Today, New York Attorney General Letitia James' office revealed it’s interviewed employees from several New York City-based Amazon facilities as part of a probe into Amazon’s overall response to the virus.

Featured Resources

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Remote working 2020: Advantages and challenges

Discover how to overcome remote working challenges

Download now

Keep your data available with snapshot technology

Synology’s solution to your data protection problem

Download now

After the lockdown - reinventing the way your business works

Your guide to ensuring business continuity, no matter the crisis

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Amazon gets FCC approval to launch broadband satellites
digital divide

Amazon gets FCC approval to launch broadband satellites

31 Jul 2020
AWS launches AI tool to help businesses tackle online fraud
artificial intelligence (AI)

AWS launches AI tool to help businesses tackle online fraud

29 Jul 2020
Big tech antitrust investigation report expected by early fall
Policy & legislation

Big tech antitrust investigation report expected by early fall

24 Jul 2020
Amazon bans TikTok but reverses course quickly
social media

Amazon bans TikTok but reverses course quickly

13 Jul 2020

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

3 Aug 2020
Labour Party donors caught up in Blackbaud data breach
data breaches

Labour Party donors caught up in Blackbaud data breach

31 Jul 2020
How do you build a great customer experience?
Sponsored

How do you build a great customer experience?

20 Jul 2020