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Motorola’s Police Body Cams Getting an AI Upgrade

Body cams have become an increasingly common addition to a police officer's uniform. Their main purpose right now is to keep a record of how events unfold as an officer goes about his or her duties. But that same body cam is set to become intelligent thanks to a new collaboration between Motorola and artificial intelligence company Neurala.

Typically, adding intelligence to a device requires quite a bit more performance, and that performance isn't usually possible on cheap or size-restricted hardware. Neurala decided to overcome this problem by developing The Neurala Brain, which is highly efficient software designed to run on low cost sensors and processors.

According to Defense One, Motorola will utilize Neurala's AI to add intelligence to its cameras, and in particular the Si500 Police Advanced Body Warn Camera. Once equipped, the camera will not only record but also learn. It will be able to automatically search for people or objects of interest, with the video above giving you a good idea of what's possible.

The upgraded body cam will be very useful if a lost child needs to be found within a crowded environment. According to Paul Steinberg, Chief Technology Officer, Motorola Solutions, "This can unlock new applications for public safety users. In the case of a missing child, imagine if the parent showed the child's photo to a nearby police officer on patrol. The officer's body-worn camera sees the photo, the AI engine learns what the child looks like and deploys an engine to the body-worn cameras of nearby officers, quickly creating a team searching for the child."

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But the camera could also just as easily spot a weapon (even a concealed one, perhaps?), or use facial recognition and access to a police database to detect known criminals. Scale that up to dozens of body cameras covering a given area and you can imagine the public safety benefits.

Initially, Motorola and Neurala will build a prototype allowing for real-time learning for a person of interest search. If everything goes to plan, I expect real-world deployment to active police body cams soon after that.

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