It is easy to see why drones are ideal for surveillance, especially in crowded areas where the drones can provide an aerial overview of what’s going on. However the fact that it is so far removed from the crowd means that certain things might be missed by the drone pilot, which is why AI comes into play.
In a recently published research paper titled “Eye in the Sky” (via The Verge), it seems that researchers are using AI inside of drones to help spot violent behavior in crowds. This could be in handy during huge festivals where sometimes certain types of behavior might be overlooked due to the sheer number of people in attendance. It can also be used during protests to weed out people who are misbehaving, and so on.
While it sounds good on paper, in practice it doesn’t seem to be performing so well. According to lead researcher Amarjot Singh of the University of Cambridge, the AI has a 94% accuracy rating when it comes to identifying violent poses, but it seems that the more people introduced into the frame, its accuracy rating fell.
Also during their tests, these violent poses were simply that, poses, in which the researchers asked volunteers to act out different types of behavior. Also as you can see in the video above, the volunteers are spaced out from each other which means that it’s easier to look for certain types of poses. This means that in a real-world situation, it might not necessarily be as useful.
However like we said, on paper it sounds like it could be useful in situations with large crowds, so perhaps with more improvements made to it, we might see practical use for it some day.