Smart Eyes of Smart Cities

Can something as common as a camera be transformed into a complex mobile monitoring system for advanced analysis of traffic? Can we distinguish anomalous and aggressive behavior of drivers, acquire full trajectories of vehicles or even detect traffic accidents before they happen? These are some of the questions that the newest edition of a smart city magazine called D!CITY tries to answer, which included also two smart city solutions using cameras: DataFromSky and ParkingDetection and also smart city platform of our partner OMS Lighting.

In the past, the main task for cameras was to record stories, which could be, unfortunately, interpreted only by humans. Nowadays, thanks to the increasing availability of high-quality cameras and mainly due to the immense technological advancement in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the camera has become a universal sensor with application in many fields of the smart city concept, as they can serve as “the smart eyes of smart cities”. This marks the beginning of a new era, where image can be processed also by machines and where camera represents a rich source of data at even very low costs. What are the main areas of traffic analysis, where a camera already proves itself in action?

In times where individual transport increases faster than ever before, traffic congestions or even collapses can occur on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are systems which can help to achieve more fluent traffic even without expensive infrastructure changes, you just need a certain bird’s eye view. If we give camera “wings”, for example by attaching it to an unmanned aerial vehicle, we get a monitoring system for advanced traffic analysis which is not only very accurate but also at an affordable price. This is exactly what our project DataFromSky deals with – as there are several research projects that require just this type of traffic analysis. The system can detect vehicles and other participants of the traffic flow, which includes not only their trajectories and speed but also detection of possibly dangerous behavior with deep-learning and artificial intelligence. This can even detect traffic accidents before they actually happen, which can provide the traffic engineers with very valuable data about causes of traffic accidents within the tested area in order to look for ways how to avoid them in the future with convenient preventive measures.

Cameras are becoming a prominent technology for traffic analysis also at so-called “adaptive intersections”, as they can accurately detect not only vehicles, but also pedestrians and cyclists, which also play an important role in the given traffic flow. With smart traffic lights control, based on data from a network of sensors, the whole system becomes way more fluent and flexible when it comes to reaction to rapid changes within the traffic, making it also a lot safer. Another use of cameras lies in the field of smart lighting, as the camera can collect visual data and use to analyze public spaces, monitor traffic or detect anomalous behavior. This gives us many possibilities of designing smart streets with the use of a smart camera system, using something as common as public lighting.

Traffic congestion can be also caused by the situation in parking, especially in situations when drivers are trying to find an empty parking space in an infrastructure, which is already overloaded. One of the possible solutions is to use current parking spots more effectively or even navigate drivers to parking lots with available places to park their car. This is the main area of focus of the system called ParkingDetection. As far as technical and economic aspects are concerned, a camera represents a suitable sensorial solution for monitoring of even tens or hundreds of parking spots, as even very large parking lots can be covered by a single smart camera at very low costs, while magnetic sensors would be extremely expensive and even less accurate. If we also add an ALPR camera for number plate reading into the system, we get a significant number of potential technical solutions for residential parking, reservation of individual parking spots or even increased safety within the parking lot.

Are we on the brink of an age of cameras? In the not-so-distant past, autonomous vehicles, or using drones for traffic analysis would sound like science fiction. Nowadays, these technologies are already becoming a reality, also thanks to the advancement in cameras and artificial intelligence. It is becoming clear that cameras will play an important role in the future of smart cities.

The whole magazine can be found at this link.

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Our team presents DataFromSky in the TV news

DataFromSky Team was asked by the Slovak TV to answer the question on how can traffic analysis using AI help to improve the worsening traffic situation in many large cities? Intelligent traffic analysis can help to identify main transportation problems and the causes of frequent bottlenecks or traffic conflicts. Nowadays, transport engineers have a very powerful tool for planning and detecting these shortcomings = artificial intelligence platform DataFromSky.
DataFromSky Aerial analysis is, for its high precision and detailed telemetry data about each traffic participant, utilized by many municipalities, transportation departments, traffic engineers, urban and city planners or universities and research institutions worldwide. Our Aerial analysis is often used as an input for various traffic simulation models, or in behavioral studies of drivers for self-driving vehicles.

Have a look at the full reportage in Slovak TV

(play the video from 0:35 – 5:15, available only in Czech/Slovak language).

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Transforming aerial video data into knowledge

DataFromSky is a unique solution for motion analysis of aerial video data. The ability to detect, track and classify moving objects from aerial videos provided by drones, fixed cameras or other video sources opens new possibilities in the field of traffic monitoring. The technology behind is under intensive development and grows more efficient every day through the embedded capability of learning from its mistakes. We are happy to announce that we have made a significant step towards enhanced accuracy thanks to the complex integration of deep neural networks into DataFromSky framework. Our deep neural networks are being trained on millions of samples 24 hours a day. The quality is quite impressive right now!

Our tool for trajectory interpretation DataFromSky Viewer also comes with a new functionality. The new version extracts parameters which are sometimes difficult to obtain, such as gap-time, time to follow, heatmaps, and dimensions of vehicles. We recognize the potential of the data we are able to obtain, and, therefore, co-work on our tools with traffic researchers and traffic engineers worldwide. The video below demonstrates the new functionality of DataFromSky Viewer. Take a look!

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DataFromSky at Seminar in Liberec – Deep Neural Networks

A Workshop titled Modern methods of image recognition and processing methods was organized recently by Technical University in Liberec. The aim of the workshop was to offer insight into image processing applications from the industry, as opposed to research setting.

Adam Babinec presenting DataFromSky at seminar in Liberec

We presented principles of detection and classification of vehicles from aerial video data using Deep Neural Networks. As you can imagine, Deep Neural Networks are integral part of DataFromSky platform and are used in many subtasks of DataFromSky solution. If you want to know more about the magic behind, you can download the presentation (PDF, 2 MB) and/or contact us.

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