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Drone company creates social distancing, mask tracking software

AI software helps with safety protocols in crowds
Drone in flight
Posted at 6:46 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 09:46:25-04

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - A drone company based in Carlsbad has found a way to use their drones to help the fight against COVID-19.

Charles Moss, the owner of FD1 Drone, created new software that uses artificial intelligence to track the size of crowds, as well as the distance between people. He hopes it can be used to enforce social distancing in public places.

"It's a tool," says Moss. "It's the ultimate tool to enhance our current abilities."

The software connects a drone's camera with a computer, feeding real-time information about crowd size and social distancing. It can also detect which people are wearing masks, and which people aren't.

On the computer screen, green dots show people who are property distanced. Red dots mean they're too close.

Moss says it can be used at parks, beaches, schools, shopping centers, concerts or anywhere else people gather.

And the software isn't confined to drones. Moss says it can be installed on street light cameras, similar to the technology the City of San Diego uses in their Internet of Things system. Like the IOT system, Moss' software does not use any facial recognition technology.

"In order to give people a better comfort out in public, they need insight as to their environments," he says. "The human brain can only process so much data, so much information. This will help them make better decisions."

Moss says he's been in contact with a few cities and schools to deploy the technology, but concerns over cost and training has kept his software grounded.

He's hopeful it will catch on soon, so it can help keep people safe during the Pandemic.

But he says it also has practical applications after the Pandemic ends. Moss says his software could be used to spot wildfires, measure deterioration in coral reefs, inspect power lines and more.

"It's more of a tool to provide situational awareness, so we can plan," says Moss. "We call it AI for good."