Technology-driven innovations and solutions amid the COVID-19 situation have helped India to handle and contain the pandemic in a way better than many other countries. Now the task of ensuring social distancing norms, face mask and crowd management in the new normal is going to be the most crucial one in the fight against the pandemic for India. Next-gen technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Image-recognition may be leveraged for enforcing and maintaining Social Distancing and for detection of violations of mandatory face masks in public places.
The timely Lockdown in the country has helped to contain the pandemic at a level, now the Technology driven enforcement and monitoring of the social-distancing norms has the potential to put India ahead in global scenario again. A team of young Officers of Indian Telecommunication Service (ITS) took the challenge to design a comprehensive system using the Next-Gen technologies and DRISHTI (Digital Real Time Artificial Intelligence System for maintaining Social Distancing with Timely Intervention) is born. DRISHTI is an AI-based system having Tri-Netras (three digital eyes) – first for detecting social distancing violations, second for Face Mask related violations and third for checking the count of persons present at a public place to maintain gathering within permissible limits.
DRISHTI is an AI driven indigenous, innovative and plug & play solution relying on Real Time Image recognition and Video Processing and is capable of detecting the instances of violations of Social Distancing, Face Mask wearing and if the number of persons at a place are more than the threshold values. This in case of violations generates live alarms and announcements at the public places like Airports, Railway Stations, Bus Terminals, Hospitals, Crowded market places and in Public transport. DRISHTI will provide much needed live feedback and alerts to public to stay at a minimum of 6 feet (2 गज की दूरी) distance from each other, to wear face masks and not to over crowd the public places.
As per Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD)-2019 reports, India has more than 4.27 Lakh CCTV cameras available with the Police across the country. Moreover, the total number of CCTV cameras installed in public places is approx. 10 Lakh. The tier-1 cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune have the largest number of CCTV cameras.
DRISHTI utilizes the existing CCTV camera ecosystem and works on 3-pronged approach. It takes the feed of any CCTV camera installed at public places in the real time, identifies all the persons frame by frame through Image/Video processing and utilises the potential of Artificial Intelligence to develop a real time picture of distance among all the persons captured in the frame. The Engine calculates the Real Time distances among all the persons and raises alarm if the distance between any two persons goes below permissible Social Distance limit.
Further it checks whether a person is wearing Face Mask or not while entering a public place like Airport, Railway station, Hospital, and Shopping malls utilising the concepts of facial features recognition.
Moreover, it also provides a check on the number of persons entering and exiting a public place for enforcing real time technology driven crowd management e.g. if number of persons in a shopping mall should not be greater than 100. This in turn will trigger the Public Addressing System to generate an announcement/alarm in real time to the public present at the place as well as to the authorities there to take immediate action for violations.
DRISHTI: Features and Use-cases
An integrated – comprehensive solution to ensure Social Distancing norms in Public Places like Airports, Railway Stations, Bus Terminals, Hospitals, Crowded market places and Public transport etc. to strengthen the fight against COVID-19. DRISHTI can detect the compliance of Social Distancing norms, face mask norms and number of persons allowed at entry- exit and assembly points of Industrial organization, factories, work-places, Malls, Super-markets, Cinema halls, Metro trains, PDS and grocery shops and other areas. An indigenous,open and zero cost platform designed by a team of ITS Officers.
Plug and play solution which can be locally hosted in the CCTV controller of Public place CCTVs, making it ready to deploy and easy to use. Real time Public Addressing System alerting public and authorities to take prompt action for cases of violation of Social Distancing norms.
Integrating the conventional CCTV and Public Addressing system with DRISHTI will bolster the effective monitoring of Social Distancing with minimal human intervention. Snapshots from live videos- captured analyzed and reported for Social Distancing Norms Violations by DRISHTI
Conclusion and way forward
Team DRISHTI strongly feels that the indigenous innovative solution may play a vital role in assisting the Governments at different levels, Local administration, Police authorities and Private organizations in leveraging the Next-Gen technologies like AI and Image recognition for Tech-driven enforcement of Social Distancing norms, norms of wearing face mask and crowd management as India enters a new normal in unlocking phase with a focussed approach on resuming the economic activities. Further this will not only provide impetus to authorities for ensuring safety norms at public places but also will make the people of country more responsible and alert as they don’t want an alarm to be rung on their carelessness.
The authors are Officers of Indian Telecommunication Service. Views expressed are personal.