New cameras in metro Atlanta city can tell how far apart people are, monitor COVID-19 exposure risks

City testing security cameras to see if people are following COVID-19 protocols

PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. — Imagine cameras with technology that can tell if people aren’t complying with COVID-19 safety protocols.

A metro Atlanta city is the first in the country to begin testing this new technology that could help save lives and so far, it seems to be working.

Most all of the city security cameras in Peachtree Corners can only capture video images.

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But Channel 2′s Tom Regan has learned that some of them are now equipped with new technology that can instantly calculate the space between people, and whether it represents a virus health risk.

“If they’re doing to help save lives, that’s good. But there’s got to be a limit. There’s got to a limit at some point,” said Darren Miller.

City leaders in Peachtree Corners expected some push back when they began testing security camera software that can instantly tell the distance between people.

“The goal of this is not for any facial recognition or identification of people,” said Brandon Branham, assistant city manager for Peachtree Corners.

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Branham is heading up the smart camera program and told Regan that it’s another high-tech tool, developed by an Israeli company, to help curb community spread of the virus.

“If you have three or more people gathered that are standing within six feet of each other, then it would trigger an alert,” Branham said.

He told Regan that the AI technology isn’t used for enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines, but an advanced way to gather critical information as the economy reopens.

“As cities continue to open buildings to the public, not just cities restaurants, retail shops office buildings, how are we going to manage this space during these times and keep everyone safe,” Branham said.

The city plans to install the technology on a number of public security cameras, mainly where the community gathers.

People who live in Peachtree Corners have mixed reactions to the technology.

“If the data is protected and not used for any other means, then it’s a good idea,” said Isham Kudal.

“It could be seen as a violation of privacy but not many people are taking this as seriously as they should, so maybe this is actually needed,” said Melissa Hunting.

The company told Regan the technology has been highly effective in Israel where there’s very strict virus safety rules.

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