11.6.23 – PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now)
Police agencies in Prince George’s County are using artificial intelligence to make roads safer, and the new traffic cameras in some cities are fully equipped with the technology.
These AI traffic cameras are making appearances in several cities including Forest Heights, Cottage City and more. It’s designed to capture whether a driver stops, speeds or does a U-turn at stop sign. This is all while using AI and telling drivers what they’re doing wrong.
“We have been receiving a lot of complaints from our authority,” Forest Heights Police Chief, Anthony Rease, said. “Individuals running stop signs, especially in our school bus stop area.”
“Seven o’clock in the morning, it’s not well lit in that area so we want to make sure that our students are safe while they’re traversing school,” he added.
Drivers running stop signs is a common issue across the county especially within Cottage City, which is just near the border of the District. Cottage City’s police chief, Anthony Ayers, said many drivers cut through their small town to enter Maryland but they don’t abide by the traffic rules.
“When they cut through the town, they’re going right through stop signs [which] is a hazard. We had several accidents occurred before property damage,” said Ayers.
Now they’re hoping a new tool could help tackle those issues through a pilot program with Obvio by using their artificial intelligence traffic cameras.
“The AI models are automatically reading that camera footage and determining ‘hey, did this car skip a stop sign or not did this car speed this car donuts,’” said Dhruv Maheshwari, CEO and co-founder of Obvio.
“We’re trying to bring AI to the hands of police officers and communities,” he added.
The camera not only records the violation but also shows a display that says “an unsafe stop,” to warn drivers of what they did wrong.
Ayers said this way of informing drivers is more effective rather than someone realizing their consequences when they get a ticket.
“You want somebody to get the correction right then and there and that’s how you change people behavior,” said Ayers.
Each police departments has the option to decide how they handle the violation, they conduct a traffic stop or use the video to send a warning or citation to the driver.
During a time where many departments are feeling the pressure of the lack of staffing, Rease said it’s need now more than ever.
“Since we don’t have the number of officers that we need, we’re using technology to kind of fill that void and to say, ‘hey, listen, we need a little bit more enforcement in this area,’” he said.
Cottage City condcuted the pilot program for nearly a month, they saw a 76% decrease in reduction driving. Forest Heights just started its pilot program on Friday and its already seeing a difference.
“We’re seeing that it’s starting to change people’s behavior,’ he said.
Creators of the new tool the ultimate goal is make neighborhoods safe again.
“It’s life changing in that it all just give us a sigh of relief. And we can have fun in our communities again,” said Maheshwari.