Making Surveillance Smarter

Research Area(s): Multimodal Computing and Interaction
There's a huge demand for intelligent video surveillance, but right now nearly all cameras need to be watched to be effective — which takes a huge amount of manpower. Alex Hauptmann is channeling research in speech analysis and recognition to create algorithms that scan video feeds and analyze their content.

There's a huge demand for intelligent video surveillance, but right now nearly all cameras need to be watched to be effective — which takes a huge amount of manpower. Alex Hauptmann, a principal systems scientist in the Language Technologies Institute, is channeling research in speech analysis and recognition to create algorithms that scan video feeds and analyze their content. One concrete example of his work: real-time information for parking at the airport.

Security cameras pepper airport parking lots, but analyzing the video data accurately to determine which spaces are available in real time poses countless challenges. Analyzing video intelligently is still complicated, and hindered by factors like lighting, weather and visibility. Cameras and sensors need to be networked and positioned correctly. And algorithms need to be developed that pour through the data the cameras and sensors collect to determine where spaces are available. That data, then, needs to be communicated to prospective parkers.

This project, which is ongoing, will monitor vehicles entering and leaving a parking area, and direct drivers to available parking spots through public displays or a smart phone app. The project initially assesses the accuracy of different parking space monitoring approaches under different conditions (visibility, temperatures and precipitation), and establishes costs, including estimates of maintenance expenses and sensor durability. To minimize requirements for installation of new wires, each sensor wirelessly communicates with a base station to update the parking space occupancy information. The team is concurrently building a system for displaying available parking spaces on a map and a navigational guidance app for smart-phones.

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