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Taser to bring artificial intelligence to police on-body cameras

Thu 9 Feb 2017

Bodycam Taser

U.S. smart weapons and on-body cameras manufacturer Taser International has announced that it has acquired two companies with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), which will form a new unit at the firm called ‘Axon AI’.

In a move described by Taser co-founder and CEO Rick Smith as a game changer, deep learning start-up company Dextro and the computer vision team formerly of Fossil Group will join in a new effort to develop visual systems where vast amounts of video data are made searchable in real-time.

A team of around 20 machine vision researchers and engineers will work on the new solution which should eventually allow Taser customers to search for specific items within video evidence, for example, ‘weapon’, ‘vehicle’ and ‘person running.’

A Taser press release explained that the system will allow law enforcement officers to quickly isolate and analyse seconds of footage from massive petabyte stores of police video and audio data.

The new AI offering will sit alongside Taser’s cloud storage service, Evidence.com.

Smith said on the announcement that police at present spend two-thirds of their time on data entry and simple tasks such as redacting police video footage to comply with privacy rules. He noted that one hour of video takes around eight hours to redact.

The Arizona-based company will now use its new AI capabilities to accelerate this redaction process so that video evidence can be analysed and released faster.

‘We believe it’s time for video data to move to the centre of public safety records systems, with far richer and more transparent information than historic text-only systems,’ said Smith. The CEO believes that AI will significantly reduce paperwork, streamlining business processes so that officers can focus on what matters: their police work.

Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but are expected to feature in the company’s upcoming Q4 report.


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