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Singapore MRT Trials Video Analytics

An international tech company is testing out video analytics technology in the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to detect and reduce incidents like crowding and incorrect wearing of facemasks in real-time, as per news reports.

With a strong commitment towards creating digital railways of the future, the tech developer is working with one of Singapore’s public transport companies to employ new digital technologies to deliver a safer and more comfortable passenger journey for Singapore’s MRT commuters.

The Passenger Density Technology will provide real-time insights on passenger density which was co-conceptualised with the public transport company. The tech uses algorithms to detect and analyse silhouettes on video footage from CCTV cameras. It can trigger alerts or even count these silhouettes to accurately calculate crowding onboard trains and stations. The tech also automatically sends alerts to the station manager whenever it detects overcrowding.

The developer said that they have been continuously doing trials with local operators in the east and downtown lines. One consideration for the tech developer is how they can utilise current infrastructure such as the existing CCTV cameras to keep the costs down. Leveraging existing CCTV networks and live ticketing data, this new solution is ready to provide real-time information on passenger density at station platforms and on-board trains; eliminating the need for train weighing which is currently being used to measure density. With this solution, which can detect crowdedness and alert staff to the situation, station managers have heightened situational awareness to make informed decisions to ease congestion more efficiently and enhance comfort and the travel experience for commuters.

To get the solution to market quicker, the team is comprised of software engineers, data scientists and user experience designers. The team continues to explore new uses for the solution in safety and security, for instance by detecting unattended items, acts of violence and illegal behaviour such as vandalism in stations or on trains. Soon, it could even spot commuters who are not wearing masks during this pandemic.

Speaking of safe travels, as reported by OpenGov Asia, high-tech robot guards at the MRT stations were implemented as an addition to Singapore’s use of technology as part of boosting its security efforts. OB1FORC3 and the K3NOBI models of robots are two new robots, which have been deployed at Ang Mo Kio MRT station, equipped with intelligent surveillance cameras, sensors and video analytics capabilities. These robots were developed by a local tech security company.

The robots were deployed as part of Exercise Station Guard – an emergency preparedness exercise. The exercises were conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT as part of their efforts for enabling operational readiness and strengthening security in public places. The robots were tasked to observe and identify suspicious-looking people and stray items. Security officers were able to survey the area remotely by viewing the surroundings through the robots’ cameras and video analytics capabilities.

Senior Minister of State for Transport, Janil Puthucheary, observed this exercise. Commuters at Ang Mo Kio MRT station were also involved in the exercise, taking part in security screenings where they had to walk through a metal detector and their items to be scanned by X-ray machines.

The security industry is starting to find ways of reducing manpower needs and investing more in the use of technology. This in efforts for reducing the dependence on manpower to carry out tasks. Such a system is ideal for combining the use of manpower and technology to achieve the most efficient outcomes.

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