Brazilian city trials app that monitors social distancing in high flow stations

Posted: 14 August 2020 |

Curitiba is said to be the first city in Brazil to trial the application in actions to combat COVID-19.

Credit: Luiz Costa / SMCS

The Brazilian state capital of Curitiba is trialling an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology as a tool for the prevention and control of coronavirus. In the coming weeks, the city administration will start testing the Distance2 application to monitor social distancing in real-time in places with a large flow of people, such as public transport stations. 

AI for social distancing

Simulation images of the operation of the Distance2 application at the Curitiba terminals. Credit: IPPUC

Developed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and made available free of charge to the municipality, the platform uses the infrastructure of video cameras installed in the city and AI algorithms to measure the distance of people in the monitored locations.

The partnership with the IDB is supported by the Institute of Research and Urban Planning of Curitiba (Ippuc) and Urbs. The tests are scheduled for bus terminals and tube stations with 10 cameras to be installed first. The initial phase aims to gather information through images which will eventually lead to the permanent construction phase.

The system has a control panel to provide data for decision making, according to the parameters that the city determines. In case of breaches, it is also possible to issue alerts so that people can keep a safe distance from each other.

No private information of individuals is used, as no particular traits or unique characteristics are analysed. People are detected anonymously and the distance between them is estimated.

Distance2 can also record information in a database or storage in the cloud, in order to generate indicators and format heat maps for the assessment of peak movement times.