Infrabel teams have developed several tools to limit the spread of Covid-19 thanks to artificial intelligence, the rail network manager announced on Monday. As of Tuesday, sensors installed in five locations suitable for gatherings will issue an alert if workers do not wear a mask or do not respect safety distances.
Cameras coupled with artificial intelligence will permanently crisscross certain spaces conducive to social interactions, such as a refectory or an entrance hall. The sensor will be able to detect if two people are too close to each other or if there are too many people in the room. Another sensor can emit an audible alert to remind to take care of the wearing of the mask if it detects a person who does not wear it or who wears it badly, by discovering his nose for example.
These tools, designed in-house, are among the first of their kind to be installed in the world of work, welcomes Infrabel. The teams redirected ongoing research. The initial projects aimed to adapt artificial intelligence to the needs of the rail trades, for example to detect a technician falling on the tracks or to recognize the wearing of personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses or work gloves . The sensors do not record any images. Nor are they able to recognize faces.
“The person who does not want to heed the warning will not be forced to”
“These are not surveillance instruments, but tools to encourage us to remain vigilant as we gradually resume a normal life”, says Frédéric Sacre, spokesperson for Infrabel. “The person who does not want to heed the warning will not be forced to do so”, he continues.
These technologies will be deployed on Tuesday at five pilot sites, in Ath, Schaerbeek, Ghent and at two locations in La Louvière“This technology can for example be effective in re-organizing indoor sports activities while maintaining physical distance”, declared the Minister for Mobility François Bellot during the presentation of the network manager.
Infrabel has also equipped around a hundred individual transmitters, attached to a bracelet or a helmet, intended more specifically for the field. These tools can vibrate, beep or flash when two technicians get too close to each other, on a site for example.
The railway operator asks his workers to wear a mask when they are moving, but not when they are seated at their work station.