In response to social distancing rules, stores were asked to limit the number of people who can be inside at the same time. Shoppers are forced to keep their distance while waiting in line to get in or during checkout. Some stores are marking where people should be standing, spacing everybody apart, and some supermarkets are testing one-way aisles.
Besides the entrance and checkout lines, there is nowhere else in the store where these safety measures are enforced. Best we can hope for is that shoppers will honor the social distancing rules while they shop. So far, creating long lines and increasing wait time for getting groceries has been our best hope in minimizing the spread of COVID19, but there are drawbacks to this approach.
- Longer wait times mean more time spent outside the house, and more time spent in public means a higher risk of exposure to COVID19.
- Longer wait times have also led to overbuying, which stresses the supply chain, results in waste, and causes shortages for others.
- Many stores have brought in more staff to help manage the social distancing etiquette. This is not only resource-intensive but puts the health of personnel at risk.
With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), we can practice social distancing with minimal disruption to our daily lives. Using available data stores can better implement social distancing. For example, stores can change aisle traffic in real-time, identify hotspots and re-distribute products to eliminate them and vary the number of cashiers to reduce long wait times while eliminating the risk of exposure to shoppers and workers.
Our approach uses artificial intelligence and edge AI devices such as Jetson Nano to track people in different environments and measure adherence to social distancing guidelines and can give notifications each time social distancing rules are violated.
Technical Document: https://galliot.us/2020/04/16/smart-distancing-technical-document/
Solution Overview: https://galliot.us/2020/04/09/smart-distancing-edgeai/