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Amazon launches open source program to help workers social distance

Amazon Australia has deployed a new weapon in its fight against the spread of Covid-19, bringing a ‘distance assistant’ technology to its local fulfilment centres and delivery stations.

And, to help other businesses keep their staff and customers safe, it has made the program open source and freely downloadable to anyone with a computer and a camera.

The artificial intelligence, augmented regality and machine learning driven program measures the distance between individuals as they pass in front of a camera, and judges whether they are properly socially distancing.

On a screen connected to the computer, individuals are each surrounded by a circle: Green if their distance to other workers is good, yellow if close, and red if too close.

Amazon will install units in high-traffic areas of its local warehouses, and will serve to remind workers to maintain proper distances to one another as the pandemic continues.

“With a safety-first approach, we have been investing in scalable technology solutions to prioritse the safety of our teams at all times,” said Amazon Australia’s director of operations Craig Fuller.

“Social distancing is a learned behaviour, and this ‘distance assistant’ will continue to enhance our safety practices and also empower our team to improve social distancing.”

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