As one of its means to mitigate threats posed by China’s coronavirus, Amazon.com Inc said, it has launched an artificial intelligence-based tracking system to enforce social distancing norms at its warehouses and offices as it ramps up efforts to face scrutiny from unions and U.S. lawmakers over its efforts to protect its workers from the pandemic.
Monitors set up in the company’s warehouses will highlight workers keeping a safe distance in green circles, while workers who are closer will be highlighted in red circles, said Amazon.
Its system, Distance Assistant, uses camera footage in Amazon’s buildings to also help identify high-traffic areas.
Amazon is also in the process of testing a wearable device that lights up and makes an audio alert when workers are too close to each other. The device will be tested later today at a warehouse outside Seattle.
Amazon has also been hiring for roles including guardians and social distancing ambassadors with their responsibilities being frequent audits at warehouses to verifying that headcount does not exceed seating limits in break rooms.
Incidentally Amazon is the not the only company to use AI to track social distancing compliance. Many companies are using AI based camera software to comply with safe monitoring and enforcing laws by regulators and insurers.
On Tuesday, Amazon had said its tracking system is live at select buildings and that it plans on deploying hundreds of such units over the next few weeks.