Wednesday, April 4, 2018

"Nvidia's Slightly Terrifying Metropolis Platform Paves the Way for Smarter Cities" (NVDA)

Although this article is 11 months old it is a good introduction to one piece of what we were foreshadowing with Tuesday's "NVIDIA Wants to Be the Brains Behind the Surveillance State (NVDA)". In fact the camera surveillance integration AI is only one part of the Metropolis platform which is itself only one part of what the rest of NVIDIA's offerings will consist of.

From New Atlas, May 9, 2017:
Nvidia's Metropolis is an intelligent video analytics platform that can process enormous amounts of security camera footage looking for patterns and usable data(Credit: Nvidia)
Nvidia has a vision for the city of the future, and it takes the always-on surveillance we're becoming accustomed to and pushes it to whole new levels. The company's Metropolis intelligent video analytics platform applies deep learning to constantly process and contextualize the masses of data streaming from the ever-increasing number of cameras watching us every day.

It's one thing to have cameras watching at all times, but another altogether to do something useful with the giant stack of data they're producing day and night. Manpower costs make sitting and watching it all unfeasible, but computers taking advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence could. And this perfectly lines up with the new direction Nvidia has been pushing in for the last few years.

No longer just a graphics card manufacturer aiming to push more pixels in the latest first person shooter, Nvidia's video processing and machine learning chips are starting to become benchmarks in a number of growing industries. For example, in industrial drones they're helping to automatically recognize and track assets on large work sites, and in self-driving cars they're taking a "watch and learn" approach to figuring out how traffic works.
Now Nvidia believes there's an opportunity to use AI, deep learning and a gushing firehose of data to monitor and optimize the entire organism of a city. And it's working toward that goal with Metropolis. This platform encompasses a number of Nvidia products all operating on a unified architecture, which can come together to analyze and make sense of video in real time.
Nvidia's Metropolis platform encompasses a number of Nvidia products all operating on a unified architecture(Credit: Nvidia)
Through partner businesses, Nvidia's technology is set to take things even further, enabling autonomous aerial systems streaming video back from the sky, security robots driving themselves around looking for trouble spots, and ultra high resolution, super-wide panoramic cameras that capture a whole scene instead of needing to track and follow objects.
And instead of just recording and storing footage, every camera's output would be constantly analyzed and crunched into useful data points. We're talking facial recognition, vehicle recognition, and pattern tracking in road and pedestrian traffic.

Clearly this will be useful in a law enforcement and security sense, and several Nvidia partners are working along these lines. BriefCam, for example, is demonstrating technology that tracks individuals and vehicles through security footage, then produces super-quick review videos in which all events in a given time frame can be made to happen in a condensed format where a bunch of them are on screen at once.
It's a smart system, too. You can ask it to show you a condensed video montage of just the red cars that came down a given street, or just the bicycles that turned right at a given intersection within a given time period. It's extraordinary to watch and a huge time-saver, and it does a good job highlighting unusual behaviours....MUCH MORE
And more to come.