CCTV using artificial intelligence will be able to detect sex pests and thugs onboard trains before they attack – and the technology has already been offered to six rail operators.
The ‘iCCTV’ (intelligent CCTV), developed by Siemens Mobility, will be able to analyse passengers’ mannerisms and patterns in behaviour to determine whether they pose a threat to others.
Real-time technology will scan live footage to determine the level of threat – in a move that could transform safety on public transport.
The system itself can intervene, through an onboard announcement that can tell a suspect to back down, that they are on camera, and warn them that police may arrive.
CCTV using artificial intelligence will be able to detect sex pests and thugs onboard trains before they attack
The technology has been offered to six UK train operators: Great Western Railway, ScotRail, Transpennine Express, Northern, Chiltern Railways and Southeastern.
It is currently used by the Eurostar and nine other operators, according to The Times.
The firm is building new trains for the Piccadilly underground line in London and it will also be piloted in trains in Berlin next month.
For example, the AI will be able to distinguish between a drunken – but harmless – group of friends and those who could start a fight.
It can examine body language to tell if a woman sitting alone feels threatened by a man or if she is happy to talk to him
It will mean staff do not need to sit through hours of footage but will instead be alerted to any potential incidents.
Conventional CCTV can only look at offences after they have happened – but the new iCCTV tracks them as they occur.
Sambit Bannerjee, managing director of rolling stock at Siemens Mobility, said: ‘Our smart iCCTV technology is capable of spotting risky situations early on, for example automatically recognising when one person is ‘squaring up’ to another.
‘It then triggers an alert to the guard or person in the control centre, who can see live video from the carriage and decide whether to make an announcement, intervene themselves or alert the police.’
The transformative invention comes ahead of the festive season, where drink-fuelled disorder on trains increases.
Real-time technology will scan live footage to determine the level of threat to other passengers (file image)
Siemens’ website says: ‘Our Intelligent Closed Circuit Television (Intelligent CCTV) provides you with all information about occupancy levels, passenger flow, and safety-related incidents in the blink of an eye.
‘It supplements traditional monitoring with an active evaluation of video on board your entire fleet.
‘The results are analyzed by powerful algorithms in real time and available for your crew, for passengers, and way-side systems.’
Nine per cent of adults feel ‘very or fairly unsafe’ when using public transport alone, according to the Office of National Statistics.
This increases to 34 per cent after dark. 58 per cent of women aged between 16 and 34 years felt unsafe using public transport alone after dark.
Between 2021 and 2022, 1,168 sexual crimes against women were recorded against women on the railways.